When asked what he hopes to see out of newly-minted TCU starting QB Shawn Robinson, Coach Gary Patterson gave a succinct, one word, answer.
Having long preached the mantra of “win by one”, Coach Patterson sees the goal of each of the 12 games scheduled on the Horned Frogs’ calendar the same as it’s always been - to win by one. Robinson matriculated to TCU from DeSoto High School, where the four star recruited won a state championship for the Eagles. Behind Kenny Hill in 2017, the now-sophomore did what was asked of him in his one start a season ago, an ugly but victorious effort against Texas Tech in Lubbock. Patterson has been complimentary of Robinson’s efforts that day and his dedication since then to improve his soft spots - namely how to get down, the short ball, and ball security in general.
But, while each of these tactical on the field issues matter greatly in the realm of wins and losses, they won’t be what defines Shawn’s greatness - at least in the eyes of his coaches. “Our definition of a great player is when he comes on the field everybody gets better,” Patterson said during Tuesday’s media availability. “Who can play quarterback [in a way] that when he gets on the field is going to make everybody better? Shawn has a chance.”
From an Xs and Os standpoint, Robinson has a few advantages over his competition and several other former TCU quarterbacks. He can really sling it and he has a special “escapability” that has only improved with an offseason program that saw him drop 10-12 pounds off his frame. “He throws the deep ball well, but his biggest thing coming out of high school was needing to throw the touch pass better. And he’s light years ahead of where he was a year ago doing that. He has escapability, a defensive coach’s nightmare.”
Shawn has another advantage over his predecessors as well - and it just happens to be... one of his predecessors?
The return of Kenny Hill to the TCU Football program as a student assistant has paid dividends, especially in the QB room. Hill, the former swag master, has become the voice of calm and reason for a position group that has a ton of youth and a scarcity of experience. “He’s been a steady hand, especially because he’s been in a couple NFL camps. He’s been a steady hand to help Sonny [Cumbie] just talk to Shawn. He was a mentor to him a year ago, playing, so to have a guy come back as a student assistant who played in this offense, understands what he’s supposed to be seeing in the offense, from a player perspective [is a huge advantage]. I have noticed that since he came back, Shawn, Mike, all of them, have been calmer. Another guy in their ear telling them ‘I have been through this, I know what you’re going through’.”
Kenny Hill will certainly be the voice in Shawn’s ear Saturday, when he makes his second career start, and first in his quest to cement his legacy as the next great TCU QB. The young Robinson will be listening.