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Shawn Robinson impresses in debut as “the guy,” still has things to work on

Shawn Robinson’s first game of 2018 confirmed the talent, while revealing a few things for the sophomore to keep working on.

NCAA Football: Southern at Texas Christian Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

First game jitters are normal, everyone gets them. Even long-time head coaches like Jimbo Fisher, who felt butterflies just prior to his first game as coach at Texas A&M.

“You’re breaking new ground in new places,” Fisher told reporters Thursday night. “You have to go out there and still play and still coach and do the things you have to do. I have butterflies no matter how long [where] I’m at. It’s just part of the game.”

So it wasn’t a shock, then, to hear that Shawn Robinson had a few nerves himself as he stepped onto the field at Amon G. Carter for his first game as “the guy” at quarterback. When asked if he had any first game jitters, Robinson responded with “for sure, for sure,” before saying he settled down about midway through the first quarter.

It showed on TCU’s third drive, when Robinson finished that series with four consecutive completions, including a pass to true freshman Derius Davis for a 12-yard touchdown.

When Robinson’s day was finished, at halftime, he had amassed 227 total yards of offense (182 passing, 45 rushing), and five total touchdowns (3 passing, 2 rushing), to put the Frogs ahead 38-7.

The start wasn’t Robinson’s first of his career, as he led TCU to a 27-3 win against Texas Tech last season, but the mentality between being a spot starter and “the guy” changes the situation dramatically.

“It’s different because you’re the guy. Last year it just happened out of nowhere, I hadn’t played in a long time,” Robinson noted, “It’s just a totally different mindset.”

Throughout the first half Robinson showed off his arm strength, which has been a highly-touted part of his game since he led DeSoto to a Texas State Championship in 2016. It seemed at times though to actually be a little too much, as he overthrew a few receivers on the day, including Jalen Reagor on a deep post that would have been a touchdown. Whether you blame that on his touch or accuracy, Robinson knows that’s something he has to keep working on.

“I tried to get my receivers the ball, and I didn’t do very good at first. I gotta go back to the drawing board and work on it and get better at it,” Robinson said, “We’ve got a lot of elite athletes, elite receivers, and I’ve got to get them the ball.”

Ultimately, Robinson finished the day 17-24, a 70% completion rate, and he showed maturity in the pocket, keeping his eyes downfield and making throws, when he may have taken off and run in previous situations.

“That was definitely one thing I had to work on a lot, I drifted a lot in the pocket, and that was one thing that me and coach Cumbie worked on a lot, just trusting the o-line. You know, they gave me all day to throw, so you just gotta sit in there and deliver the ball.”

Of course, he’s got a chance to keep improving this week, as the Frogs prepare for Friday night’s game at SMU. As for what he’s looking forward to about SMU, Robinson kept it simple.

“I’m just trying to get one game better.”