November 12, 2009

Robinson feeling more at home

At first, freshman defensive end Montez Robinson did not give winning the SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week Award a second thought.

He soon changed his tune after talking with his father, along with other family members.

"My dad was crying, he was overwhelmed," Robinson said. "Everyone's been congratulating me. At first I looked at it as just as an award, but it really does mean a lot to other people in their eyes. That made me feel very good."

Robinson's effort last week against Tennessee Tech did catch many by surprise.

With Justin Houston out nursing a hyper-extended elbow, Robinson took advantage of the extra reps and responded with five tackles and a team-high two sacks.

Not bad for a player who coming in had yet to collect a single tackle in eight previous games.

"I don't go into a game thinking a guy is going to do one thing or the other. You prepare for every game the same way, respect your opponent and do your best," defensive ends coach John Fabris said. "But he got his opportunity. You cannot hit a home run if you do not get in the batter's box. Of course, you cannot strike out, either. But he got his opportunity and I was glad for him."

Talk about a confidence booster. Two weeks ago, UGASports was the first to report that Robinson had met with head coach Mark Richt and assistant Rodney Garner to discuss a possible move back to Indiana. Word was the likeable freshman wanted to transfer to Purdue.

Apparently, that's no longer the case.

"At first it was hard to be away from home," he said. "There are a couple of guys on the team who are far away from home and we miss our families, but after you have a game like this, it eases things down. Right now it's smooth sailing and (a game like Saturday) makes you want to work harder."

How serious was Robinson about returning home? That question is still up for debate.

However, according to Garner, who recruited Robinson to Georgia after the defensive end de-committed from Auburn, it's not unusual to see a young player get homesick his first time being away.

"A lot of them say that. It's part of being a freshman. That's what they do," Garner said. "Did I think he was going home? No. He might have wanted to go home, but he wasn't going to go home."

Garner said he's seen tales like Robinson play out countless times.

"If I told you half the kids who said they were going home as freshmen … he's probably one of about 10 of the freshmen now who said at one time or the other they wanted to go home," Garner said. "But it usually works itself out. It's all part of growing up, maturing and all that. Now that he's had some success, he's happy until he hits another bump in the road and probably will want to go home again. But he'll be all right."

Robinson admitted having some success against Tennessee Tech did improve his frame of mind.

"Going into the week I knew I was going to get some playing time so I just told myself I was going to make the most of my opportunity," Robinson said. "It was big for me and just makes me want to do the best I can to maximize whatever opportunities I get in the future."

With Houston scheduled to return Saturday against the Tigers, Robinson likely won't see as many reps as he did last week.

Nevertheless, with Auburn as Georgia's opponent, it's still a game that holds special meaning for the 6-foot-5, 250-pound player.

Robinson, who lived much of his live in Alabama, Tuscaloosa to be exact, actually committed to the Tigers when Tommy Tuberville was still the head coach.

However, when Tuberville stepped aside and the Tigers brought in new coach Gene Chizik, Robinson decided to look around, eventually signing with the Bulldogs.

"This is going to be interesting," said Robinson, who laughed that most of his family are Auburn fans. "I know so many people over there. They were real excited when I committed to them, so it's going to be kind of hard."

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