Brian Robinson has 'improved tremendously' in second yearBy Matthew Speakman | 04/15/2018 11:58pm
Linebacker Terrell Lewis remembers one of the first times he met running back Brian Robinson in a hole during practice.
It was last season, and Robinson ran right at Lewis, who stands at 6-foot-5, 256 pounds. Most people try to avoid Lewis. Robinson did not.
“You weren’t going to juke?” Lewis asked Robinson afterwards.
“Nah, I was going to go through you,” Robinson responded.
That’s what Robinson wants to do: go through people. At 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, Robinson boasts a big frame, similar to power backs from Alabama’s past.
When he sees another player of his size running at him, he doesn’t back down. He’s going to do what it takes to keep moving. Even if that means running over someone.
“He runs the ball real hard,” Lewis said. “He’s a real aggressive runner. He gets you yards. I know for a fact if he gets the ball, he’s going to get yards.”
Robinson hails from Hillcrest High School right in the heart of Tuscaloosa. He was a four-star recruit and ranked as the No. 8 running back in the 2017 class. In that recruiting cycle, Alabama also signed the No. 1 running back, Najee Harris.
When Robinson signed with Alabama, he expressed that the idea of competing in a crowded backfield didn’t scare him. Heading into his second year, the backfield hasn’t gotten any less crowded.
Still, his teammates are seeing Robinson take strides during the spring season.
“I think he’s improved tremendously,” running back Damien Harris said. “Just trying to perfect his craft just like everybody else.”
Robinson is coming off a season where he didn’t get to see much meaningful action. He rushed for 167 yards on 24 carries and two touchdowns. On both of those touchdowns, he displayed a rare combination of speed and power.
He is one of many young running backs Alabama has in its backfield. Along with Najee Harris, Josh Jacobs and Damien Harris, Robinson could be in a position to see more action this year.
“We’ve got a lot of young guys that are stepping up and playing really well right now, they’re practicing hard, so it’s good to see a lot of young guys stepping up to that role and kind of embracing the challenge,” Damien Harris said.
While most of the attention is on Najee Harris and Damien Harris, the latter of the two wants to make sure Alabama has as many contributors in the backfield as possible.
That is where Robinson could come into play.
“I think it’s important for all of us to be the best players that we can be,” Damien Harris said. “I don’t think it’s just a 2-guy rotation. I think that there’s not really just a guy.
During the spring, a lot of young players get the chance to prove themselves. Robinson is no different.
He may have gained Lewis’ respect when they met in the hole, but the two players who wear No. 24 still argue about who is the real No. 24.
“He gets on me about my Twitter name, ‘@_Real24_,’” Lewis said. “We have little battles about who is the real 24. But he’s been doing real well this spring. He runs the ball real hard. He’s a real aggressive runner. He gets you yards. I know for a fact if he gets the ball, he’s going to get yards.”
Whether or not Robinson actually breaks into the rotation remains to be seen. His teammates have been supportive of his campaign, even the ones in his own backfield.
Robinson can work his way into the rotation with his power. Right now, Alabama does not have a true power back that embraces contact like Robinson does.
“He’s definitely been a guy that can be that physical back, but he can make moves,” Lewis said. “To me, he’s an every down back.”