From Scout Team to Leading Rusher

Jan. 2, 2010

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following first appeared in the Jan. 2 edition of the University of Iowa’s Official Sports Report, a free daily e-newsletter. For more information about the UI’s OSR, click HERE.

MIAMI —The last time University of Iowa running back Adam Robinson prepared for a bowl game, he helped the starting Hawkeye defense get ready for South Carolina as a scout teamer. Robinson must have done something right – Iowa held the Gamecocks to 43 yards on 14 carries during a 31-10 victory in the 2009 Outback Bowl.

Robinson will assume a different role when the No. 10 Hawkeyes meet No. 9 Georgia Tech in the FedEx Orange Bowl on Tuesday. Now a redshirt freshman, Robinson was the leading ground-gainer for Iowa with 775 yards during a regular season that produced nine consecutive wins and a 10-2 record.

“Last year my focus was on preparing our defense for the South Carolina offense and knowing my role on the scout team,” Robinson said. “This year I’m on the offense and preparing myself for the game. There’s a lot more responsibility, there’s more to know and learn about their defense. The workload has increased since last year.”

So have the rewards.

Robinson was named honorable mention all-Big Ten by league coaches and honorable mention freshman All-American by He rushed for 101 yards and two touchdowns during a 27-17 win against Arizona and had career-highs with 27 attempts and 109 yards on the ground during a 15-13 win at Michigan State. On Robinson’s final carry late in the game against the Spartans, he picked up 3 yards before being tackled awkwardly by Colin Neely. Robinson sprained an ankle that forced him to miss the next two outings against Indiana (a 42-24 win) and Northwestern (a 17-10 loss).

“It’s pretty-much fully recovered,” Robinson said of the ankle. “I get it taped before every prac! tice and everything we do. The break we had over Thanksgiving really helped; that’s where it healed up. I came back and kept getting treatment on it, so it’s good to go.”

“I’ve never played in a game this big before. It’s a great opportunity for the team and me. It’s really exciting.”

The Yellow Jacket rushing defense ranks 67th out of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams, allowing an average of 150.1 yards per game. Robinson’s first carry Tuesday will be his first-ever in the postseason.

“I’ve never played in a game this big before,” said Robinson, a 2008 graduate of Des Moines (Iowa) Lincoln High School. “It’s a great opportunity for the team and me. It’s really exciting.”

Game time is creeping up on the Hawkeyes, who have been in Miami since Dec. 27. After practice this afternoon (Saturday, Jan. 2), Iowa will have just one left before a walk-through Monday at Barry University in Miami Shores.

“It’s a unique situation we’re in right now,” Robinson said. “We have to balance having fun and practicing hard and getting ready for the game. You have to know when to turn the switch from ! play to work.”

Robinson sports one of the more distinctive hair styles on the team. Outlined on the back of his head is the Tigerhawk logo and his jersey number, 32.

“I got it back home in Des Moines by Drake University,” Robinson said. “I have a barber over at Platinum Cuts and he’s really artistic, so I told him to go ahead and give me a Tigerhawk.”

A year ago, Robinson was participating in developmental sessions following regular practices. That was one way he became an all-conference performer in a year’s time. The Hawkeyes held a developmental session Friday.

“It gives us a good chance to look at them, which is a nice sidebar on a bowl trip,” UI head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “A nice thing about playing later like this (Jan. 5) is it gives us a good opportunity to work those guys before the game. I’m curious to see where they’re at in the spring.”

Kickoff for the FedEx Orange Bowl between Iowa and Georgia Tech is scheduled for just after 7 p.m. (Iowa time) from Land Shark Stadium.