STARKVILLE – Sleepy Robinson knows all about high school football players, and he’s bringing that expertise to his alma mater.
Robinson, who quarterbacked at Mississippi State from 1990-92, was recently hired as a recruiting specialist. It’s part of an effort by coach Dan Mullen to beef up his support staff, especially on the recruiting side.
In Robinson, he hired a man with 16 years of high school coaching experience, including eight as a head coach. He was most recently at Durant.
He’s lived in Starkville for the past 12 years, and his ties to the university should be a plus.
“That’s a plus within a plus, being that I played here,” he said. “Of all the things (players) may experience, I’ve already done. … It won’t be a fairy tale I’m telling these guys; it’ll be my story.”
Mullen hired Robinson to help project how a recruit will fit into the system and what kind of player he will become.
“When you look at high school coaches coming into that position, (they’re) guys who can have a keen eye,” Mullen said. “As they look and have been around high school football a long time, so you can look at a player where he is now and where he’s going to be down the road four or five years from now, which is the key for us.”
Much has been made of MSU losing cornerbacks Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay, both of whom were selected in the second round of the NFL Draft. Jamerson Love isn’t trying to be either one of those guys.
The junior from Aberdeen is trying to forge his own identity.
“I know I can’t be a John Banks,” Love said. “I can only be me and play the style that I play and just get better every day.”
Love has his own strengths, including the kind of speed that can make him a strong cover corner.
“He’s a fast kid, and there’s not a lot of times that he’s ever stressed, because he knows if he gets beat off the line, he can make it up with his speed,” defensive coordinator Geoff Collins said.
Top of the pyramid
MSU had a turnover margin of plus-16 last season, which tied for first in the SEC. That’ll be a tough number to duplicate this fall, but Collins has a plan for the defense to do its part.
“We have a coach’s pyramid, we talk about the defense. At the top of the pyramid it says, ‘Get the ball.’ That’s the pinnacle of everything we do. At the bottom it of the pyramid it says, ‘It’s all about the ball.’
“That’s all we talk about, and turnovers happen because you’re flying around, you’re having energy, and there’s 11 guys to the ball at all times.”