IOWA CITY — He calls his mom a “guardian angel.” His goals are team-oriented. He’d love to tell his doubters what he thinks but leaves it at what happens on the field.
Iowa running back Adam Robinson says all the right stuff. Take this quote about his mom, Sally.
“She’s wonderful,” the sophomore said Tuesday. “She’s my guardian angel. She raised me by herself, single-parent home. She always provided for me and gave me what I wanted. She worked long hours, tough hours. That in itself speaks volumes about her character and her work ethic.”
Take this thought on his doubters. There are a few, even in the wake of his start to the 2010 season. Robinson is fourth in the Big Ten with 623 yards. His eight touchdown runs are tied for fourth. His 129 carries are third.
Remember, Robinson is Iowa’s last experienced back. It’s Robinson and then freshmen Marcus Coker and Brad Rogers. The duo had a nice showing against Ball State and haven’t carried the ball since. Fans clamor to see them. They worry about Robinson’s durability, a valid concern given Robinson is 5-foot-9, 200 pounds.
He hears the calls for the backups. It just makes the chip on this shoulder that much deeper.
“It kind of annoys me sometimes, because I get the feeling that I’m not good enough,” Robinson said. “When I’ve had a good game, people are still looking for something else, something bigger, something better. It kind of annoys me, but then I think back to, ‘hey, I’m in here doing it and they’re not.’”
You never know.
Robinson’s story at Iowa in a paragraph goes late grayshirt recruit to late full scholarship out of Des Moines Lincoln to short stint at safety in spring ’09 to red-shirt freshman backup to starter to last running back standing.
Robinson was once off to Northern Iowa. Saturday, he’ll be the counterpart to Wisconsin’s feted running back duo of John Clay and James White when the No. 13 Hawkeyes (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) host No. 10 Wisconsin (6-1, 2-1).
Clay (113.7 yards a game) and White (80.0), both of whom were heavily recruited by Iowa, are one of just two running back duos nationally to each average at least 80 yards a game.
Robinson is not the headliner here. But that’s OK. He says the perfect thing, again.
“I’m just thankful to be in the position I am,” he said. “John Clay and James White, they’re great backs. They deserve all the credit and accolades they get. I’m more concerned about helping the Hawkeyes.”
You never know.
Iowa certainly didn’t know, Coach Kirk Ferentz admitted Tuesday, when it came to Robinson.
“You never know, you never know,” Ferentz said. “If we knew, we probably would’ve offered him a scholarship sooner, if we knew what we had.”
Robinson is clearly a player who’s had to prove himself. He may always be in that mode. This is where his background kicks in and pushes him beyond maybe where even he thought he could go.
Now, from this height, which included last week’s career-high 204 total yards in a victory over Michigan, Robinson could wag his finger at the doubters.
He could, but he doesn’t, of course.
“I like to show that chip on the shoulder on the field rather than doing a bunch of talking,” Robinson said. “I think actions speak louder than words in that way.”
Says the right stuff. Does the right stuff.
You never know.