Buckeye speaks fluent football; Robiskie learns from his father
COLUMBUS - There were two languages spoken in the household where Brian
Robiskie grew up - English and Football - and it is open for debate which was the primary.
The Ohio State junior wide receiver learned the game at the evening supper table, on rides home from school in the family car, or just sitting on the sofa in the living room. His father, Terry, is a veteran of 26 seasons as a coach in the National Football League. That covers the younger Robiskie's complete lifetime, and then some.
"He has been around the game all of his life, and I think that shows in his understanding of how things work, how things develop on the football field, and in his grasp of offensive concepts," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said about Robiskie, who leads the Buckeyes with 44 receptions this season for 833 yards and 10 touchdowns.
"I think Brian watched his dad and listened to his dad, and he was able to develop insight you don't often see in a player. He has more of a coach's perspective on things, just from spending all that time with his father and talking football. He's a very bright kid and he paid attention, and he soaked up a lot of football knowledge."
Robiskie's dad is currently the wide receivers coach for the Miami Dolphins, moving to that team in January after a six-year run with the Cleveland Browns. The elder Robiskie served as receivers coach, offensive coordinator, and even a stint as interim head coach for the Browns. During the family's time in northeast Ohio, the younger Robiskie was a first-team All-Ohio receiver at Chagrin Falls, where he caught 34 touchdown passes in his career.
"I was very fortunate that my dad had been involved in football all of his life. It was always something we could talk about and enjoy together," Robiskie said.
"He didn't push me. He let me kind of take my own course. But if I ever had a question, he always took the time to talk with me about things. I think he taught me to work hard every day, and always be a student of the game. Watching how he dedicated himself to it, that was just something I picked up on pretty young - that you had to commit yourself to this, and never quit."
Robiskie, whose father was the most valuable player in the Southeastern Conference as a senior running back at Louisiana State University in 1976, had a modest start with the Buckeyes. He played in all 12 games as a freshman in 2005, but mostly on special teams while Santonio Holmes, Ted Ginn Jr. and
Anthony Gonzalez caught most of the passes.
Last year, Robiskie was again in a supplemental role as Ted Ginn Jr. and Gonzalez took the lead. But Robiskie's 29 receptions accounted for five touchdowns and 383 yards, including a 37-yard reception in the win over Michigan, when Robiskie had seven catches for 89 yards.
"We got a pretty good look last year at what kind of potential was there - that Brian was a big-time receiver in the making," Ohio State quarterback Todd Boeckman said. "He just got better and better as the season went on, and seemed to be at his best in that Michigan game."
With Ted Ginn Jr., Gonzalez and
Holmes all now playing in the NFL, Robiskie is the primary deep threat, and Boeckman's favorite target. As Ohio State readies for Illinois this Saturday - the final game of the season in Ohio Stadium - Robiskie has caught a pass in 22 straight regular-season games, and has 32 receptions for 593 yards in his last five games at home.
"Brian has been very consistent, very steady, and I think that's a product of his work ethic," Tressel said. "He's really worked at running great routes, being a good blocker, and knowing how to look at film of the opposing team and get a lot out of it. He's figured out what it takes to be a very good player, and he has dedicated himself to doing that."
Robiskie (6-3, 196) has had those long talks with his dad, those conversations back at home, and all that insight from his father, and used that data to better understand the nuances of football.
"I've been fortunate to grow up in a football house, and have access to all that information from a very young age," Robiskie said.
"I got to be around NFL receivers, watch them work, talk with them, and see how they approached practice, the weight room, film study - all those things you spend so much more time at than the actual games. I had a chance to learn those things first-hand, and now I can take advantage of all those experiences"
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