When freshman quarterback Blake Bogenschutz took firm control of the quarterback position this fall it presented the UTSA coaching staff with a tough decision.
One of the most physically gifted athletes on the roster, Austin Robinson appeared in eight games at quarterback for UTSA last season. With sophomore backup Dalton Sturm impressing in practice and Michigan transfer Russell Bellomy proving his worth, Robinson may be hard-pressed to find available snaps under center in 2015.
Simply put, Robinson is too talented to sit on the bench at this level of competition.
Even as a freshman, the 6'3", 220 pound former track standout created big plays with his size and speed at quarterback last season, including a 53 yard rush against Louisiana Tech. Robinson has been timed at 4.55 seconds in the 40 yard dash and boasts a 48.5 second personal best in the 400 meter dash.
This week Inside Roadrunner Sports reported that Robinson would be moving across the field to work out with the safeties. Cornerback Stanley Dye changing his jersey number from 3 to 2 suggests that this change is permanent.
I certainly expected Robinson to move positions at some point in his career but as a safety? Color me surprised.
When looking at team needs, the move makes sense. If Robinson ends up at Rover safety he could see playing time backing up Mauricio Sanchez as true freshman Andrew Martel is out for the season with an injury and Austin Jupe has struggled with grasping the playbook.
If Robinson is expected to contribute at Dawg safety then it could allow Michael Egwuagu or Chase Dahlquist to slide inside to Hawk linebacker. La'Kel Bass or Marcos Curry would then move to Mike linebacker and, hey, UTSA finally has some depth at their thinnest position!
Both safety positions present unique challenges to Robinson.
The Rover safety is a difficult one to play and requires acute zone awareness and ball skills. Baylor transfer Austin Jupe is in his second year of playing Rover in this system and still reportedly struggles with assignments. It's hardly an easy transition from quarterback.
While Dawg safety is probably a little bit easier to learn, it requires a level of hyper-aggression and violent tendencies that players are born with instead of taught. Robinson may have a penchant for brutality inside of him but it could take some time for that blood thirst to manifest. Either way, I would expect it to take several weeks for Robinson to be ready to contribute at either safety position.
Personally, I would have adopted the Braxton Miller plan and employed Robinson as an H back primarily, with him moving around the field to give a factor of multiplicity to the offense. Robinson's speed and ability to throw the ball could lead to offensive chaos for the Roadrunners. I find that hard to turn down.
With that being said, Robinson moving to safety does help address many of UTSA's questions with depth on the defensive side of the ball. His journey in learning a new position will be yet another interesting development to watch this fall. Kudos to the young man for seemingly taking the position change in stride.