Chemistry Addition As Important As Tackles for WVU’s Jabril Robinson
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The only downside to Jabril Robinson’s transfer to West Virginia was that the Mountaineers will have him for only one year, but that extends to more than just on the field production.
There, the graduate transfer from Clemson has been excellent, earning a starting role while compiling 17 tackles, including two for loss. He’s been part of a rotating Mountaineer defensive front that has eaten up blockers and penetrated gaps, allowing second-level defenders behind it to get to the ball.
That’s just part of the story, however. Robinson, along with fellow transfer Kenny Bigelow, has been an entertaining, enlightening and refreshing interview who speaks thoughtfully on a variety of topics. From the worries about his family in Leland, N.C., in the path of Hurricane Florence to his views on being a new player in an established program, Robinson has been a delight. (It makes you wonder how many other stories are out there, but unavailable for the telling.)
But back to Robinson. As a member of a Clemson program that has won a national championship and played at the highest levels of the college game, he knows a good bit about the importance of teamwork, of everyone finding a role and fitting together. That all can be grouped under the general heading of chemistry, which he expounded upon as West Virginia prepares for another Big 12 game against TCU.
“You find chemistry anywhere you go — anywhere you have a group of people with the same goals,” the redshirt senior said. “Ever since I’ve gotten here the chemistry has been developing more and more, especially after each test we get every week.”
Robinson didn’t directly compare the chemistry of West Virginia to that of Clemson, and in truth, a point-by-point rundown isn’t the most important thing here. With each group having different qualities and different make-ups, the very nature of the chemistry is likely to be different. Robinson instead zeroed in on the qualities that make having everyone together so important.
“We find ourselves leaning on others, on our teammates,” he said in his measured drawl. “When you are able to feel that comfort, that the man has your back, you feel it build. You feel it’s too strong to break.”
West Virginia has a number leaders that the coaching staff counts on, and Robinson singled out one of those when discussing the importance of building up capital by being on the team for a long while. He and Bigelow have been able to fit in and become part of the leadership scene quickly for their lone year of play, but he singles out another senior who has done it for five years at WVU.
“Dra (Dravon Askew-Henry) has been here for a while. I see Dra as being a true leader of this team,” Robinson confirmed, noting that Askew-Henry “should feel like it’s his team. He’s poured out more sweat, tears and blood on this team than anyone, having the most snaps and being here that long. He’s not the type to be vocal. He’ll catch you walking around say, ‘How you think we did in that game’, and elaborate on it to get you to look into it. He’s more of the one-on-one type.”
Robinson doesn’t hype his own position, or the addition of Bigelow and himself, as keys to West Virginia’s defensive success, or the strengthening of its chemistry. Both are true, though, and yet another factor in what will be an all-too-short stay at WVU.