Tahlequah Daily Press

College Sports

December 21, 2013

Bowling in paradise

Former Sequoyah standout to play in Hawaii Bowl

bjohnson@tahlequahdailypress.com

He checked the temperature outside and instantly thought about grabbing a jacket — well, and a beanie and gloves, too. It gets quite chilly in Corvallis, Ore., this time of year.

Zack Robinson knows that, so he and his Oregon State teammates are bailing on the Pacific Northwest for the sunny skies of Hawaii. On Tuesday, Robinson — a former standout at Sequoyah High School — and the Beavers will take on Boise State in the Hawaii Bowl in Honolulu.

“I’m beyond excited,” Robinson said. “I just looked at the temperature here in Corvallis and it is a wonderful 20 degrees.

“I’m looking forward to an 82-degree Christmas Eve and day.”

Robinson, a 6-foot-1, 204-pound safety, will wrap up his redshirt freshman season on Tuesday. In 10 games for the Beavers this season, he’s compiled five tackles and a forced fumble.

Now he gets to cap off Oregon State’s season with a trip to Hawaii.

“I have already been to Hawaii once this year and we are scheduled to play Hawaii next year as well,” Robinson said. “So I’m pretty excited about going there 3 times in one year.”

Tempering his excitement level that came along with getting to participate in a bowl game were plans Robinson has to make to accommodate his family and friends during the postseason.

“I was shocked,” Robinson said of when he found out the Beavers were playing in the Hawaii Bowl. “ But I got a lot of calls from my family an friends asking for tickets to come to the came so my excitement was short lived. And [it was] proceeded by a lot of planning to get my family and friends there to enjoy the experience with me.”

Earlier this week, Oregon State arrived in Honolulu to begin preparations for a Boise State team that is well-versed in bowl competition. The Broncos have appeared in a bowl game every year since 2002, winning seven of those 12 games, including two victories in the Fiesta Bowl.

“I’m very excited about the game; playing football in paradise is always fun,” Robinson said. “But to have a opponent of this caliber to play against makes it even better.”

When the Hawaii Bowl kicks off at 7 p.m. (Central Standard Time) on ESPN, it might be difficult to spot Robinson from time to time. That’s because his playing time is still limited in his first full season as a college football player in the Pac-12 Conference.

“As of right now I am only on the coverage teams,” Robinson said. “In the beginning of the year I started on them all but due to a few injuries. ...I finished the Oregon game being on kick an punt coverage. The special teams coach, Coach (Bruce) Read, has been talking to me about continuing to work back to starting on all four [special teams units], along with being the holder for field goals, hopefully.”

Fully aware that his playing time will come in the following years, Robinson accepted the role that netted him very little time on the field this season.

“With having Brent Scott as a head coach in high school, and having him have went through this exact same thing in his college career, [that] really prepped me for what I have to offer here at Oregon State,” Robinson said. “I understood that you may have to start off in a special teams role, and so when I came in my first year and had to do the scout team role in special teams, I sold out. [I was] hoping that in the following year that hard work I put in the previous year would pay off and that I would find a spot on special teams. So yes, I was very comfortable accepting my role as a special teams player for the Beavers this year.”

It certainly paid off. And his reward is a summer-like sunshine at Christmas time.

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