Tahlequah Daily Press

TDP Sports Blog

December 21, 2013

Q&A: Zack Robinson, Oregon State safety

Former Sequoyah standout Zack Robinson doesn't have statistics that jump off the page, but as a redshirt freshman at Oregon State he's become a mainstay on the Beavers' special teams units. In 10 games this season, Robinson has five tackles and a forced fumble for the Beavers.

I recently interviewed Robinson, and here's what he told the Tahlequah Daily Press with Oregon State set to play Boise State in the Hawaii Bowl on Tuesday:

Give me your thoughts on your first full season of Division I college football. How exciting has it been? What kind of learning experience has it been?

Well to start with it’s been a long time coming. After sitting out for a whole year last year and being in a successful program, it made me want to be at there with them playing as well. So when my time finally came this year, I was happy to say the least. I was a little rusty at first, since it was my first time actually being in a game in over a year, but as the year went on I finally got my collegiate feet under me and started rolling. This year has really taught me a lot in work ethics. I’ve never worked this hard for this long in my life football is a 24/6 thing here get Sundays off. A typical day is from 8 in the morning to 10 at night, because we have to balance all the film and practice with school and mandatory study hall for all athletes. So yeah, it's definitely been a learning experience in the work aspects of life.

How much did all the special teams playing time in high school help with the transition to special teams in college?

Completely different. In high school I had free range over the field. I was blessed enough I could cover sideline to sideline on some of the teams, but now its all about discipline. If I don’t take the right step or look in the right direction, I could give up a crucial play, were as in high school, I could loose three steps  [and] still have a possibility to make a play.

What was it like against Eastern Washington when you stepped out onto the field for your first D-I game? What was going through your mind at the time?

I was excited. I couldn’t wait for the first play. I had never had so much adrenaline running through my body. I remember talking to my fellow teammates, family members, and friends about how bad I just wanted to run down on kickoff and make a hit. I have vivid memory of me and the guy that was attempting to block me going at it all game and it made it that much better.

Which game this year has been the most memorable and why?

I would have to say the Civil War game. It was the first game that my family got to come to, my first college rivalry game, and I had a highlight hit on someone - that during my senior year of high school was considered one of the fastest players in college football, DeAnthony Thomas. It was a thrill of a game from what i remember because in the beginning of the fourth quarter I hit Keanon Lowe and knocked myself and him out for the remainder of the game, and on top of that we lost, but the overall environment was exhilarating.

You've played in some pretty cool venues this season (Qualcomm Stadium, Cal, Autzmen Stadium, etc). Which one was your favorite to play in and why?

I would have to say Qualcomm Stadium [in San Diego] for sure, It was the home of LaDainian Tomilnson and many other great Chargers, so I thought it was pretty cool. To have played on their home field and to see that area because that was actually the first time that I got to go to California.

In your opinion who is the best player that you all played against this year?

I am going to say that there were too many. Playing in the Pac 12 you play against some of the best players in the nation. Bishop Sankey, Ty Montgomery, Vernon Adams, and many others. I think just about every player on the college level is dangerous. We have the opportunity to see some of the best everyday in practice and some of the ones that are undiscovered and are about to be a big thing in the nation. So its really hard for me to say who the absolute best was. They were all pretty good.

You all started the year 6-1, but have lost five straight. What's it been like with so many highs and lows this year?

Its been rough, but we all stayed together as a team and that is what is important. We really tried to stay away from the finger pointing, name calling, and looking for reasons why we lost, because once you lose, you have to pick yourself up and move on, because at this level hanging onto a loss for longer then needed will hurt you bad. While it was a rough year, we grew a lot. Our final game [against Oregon] speaks testament to that. To play a team that was once considered national champion contenders, to the last 20 seconds and only losing by one point isn’t to bad in my book.

You all came up just short of winning the Civil War against Oregon. What was that game like & how disappointing was it to fall short of beating the Ducks?

It was very disappointing. I think that was one of our best games this season, like I mentioned earlier. I have a hard time remembering all of the game, but I have watched film of the game and the Oregon State team that was out there is one to be feared. We left that stadium with a lot of respect, that's for sure. I do remember that the whole stadium was quiet there for a long time when we were up and had Oregon on their heels. It’s one game that I already have marked on my calendar for next year.

What's it been like playing with all the guys from Oklahoma on the roster? Have you all kind of formed your own Oklahoma group?

Yeah, it's funny because we all try to say that we are from the real part of Oklahoma when we are all so spread out. Since we are all defensive players we get to see a lot of each other, but since Tyreke Zimmerman is a safety is as well, so I have a lot of time with him. It's cool being able to share stories and give guys grief about the high school days or what it would of been like if we could of played each other.

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Ben Johnson has been the sports editor at the Tahlequah Daily Press since 2009. He's a Broken Arrow native and a graduate of Oklahoma State University. He's also an avid fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs.

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