Of course Matt Robinson will be a little nervous when he sees game action for the first time since undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery early last season. But after all he’s been through, simply getting back on the field is a feat unto itself.
Robinson was tied seventh nationally in tackles per game after three starts in 2011 before hurting his right shoulder. His left shoulder caved during preseason practice in August and kept him out until the sophomore began work on the Terps’ practice squad. He is now listed as the starting strong safety when Connecticut comes to town Saturday.
“It’s definitely tough,” Robinson said. “It feels like I came here to play football and I’ve been out for so long. Not really being able to help the team in the way you want to, but just trying to stay positive and me a mentor for the young guys.”
Robinson’s return, along with cornerback Isaac Goins coming back from a lengthy battle with mononucleosis, will tack on some much-needed depth to Maryland’s secondary, one that got burned multiple times last weekend as Temple made its second-half comeback from a 23-point deficit in Philadelphia.
“It’s pretty exciting,” defensive coordinator Brian Stewart said. “It was unfortunate that Matt got hurt so early in training camp, but the experience he brings and the leadership he brings back there is pretty good. He’s tried to be a leader but it’s hard when you’re not on the field. Now with him getting the chance to be on the field and help out the young guys has been awesome. Isaac had a great spring for us. We’re excited just to get him on the field to do some things with him.”
As far as Davis, who spoke earlier this week about finding a big brother figure in Robinson, he has two games as a starter under his belt, and has flashed growth impressive to Stewart.
“He’s going to do the best he can, and it’s just hard because things are a little different and faster than when you’re in high school,” Stewart said. “It’s a learning process for him, and I think it was a good process. I’d rather him get a chance to learn in a backup role rather than a starter role, but nonetheless it was a good learning process.
“I think he did a great job. When you’re young as a whole, there’s not a lot of football experience you can go back on especially with the speed of the game at the college level. Those young guys just have to keep seeing it. The more playing time they get, the more motions they see, and the more things that happen to them the better they get.”