Mississippi State Sports Information
Much has been made of the fact Georgia will be squaring off against former defensive coordinator Todd Grantham in Saturday night’s game against Mississippi State (7 p.m., ESPN).
It’s also a special homecoming for Christian Robinson, the former Bulldog currently serving as a graduate assistant coaching the inside linebackers for Grantham and MSU.
A four-year letterman for the Bulldogs (2009-2012), Saturday’s contest will mark Robinson’s first trip back to Sanford, although he coached against Georgia last fall while serving as a grad assistant at Ole Miss.
However, this is different.
“This is my first time coming back and actually being on the other sideline. So, I’m excited to have my family there, I’m excited that Coach Grantham allowed me to come work for him again and allow me to be in this situation, to be a part of his staff,” Robinson said in a telephone interview with UGASports.com. “Also, my parents haven’t had a chance to come to many games this year because of distance. My parents moved to Athens this summer, so it’s a really easy trip for them and a chance to see them midseason.”
Coaching has always been in Robinson’s blood.
His father Ken, a longtime high school coach now the defensive coordinator at North Oconee, helped initially to plant the coaching bug, which only grew during Robinson’s four years at Georgia playing under Mark Richt.
Subsequent stops at UGA, Ole Miss and now Mississippi State have the former Greater Atlanta Christian standout hopefully heading up the coaching chain.
Getting to work under Grantham – who he played under at Georgia – has made the journey that much sweeter.
“It’s been great just because being part of a system that I played in. From Day 1, he’s allowed me to have a role and be a part of coaching the inside linebackers and that was kind of why he reached out to me this past winter after the season,” Robinson said. “I didn’t know where he was going to be but I said ‘Coach, I just want to be a part of it.’ Just to be back with him, be close to his family and be part of a defense that I know, I think I can do great things and that’s really all I ever wanted.”
Just don’t let the “grad assistant” title fool you. He’s very much a hands-on coach.
“When I talk to guys I’m able to show them clips from my Georgia days just because that’s the clips I’ve been able to hold on to and discuss techniques,” Robinson said. “Especially with young kids, it's important that you’re able to show them because sometimes they don’t believe you or know what you’re talking about, or that you can even do it. You pull up the tape and show them why you made this mistake but saying, 'See I made this mistake, that I played the game, I know what I’m talking about and all I want you to do is make plays.' You show them you’re playing Marcus Lattimore, Cam Newton guys like that, they tell themselves, OK, maybe this guy knows what he is talking about.”
Yes, Robinson’s players know all about his Georgia roots.
It’s made for some good-natured ribbing.
“A little bit, just because they want to be able to give me a hard time but I told them I’m excited about the challenge and I know our guys, we had a good game last week as a team and we want to be able to go back to work and improve every week because there is always room to improve,” Robinson said. “I know that they’re excited because we are going to Georgia and that’s been home for me. Everybody’s been giving me a little grief.”
As part of a 3-0 team coming off an impressive 37-7 win over LSU, Robinson said Mississippi State can’t rest on its laurels, and that’s been the main message that head coach Dan Mullen has and will continue to stress daily right up until kickoff Saturday night.
He claims lessons were learned.
“I think as a team it shows when execute good things can happen That’s our goal, to execute and perform,” Robinson said. “Our attack is all about playing fast and aggressive. I think we showed that we could do that, but the thing is we need to go out, repeat that and improve.”
Spoken like a true coach.
“Our challenge is don’t let one game’s success define who you are; I know that’s exactly what they are saying on the other side,” Robinson said. “In this league, you can’t just win one game, you’ve got to play all of them so it’s a great challenge, a well-coached team and lot of energy behind them. I know what we’re going into, I’ve played there, I know what it’s like, I know that the guys when I’m trying to paint a picture of the challenges ahead so if we execute anything we have an opportunity to repeat our performance.”