Robertson embracing versatility, will play 'whatever' role Vols need

Austin Price, Assistant Editor
Vol Quest

As a true freshman, Jashon Robertson quickly became a factor on the offensive line thanks to his wrestling background and overall strength. He heads into his senior season as the old head in the offensive line room, with more versatility to his game than ever before. The longtime guard has been working at center all spring and feels ready to play wherever he is needed.

"I'm down with doing whatever I need to do to help this team win," Robertson said. "That's all it's about is winning ball games. I'll play anything."

He has been working at center on the side for a couple of years now, but is seeing more and more work there with 3-year starter Coleman Thomas out due to an emergency appendectomy earlier this spring. Robertson's been really impressive to his teammates and coaches, but he is still his biggest critic.

"Right now, I still need to improve on a lot of things," Robertson said. "When it comes to playing center, one of my main issues is snapping and stepping with the ball. A lot of times, I want the snap to be perfect and in the right place that I forget to step at the same time. That's one thing I'm working on. I'm comfortable with making my calls and understanding the offense and the goals of the plays we are running."

And the versatility is something that could help Robertson down the line at the next level.

"I mean for sure," Robertson said. "I think playing right guard my freshman year, left guard my sophomore and junior years and if I get the opportunity to put the ball in my hand this year, then it's definitely a good resume as far as interior lineman go. It's showing game reps at all three. It's something that could help me out in the future."

From the moment new offensive line coach Walt Wells met the media back in early March, he talked about bringing a certain kind of mentality to the offensive line room. He talked about having a tougher group up front — one that doesn't make excuses and instead pushes through the tough times while other teams falter. Thirteen practices into spring, and the healthy lineman are seeing a difference when it comes to their unit.

"Right now we are in the process of building a bully," Robertson said. "That's what we say and talk about every day. It's our demeanor and attitude and how we come out and approach things every day. We have done it in the past, but we are really focusing on the mentality that you come out here and play with."

Robertson said that building a bully starts with each individual guy and trickles down to the overall group. Even with the injuries this spring, the unit has put in the work and improved.

"I'm proud of the guys that are out here grinding and giving their all," Robertson said. "We are missing some guys and they have got more reps than they expected and now we are ready to finish it out strong."

The chance to finish it has been vital to Robertson. He has a history of getting dinged up and has been happy with his progression this spring thanks to being 100%.

"Really this is my first full spring all the way through," Robertson said. "I've had the opportunity this spring to do somethings that I haven't always been able to do. It's a little bit fresh for me and it keeps it interesting and exciting day in and day out with new questions to ask."

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