Blue and Gold Illustrated

June-July 2014

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 57 of 113

BY DAN MURPHY I t's not easy for Corey Robinson to duck into a crowd. Listed at 6-4ΒΌ, he stands a full three inches taller than all of Notre Dame's other wide receivers. On the practice field, his head bobs above the pack like his fa- mous seven-foot father's used to stick out while he lined up along his fellow Midshipmen in the Navy. There is no blending in for the Robinson men. The sophomore stood out to his coaches this spring and garnered a lot of praise from head coach Brian Kelly. His mistakes were just as obvious. Un- like a year ago, Robinson is at peace with that. "Last year, I didn't think you could mess up," said Robinson, who enrolled early last spring. "I felt like I had to per- form every single practice at the high- est level. That's really hard to maintain. It puts a lot of pressure on yourself, unnecessary pressure." The pressure is ratcheted to a new level heading into 2014 when Robin- son will compete for a starting spot in a suddenly young group of pass catchers. His role has expanded from a lengthy body who can help on the perimeter to someone the team will rely on in all situations. During his first semester on campus, Robinson watched veterans such as TJ Jones and DaVaris Daniels roll through practices and assumed that even the smallest mistake was unacceptable while he tried to adjust to major college football. He said the biggest thing he learned in his first 12 months in South Bend was that messing up was fine β€” just don't mess up twice. Kelly has noticed. "He does exactly what I ask him to do all the time. And he does it right," the coach said. "He may screw it up the first time, but you coach him and he does it right the second time. I love that kid." Robinson's fly-paper hands earned him playing time as a rookie. He caught nine passes for 157 yards and a touchdown, the best numbers for a true freshman at Notre Dame since Jones in 2010. His size became a weapon for Notre Dame on third downs toward the end of the season. This year β€” with Jones graduating, tight end Troy Niklas headed to the NFL and Daniels absent for spring practice β€” Robinson tried to carve himself a larger role in the offense by finding ways to do more. He asked the Irish defensive backs to break down his "tells" that give away the routes he Freedom To Fail Sophomore Corey Robinson grew this spring by shedding his fear of making mistakes

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