Early last year when Matt Robinson was second in the ACC in tackles, Maryland coach Randy Edsall tempered his praise of the sophomore, saying it wasn’t a good thing when your safety has to do so much work.
But two games into this season, Edsall is thrilled to swap out a true freshman starter Sean Davis for Robinson, who makes his return Saturday against Connecticut.
Robinson (6-3, 225) adds physical and veteran presence to a secondary that suffered in his absence last year when he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury and in the first two games this season as Robinson tweaked his other shoulder.
“Matt’s a really smart football player. He’s a guy that grasps things very easily. He’s also leader out there for us,” Edsall said. “He’s somebody that has the physical capabilities to play the passing game, but also to come up and play the running game.”
Maryland (2-0) has held opponents to 17 completions in 41 attempts for 303 yards so far. But substandard quarterback play by William & Mary and Temple has helped the Terps survive some blown coverages.
Also coming to the aid of the secondary will be junior cornerback Isaac Goins, a JUCO transfer who excelled in the preseason. With sophomore cornerback A.J. Hendy (ankle) out, Maryland will still have true freshmen as the primary backups at three positions in the defensive backfield. \
Another Terp who could help the secondary is Kenny Tate (knee). The senior was an all-ACC safety in 2010, who shifted to linebacker last year before he suffered a season-ending injury. In Tate’s absence linebacker Alex Twine has emerged, giving Edsall some lineup flexibility.
For now, Maryland will take the returning players as they come. .
“It’s great to have Matt back because he’s like a Kenny Tate-type player,” senior linebacker Demetrious Hartsfield said. “He’s very intelligent and he knows where he needs to be. He’s fast and very smart. I’m glad to have him back for his experience.”
When asked why he took the unusual step of bringing Robinson along Saturday to Temple, Edsall said it was to “babysit” Davis on his first college road trip as the two roomed together.
“[Robinson] is a hard worker. He’s conscientious. He wants to do things right all the time. He wants to win,” Edsall said. “When you take that off the field, you have a little bit of a void.”