Oklahoma State quarterback Zac Robinson slipped into Louisiana for a few mid-summer days to serve as an instructor at the Manning Passing Academy.
Secluded in Thibodaux on the campus of Nicholls State University — rocking his orange tees and cap backward all the way — a relaxed Robinson socialized with college peers like Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy from Texas, Ole Miss gunslinger Jevan Snead and Alabama’s first-year starter Greg McElroy. He also got to talk shop with the NFL’s Manning boys and their dad Archie.
Good work if you can get it.
Media interruption was limited, although Robinson and others were available for a short sit-down on the first day of camp.
While my fellow reporters scrambled for Bradford and McCoy first, Robinson was the opening target of yours truly – representing TDR for a minute.
Others in the room were talking Heisman trophies, national titles and stuff like that.
My first question to Robinson? “What do you know about Grambling?”
“I know they have a good band,” Robinson said without pause, then grinned.
“What about the Bayou Classic around Thanksgiving?” I came back. “Familiar with that?”
“Uhhhhhh, I’m not,” Robinson said.
To be fair, the game with Grambling was two months away at this juncture.
“Man, you’ve got to bone up on your Grambling history,” I lectured.
Countered Robinson: “I’m a Big 12 guy through and through, so I don’t know a whole lot about them.”
“Hopefully, they can get it through the walls of our stadium,” Robinson said. “I don’t know. I guess our families will enjoy it, but we’ll have to hear about it.”
Of course, I love Grambling’s lore and shared a quick lesson with Zac. He listened, respectfully.
“Grambling has a great history,” I said. “Guys like Doug Williams and Shack Harris, back before your time. I know it’s an unusual game, but certainly one that their players will look forward to, playing in a Big 12 venue like that.”
Robinson was in the spirit now: “It will be fun. Obviously, they have a lot of tradition there. It will be a lot of fun for them to play. We’ll see what happens.”
I finished up by asking Robinson, a bona fide NFL prospect, where he fits into the star-studded Big 12 in terms of quarterbacks. Bradford won the Heisman and McCoy was a finalist for the prestigious award.
“I’m just worried about our team and how our team does this year,” he said. “As team success goes, individual accolades will follow. I’m just worried about that right now. Our goal is to win the Big 12 South. If that happens, the rest of that stuff will take care of itself.”
A few weeks later, Robinson was the cover boy on one of Sports Illustrated’s regional college football preview editions. That’s a good start.
And since I’d talked so much Grambling, I kicked it back to Zac to talk up this Big 12 he’s gung ho about.
“High-scoring games, great quarterbacks, that’s pretty cool, huh?” I said.
“Oh it’s a fun place to play, the Big 12,” Robinson said. “Every week, you don’t know what to expect. You could get a 42-40 game or you cold get a 10-7 game. That’s just how it is. It’s a fun league to play in.”