WKU’s Brown, Troy’s Robinson forge own paths to success

M. Blake Harrison

In the four years since Troy quarterback Corey Robinson and WKU receiver Jamarielle Brown led Lone Oak High School to its first trip to the Kentucky state title game, both have taken different paths toward reaching the field in college. 

Robinson greyshirted his first year and followed that with a redshirt season. Brown redshirted his first year. 

Robinson’s dad, Kenny, said last season at Troy was easy for his son compared to sitting out.

The quarterback led Troy to an 8-5 record, including a bowl game win over Ohio University. Robinson finished tied for ninth overall in passing yards in the Football Bowl Subdivision and earned the Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year Award. 

“The greyshirt year was quite a bit of a struggle for him, as well as us trying to get him to stay focused,” Kenny Robinson said. 

Robinson was neither on scholarship nor involved with football activities that year. He was allowed to attend practice and travel with the team the following season, but didn’t see any snaps.

At one point during his redshirt season of 2009, Robinson’s dad told him to approach the coaching staff about running the scout team offense in practice, and the coaches agreed to give him a chance. 

Robinson’s scout team experience included sitting behind a future NFL quarterback in Levi Brown, and facing several NFL defenders, including free safety Sherrod Martin of the Carolina Panthers. 

 “I think being on the scout team is valuable because you don’t get all the time in the world. You don’t get the best protection,” said Elliot Treece, Lone Oak offensive coordinator. “You’ve got to learn to get rid of the football, and you have to learn to make decisions under pressure.” 

He also said being given the opportunity is a testament to a player’s ability and/or versatility, which is something Brown experienced. 

Brown said redshirting was the hardest thing he ever had to do, but he was given the chance to contribute on WKU’s scout team several times. One role in particular was special for him, he said.

In advance of WKU’s game last season against Kentucky, the coaches chose Brown to mimic Randall Cobb, now a standout for the Green Bay Packers. 

“I was going into every practice like it was a game,” Brown said. “I feel like we gave us a good enough look to prepare.”

Brown and Robinson have and are experiencing differences in their second seasons on the field.

While Robinson is racking up statistics and has a bowl victory to his name, Brown is enjoying a winning atmosphere at WKU for the first time. He has yet to catch a pass this season, but often blocks for the nation’s leading rusher, Bobby Rainey, who Brown called the best running back in the nation. 

“Everybody has a role,” he said.  “I would love to catch more passes, but as long as we win, I don’t care.”