Rising freshman wide receiver Corey Robinson has found himself doing a job generally delegated to juniors and seniors this spring.
Without DaVaris Daniels -- who will be Notre Dame's lone senior wide receiver when he returns to school over the summer -- Robinson has found himself fielding and answering questions from some of Notre Dame's inexperienced wideouts this spring. And Robinson doesn't have loads of experience himself -- while he enrolled early a year ago, he only caught nine passes for 157 yards and a touchdown in 2013.
Still, it's been a valuable experience for Robinson, who was singled out by coach Brian Kelly on Saturday as someone who's stepped up in Daniels' absence.
"When I have a question, I have to figure it out," Robinson said, "as opposed to last fall, DaVaris played (my position) a lot -- whenever I had an issue, I'd go to him and he'd help me out, or I'd go to T.J. (Jones). "Now I have to figure it out, and some of the younger guys who didn't play last year are coming to me and asking me what to do.
"That's really forced my hand -- and I know it's the same for (rising junior receivers Chris Brown and C.J. Prosise) -- we have to know the offense better and it kind of puts pressure on us to do that so when questions are asked we can help out."
The 6-4, 205-pound Robinson said explaining route concepts and the like to other receivers has helped him understand the offense better, which certainly should be beneficial for someone looking to do more this fall. As a freshman, Robinson mostly ran go routes and reeled in jump balls (or, in the Michigan State game, drew pass interference calls), though didn't do much else.
Robinson's aiming to add more routes to his arsenal, mainly shallow and mid-range ones over the middle that he wasn't strong enough to run last year. And his work to become a better overall receiver has gone well so far, according to his coach.
"He does exactly what I ask him to do all the time, and he does it right," Kelly said. "Now 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 still working out the kinks with quarterback Everett Golson, though figures the pair will quickly develop chemistry thanks in part to their shared love of playing music. The opportunity is certainly there for him this spring, with Daniels' absence and Jones' graduation opening the door for more practice reps.
And that's been an adjustment, too.
"I find myself gasping for air sometimes," Robinson laughed. "It's funny, you don't really notice it until you do it."