Gallagher column: Scotty's back at his alma mater
SALISBURY — If the defensive line at Salisbury feels a little overwhelmed at practice and thinks it’s like a pro workout, there’s a reason.
They’re being drilled by a pro: former Salisbury and East Carolina grad Scotty Robinson.
Robinson looks like he could mash a running back right now. He just returned from playing for Georgia and Tulsa in the Arena Football League.
“It’s a big adjustment,” Robinson said when asked about being a coach. “I’m used to looking at guys at the professional level. I’ve got to realize these guys are freshmen and sophomores.”
Salisbury coach Joe Pinyan hasn’t told Robinson to lighten up yet.
“He’s the one guy on the staff big enough to say, ‘Coach, I’m doing it this way,’ ” Pinyan chuckled. “I’m going to listen.”
Robinson hopes the Hornets are listening to him. Sure, they won a ring last year, but so did he when he played for Skip Holtz at ECU.
“One thing I can definitely talk to them about is winning championships,” said Robinson, still a monster at 6-foot-5. “I tell them the same thing Coach Holtz told us: ‘The team that helped you win it last year is gone.’ It makes it harder. There’s a target on your chest. They’re responding well by coming out here and working hard.”
Robinson worked very hard as a player. He left Salisbury at 205 pounds and by his last year in Greenville, he was 65 pounds of muscle heavier.
The Cleveland Browns were interested in Robinson as a free agent but he ended up in the Arena League. Asked to describe the indoor game, Robinson said, “Fireworks. That’s the best way to describe it.”
Being a defensive player in the AFL isn’t fun.
“It’s an offensive game, built around scoring 60 to 80 points,” he said. “For a defensive player like myself, it was frustrating.”
What was the playing surface like?
It was like rolling out a piece of carpet on cement,” he said. “It was really hard on the body.”
Now, he’s working really hard at his alma mater. Pinyan and girls hoops coach Chris McNeil called him about joining the staff.
“I’m never going to tell Coach Pinyan or Coach McNeil no,” Robinson smiled. “I’ve always told them that one day I wanted to come back and give back.”
That’s exactly what Pinyan loves about being a part of Mr. Robinson’s neighborhood.
“It’s every coach’s dream to have a kid go to college, then come back and be a part of your program,” Pinyan said.
Robinson hinted that Pinyan had changed since he played for him a few years ago.
“If you had grass, you practiced on it,” Robinson remembered. “If not, you practiced on dirt. Now he takes it easy on the guys. See those fans with the mist?”
“I haven’t changed much,” Pinyan responded. “I just got older.”
Scotty Robinson is older, too. And he’s finding out he’s enjoying football as much as a coach as he did a player.
Contact Ronnie Gallagher at 704-797-4287 or rgallagher@salisburypostcom.