Justin Fuente Praises Tayvion Robinson's Response After Early Struggles Against Duke

By: Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP | Oct 06, 2020
Photo Credit: Harley Taylor

Since Tayvion Robinson arrived in Blacksburg, he's been a productive playmaker for the Hokies initially at wide receiver with 31 catches for 404 yards and a touchdown while also earning 7 starts.

Meanwhile, Robinson also earned the punt return job and shined averaging 14.2 yards per return on 13 total punt returns.

Unsurprisingly, that had many believing Robinson would be poised for a big 2020 and as a receiver, he definitely has followed through with 6 catches for 125 yards and a touchdown in 2 games as he averages almost 21 yards per reception.

However, Robinson has had some struggles returning punts with a muffed punt against N.C. State followed by an early muff against Duke that the Blue Devils recovered for a touchdown. That led to the Hokies making a change with Raheem Blackshear finishing out the game as the Hokies' punt returner.

Despite Robinson's struggles with two muffed punts in the first two weeks, head coach Justin Fuente still is leaning towards Robinson as Tech's primary return man knowing how good he's been in the past.

"We'll see how practice goes. I would probably edge towards putting Tayvion back there but we'll see how practice goes," Justin Fuente said.

However, in the midst of Robinson's struggles early against Duke, Justin Fuente saw something that impressed him with how the sophomore receiver from the 757 responded.

Fuente was even more impressed by that response given the fact that Robinson hasn't had many struggles or rough starts in a game at all during his time in Blacksburg to date.

"I really was proud of Tayvion and how he responded after a rough start, the first play of the game and then the punt. It's hard. Tayvion has done nothing but have success on the field. He's just a very natural, instinctive, smart football player; and all of a sudden, he's sitting there in the first quarter and he hasn't gotten off to a very good start. I was really impressed with how he responded to that. That shouldn't be overlooked. He continued to battle. He had a big block on the last run of the game with Khalil and obviously, a couple big catches," Fuente said.

That's definitely true as Robinson made some big plays on offense in the second half starting with the standout catches he had including the big 56-yard gain that helped launch another Hokies' touchdown drive. Additionally, Robinson being unafraid to be just as physical as the offensive line and have a great block to help set up a Khalil Herbert touchdown was also huge in finishing this victory off.

Looking ahead, the Hokies have a huge showdown this Saturday with #8 North Carolina and they will need Tayvion Robinson at his best. That includes as a punt returner where Robinson is undoubtedly an x-factor who has the potential to break one for a touchdown on any punt where he has a few yards of space.

Justin Fuente also knows that with his focus being on building up Tayvion Robinson's confidence as a punt returner knowing that the sophomore could be the difference between taking down a top 10 team on the road and coming up just short of achieving that for the first time since winning at Ohio State in 2014.

"I'm anxious to get back out on the practice field with Tay and getting him feeling good, and getting him playing the whole game like we know he can play."

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