I followed the situation this week at UTC; the one involving sophomore quarterback Terrell Robinson and Mocs Coach Russ Heusman. Robinson announced on Tuesday that has was leaving the Mocs' program, after sharing playing time with Coach Huesman's son Jacob. The announcement seemed to take Coach Huesman completely by surprise, because as he explained later in the week, Robinson was a really good kid. The Mocs wanted him on the team and even one game into the 2012 season, Huesman and Robinson were each on the depth chart as number one. (I remember saying last week, nothing good ever comes from having two starting quarterbacks)
As Terrell's father Vincent, who is a former Moc basketball player, said, "He had some people in his ear after the game, telling him he would never get a fair shot with the coach's son playing the same position. I think they finally got to him after a few days of telling him that. He got some bad advice there."
At 20 years old, Terrell Robinson is still just a kid. Kids listen to a lot of people, though they don't always do what they're told, or don't always seem to be paying attention. He made a snap judgement based upon what he heard from some less than knowledgeable fans, and when he woke up on Wednesday morning, he found out he was not on the team anymore, and to continue his career anywhere other than a Division III or NAIA school, would mean sitting out more than a year. When Russ Heusman on Wednesday left the door open for him to return to the Mocs, he made the right decision.
When I heard the news late Thursday, I was elated; not only for T-Rob, but for the Mocs as well. This wasn't a Da'Rick Rogers, or a Tyrann Matheu type situation. T-Rob was not in trouble. He broke no laws or school rules. But he did something no true gifted athlete ever does; he quit. After not dressing for the Mocs' game at Jacksonville State this weekend, he will return to the practice field next week, still bracketed at number one with Jacob Huesman. (He will drive to Jacksonville, Alabama and will stand on the sideline with the team during the game.)
I hope Terrell has learned a good lesson from this week. Coach "Bear" Bryant said it best when he said, "Never quit. It's the easiest cop-out in the world." He has a second chance; it's not likely he will get another.
Randy Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Red Bank High School in Chattanooga. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).