ATHENS, Ga. - After making 11 starts for Georgia as a redshirt sophomore inside linebacker during the 2010 football season, Christian Robinson got creative about his bright future.
Robinson purchased a poster board and put some pictures on it, including one of quarterback Kellen Moore of Boise State, which was the opening opponent for the Bulldogs last season. He also started a list of goals, beginning with a 3.0 grade point average and making the All-SEC team.
"It had all these awards and things I wanted to be in consideration for," Robinson said. "I still have it, but it's rolled up. What that taught me was to stop trying to plan things out for yourself. I wound up learning how to be a really good teammate, because I was no longer a starter."
The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder from the Atlanta suburb of Norcross wound up making more starts as a sophomore than the following two seasons combined. He was among the first to pick up the 3-4 defensive scheme of coordinator Todd Grantham two years ago, but his role was reduced last season due to the impact of Jarvis Jones outside and the emergence of younger inside talents Alec Ogletree and Amarlo Herrera.
This year, Grantham has used Robinson's communication, coverage and blitz skills in third-down situations, yet Robinson also has a knack for defending the triple-option. He made his first start of the season last week against Georgia Southern, amassing nine tackles and two tackles for loss, and is likely to start Saturday against visiting Georgia Tech.
"Christian is a smart guy who understands the game plan and understands the defense," Grantham said. "He knows where to be and is always in the right spot. He's a good leader, and he's done a good job with the role we've asked him to do."
Robinson has 31 tackles and 4.5 tackles for loss this season and 143 tackles and 19.5 for loss in his career.
The son of former South Carolina linebacker Ken Robinson made a career-high 13 tackles last season against Boise State, getting off to a good start on his checklist, and had eight tackles in the ensuing game against South Carolina. He suffered a foot injury against the Gamecocks, however, that forced him to sit out the next two games, and he didn't make another start until a trip to Georgia Tech.
Thus the rolling up of the poster board.
"Everybody has their gifts, and my thing might not be top physical ability," Robinson said, "but I think I can get people lined up and help them play to the best of their ability. Jarvis makes our team better by what he does on the field and what he brings to us emotionally, and I think I make us better by lining us up and being the voice out there that a lot of times might get lost in the shuffle."
Said head coach Mark Richt: "I think he's led all the way through. He's had a tremendously positive attitude, and when he's had his opportunities to play, he's played well."
Jones and Ogletree are juniors who are projected as top-20 picks in the 2013 NFL draft, so it would not be a shock if Saturday marked their last home game, too. Robinson has been at Georgia since signing and redshirting in 2008, and he would love to use the extra year from Jones or Ogletree if the NCAA allowed such a thing.
"I love this place," Robinson said. "This has been the best time of my life, and I really don't want to leave."
Odds and ends
The Bulldogs practiced Wednesday afternoon for two hours in full pads. ... Richt said junior guard Chris Burnette (shoulder) is probable after missing the past two games and freshman tailback Keith Marshall (shoulder) is fine and will play.