Jason Robinson was one of Boise State’s first nickels. He came into Boise State during a transitional period, but left as a member of one of Boise State’s greatest graduating classes. He was gracious enough to answer some questions for this edition of “Blast From the Bronco Past.”
Zach: Jason, describe the recruiting process for you. What ultimately made you decide that Boise State was the right fit for you?
Jason: I had somewhat of a cheat sheet on the recruiting process because ofmy father’s experience as a high school football coach. I had a pretty good idea of what I was looking for. Ultimately, I chose Boise State because of Coach Petersen. I was tripped in the weekend he accepted the job. When I landed for the trip, Dan Hawkins was actually still the coach. Coach Pete’s confidence and comfort level on day one of the job signaled to me that this dude had a plan; he wasn’t flying by the seat of his pants. I trusted my instinct and the rest is literally history.
Zach: You played the hybrid safety/linebacker (nickel) position at times for the Broncos. Why has that position become such an important part of Boise State’s defensive system?
Jason: Coach Wilcox (HC Cal) should be credited with bringing this defense into the program after watching Gary Patterson and TCU having so much success in the 4-2-5. It was originally introduced as a way to gain more athleticism in the box versus zone read / spread option type offenses. Because we face so many different offenses, the nickel position and the 4-2-5 defense have become somewhat of a staple for our program.
Zach: What are your thoughts on the Defensive Coordinator situation? What did you think about Avalos leaving?
Jason: I am actually pleased with us not rushing out and hiring a guy purely because there is a vacancy. Boise is a special place, and it takes time to find the right fit for our program. As an alum, I would like to see our next hire be someone who understands the X’s and O’s at a high level and also knows how to be a model citizen for young men off the field, which is everything Andy Avalos is/was. It was bittersweet to see him go, but I trust that he made the best decision for his career and family. I wish him nothing but success, unless he is facing the Broncos. “Once A Bronco Always A Bronco” is more than a hashtag, it is a way of life.
Zach: During your time at Boise State you were a member of some of the greatest defenses in school history. What made those groups so special?
Jason: We were smart. Football Intelligence is something we hung our hat on, and we were just as serious about that as our 40 time and Strength & Conditioning numbers. That FBI allowed us to play fast, everyone knew each others’ job and allowed us to align in many different formations and achieve the same goal. My hope is that with Playbook Five we can help all teams have a similar experience; it made the game very fun.
Zach: How did you guys challenge each other to continually improve?
Jason: We set a standard and held each other accountable. Everyone wanted reps, and everybody wanted to be in the film room. We obsessed over the mundane parts of the process. We were the quintessential gym-rats, and everything was a competition.
Zach: What was it like going against those great offenses in practice?
Jason: Facing guys like Titus Young, Austin Pettis, Doug Martin, Jeremy Avery, DJ Harper, Tyler Shoemaker, and Kellen Moore four times a week definitely allowed us to perform better on game day. And with Bryan Harsin making the calls, we saw EVERYTHING you could think of. It made me a much better football player, and I think most of my former teammates would agree . It was so rare to be able to get such high quality looks in practice, especially at a mid-major.
Zach: Do you still follow the Boise State program? If so, how are you feeling about the upcoming season?
Jason: Yes. I’m excited to see how this QB situation plays out. I am huge fan of D. Pierce and looking forward to seeing him come back strong this season.
Zach: Obviously, there has been a lot of talk about paying student athletes. What was the hardest part of being a student athlete?
Jason: Not being paid.
Zach: What is your favorite memory/game during your time as a Bronco?
Jason: The ‘09 Fiesta Bowl will always hold a special place in my heart. It had all the drama you would want from a bowl game, great QBs, great coaches, and some revenge at stake. I must’ve listened to “The Big Payback” by James Brown one thousand times that January. The OU game was obviously memorable and catapulted us into stardom, but after ‘09 it was clear that it wasn’t a fluke. Like we REALLY do this.
Zach: What are you up to these days? Describe the impact football has had on your career?
Jason: I am now Co-Founder / CEO of Playbook Five, a Virtual Reality Platform for coaches / athletes. The game of football gave me everything I needed to bring this vision to fruition. Leadership, competitiveness, discipline and being a team player are just a few skills that were developed out on the gridiron. I love football and I am committed to making sure future generations have an opportunity to have an even better experience than I did as a player.
Check out what Jason is doing to help out the next generation of football players:
Zach: Any parting words for Bronco Nation?
Jason: Let’s continue to support each other and set the standard of what a fanbase looks like. Through the good and the bad, show up early to the games and stay late. If you see an alum or former player around town, show them the same love you show them on game day. I love you guys and am looking forward to losing my voice in Albertson’s Stadium with you all this fall.
That’s it for this edition of “Blast From the Bronco Past.” Be sure to check out Jason’s Playbook Five program. Stay tuned for next week, as we will feature another defensive legend.