JACKSONVILLE — At 6-foot-2 and 305 pounds, Jacksonville State's Randy Robinson is a hungry guy, but not necessarily in the way you might think.
An all-conference defensive lineman, he's hungry to win — every game, every quarter, every play. That's why JSU fans saw him hustle to make four tackles in Saturday's 20-17 loss to North Carolina A&T. He made 2.5 stops behind the line and blocked a kick for the fourth time in his career, as he followed a scouting report that included a way to get to a field-goal try that much faster.
Most of all, he's hungry to have the best season possible, as the Gamecocks aim for a fifth straight Ohio Valley Conference title and the FCS playoff bid that comes with it.
"I would describe myself as a hungry player, but I'd describe our whole team as hungry," the senior said after a recent practice. "We love to win the OVC, but at what point do we say, 'Now what?' We've got to want more."
In his final season of eligibility, he's considered a leader on a JSU defensive line full of veteran players.
Robinson's backup at nose tackle is junior Montrez Lang, while senior Connor Christian and junior Tyre McKinney are the top two performers at defensive tackle. All four of the defensive ends on the first and second team are seniors.
"When I first got to Jacksonville State and met Randy Robinson, I thought, 'Man, this guy has got it all. Athletics, technique, fundamentals," said Christian, a transfer from Savannah State. "But then he's kind of flashy, too. When he goes out there and plays, it's like almost every play, he's making something happen.
"Even though I'm older than Randy, I look at him like a big brother. … He knows the game so much better than I do, and I try to keep up with him so we both can shine on the field."
Robinson said he's not making a big effort to be a leader for the team.
"I feel like if you try to be a leader, it's not going to work out," he said. "I try to do my best. The coaches ask a lot from me, but I ask a lot from my teammates and my coaches."
JSU is off this weekend before playing at home Sept. 8 against Mississippi Valley State. Robinson said the Gamecocks are working to improve, especially after giving up 149 penalty yards. That's one more yard than A&T gained in total offense.
"We've got to get better," Robinson said. "We've got to fix ourselves. At the end of the day, the only people who can beat us are us."
And as far as hunger goes, some of Robinson is hungry in the traditional sense. His favorite food? Conch fritters, which are popular in South Florida.
They're prepared a little like hushpuppies. Conch meat is mixed with flour, milk, egg, onion, green pepper and celery, and placed in a deep fryer.
"A lot of my family is from Florida," said Robinson, who graduated from Lovejoy High School in Riverdale, Ga. "Conch fritters are good. They're my favorite."