SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Corey Robinson and his dad never talk football. Dad doesn't know anything about the sport, Corey said, and Corey feels as if he himself still has a lot to learn about the game despite playing it every day.
Saturday will nonetheless present quite the family conflict for the Robinsons when Corey takes the field for No. 25 Notre Dame against Navy, his father's alma mater. It was with the Midshipmen that his father, a pretty tall guy by the name of David RobinsonDavid, helped set himself up to be taken No. 1 overall by the San Antonio Spurs and win two championships during a 14-year Hall of Fame NBA career.
"I need to talk to my dad about this, make sure he's wearing my jersey or wearing Notre Dame something as opposed to Navy," Corey Robinson said of this weekend's matchup. "But I think my grandpa who also served in the Navy might be wearing Navy. I don't know. There's a lot of Navy happening right now. I need to change that."
A freshman receiver with the Irish, Robinson reached the end zone for the first time this past Saturday against Air Force, hauling in a 35-yard pass from Tommy Rees for Notre Dame's first touchdown. He has five catches for 101 yards through eight games after enrolling this past spring.
He would always visit his father's old campus in Annapolis, Md., for older reunions and such, but Notre Dame's offer sent him in another direction when choosing a college out of San Antonio Christian High.
"I think he was happy, because he was telling me horror stories," Robinson said of his dad. "I think he was trying to scare me out of it. He was all like, ‘You have to wake up at 5 in the morning, and all the PT we had to do in addition to basketball and football.' He said he didn't get any sleep the whole time. He's a smart guy, and he told me he got some bad grades his first couple years. And I was like, ‘Hmm, I don't know if that's for me or not.’ I think he was actually happy when I told him I wanted to go somewhere else."
The 6-foot-4.5, 205-pound Robinson will probably never reach his father's height of 7-1. David Robinson has been a fixture at Irish games so far, gestures that Corey appreciates, though he gives off little sign that he is a son with a famous father.
"He's a very easy-going guy, it seems like he never really gets riled up, never really seen him get upset or anything like that," Rees said. "He's extremely competitive and you can tell the way that he grew up there's a lot of structure, a lot of different -- this is how you work, this is what's expected of you. And he does a great job of coming in every day eager to learn and eager to get better."
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, the weight of the game had yet to dawn upon Robinson. Right now it is another military academy and another option-offense that stands in the way of the Irish extending their winning streak to four in a row as they make a late run toward a BCS-bowl berth.
That sentiment probably does not run throughout the family, though.
"So far it's another game. I think for my dad, it means a little more to him," Robinson said. "I'm excited to play Navy. But at the end of the day, we've got to get the win. it doesn't matter who we're playing. I respect them and I respect what they do and I'm excited to go play a school that I wanted to go to for a very long time, that my dad's helped out a lot. But we have to get the W."