By Pat Turner
After all, being the one calling the shots had been at the top of his wish list since joining the coaching ranks.
When that opportunity to succeed Bryan Dausin came, Robbins couldn’t have been happier. For one thing, Warren had become home after serving the previous nine years as the Warriors defensive coordinator. Succeeding
What made the announcement extra special was the reaction to the news.
“That day was memorable,” Robbins said. “The kids were sitting out there in the gym and our principal (Valerie Sisk) came down to introduce the new head coach. When she said my name, the kids went nuts. I’ll never forget that as long as I live.
“It was great. That was a special feeling. We have a close relationship with the kids and I think that’s the most important thing anyway.”
Robbins has hit the ground, running with plenty of enthusiasm and optimism. He realizes more responsibilities have been thrown on his plate but being familiar with Warren’s program has made the move from assistant to head coach much easier.
Because the Warriors have enjoyed success during the previous nine years, the new coach isn’t making any major changes as far as football philosophy goes.
“Coach Dausin did so much for this program,” Robbins said. “He laid the framework. I think to take over after being here is a big advantage. People have asked me what am I going to change? Well, I changed offices. We’re going to do the same we have always done.
“We believe in being physical and outworking people. If we keep that mentality we’re going to be OK around here.”
Robbins has gone through a thorough grooming period to prepare for the role. Prior to his stint with Dausin, he was an assistant under former O’Connor mentor Danny Padron, Robbins’ position coach when he played tight end at Clark, and Carl Gustafson at New Braunfels Canyon and Churchill.
“It was really great to work with them and see how they do things.” Robbins said. “Coach Padron was my algebra teacher. When I had a problem with algebra I could knock on his door and it didn’t matter what time. He’s probably the best teacher I have been around. He is a great competitor and motivator.
“Coach Gustafson was so organized about everything. Coach Dausin’s organizational and people skills are unbelievable. The work ethic here was second to none. There was no stone left unturned.”
As the son of former Clark coach Mike Robbins, who also stints at Stockdale, Luling and Jefferson, the education began much sooner. Looking back, Jeff believes that was the perfect introduction.
“I was fortunate to be raised by my hero,” Robbins said. “He loved coaching. He always told me if you can live without coaching, then don’t coach.
“Anytime you grow up as a coach’s son the little things you pick up that pay dividends. I always thought my dad was a great motivator. He was always fair and reminded me we’re here for the kids. Wins and losses are going to come and go, but if you can feel good about the kids when they leave high school after becoming men that is special. That is why we’re here.”
Even with that love for coaching, Robbins took a different route toward the coaching profession. He didn’t play college football after Clark. Instead, he got involved in rodeo at Southwest Texas Junior College (Uvalde).
While competing in team roping and bulldogging (steer wrestling), Robbins fared well and even joined the professional ranks after his two years in Uvalde.
“I always wanted to do rodeo growing up,” Robbins said. “I grew up near the family ranch in Seguin. My uncles roped steers.
“It was a good time at Uvalde. We were successful as a team. When I got there, we didn’t have a bulldogger and I tried it. I had never done it before and there is a craft about it. You’re going after a steer and you have to get off your horse going about 50. Then you have to bring the steer down. I loved the rodeo scene.”
During that time, Robbins discovered he loves coaching and football much more. That discovery eventually caused him to hang up the spurs and pursue coaching.
He went got his degree at Sul Ross and never looked back.
“I couldn’t stand being away from football,” Robbins said. “It seems like I was I got where I was going to football practice and watching two-a-days.
“I knew I had to coach. I love seeing kids succeed and helping them. I enjoy those relationships. That drives me more than anything.”
Now, Robbins is looking forward to taking the next step. The outlook appears favorable for the Warriors, who go into the 2018 season with nine returning defensive starters and five on offense from last year’s 6-5 playoff squad.
As Warren’s former defensive coordinator, Robbins is excited about the potential on that side of the football as strength is present in all areas.
Manning the front are Caleb Williams, Davare Harrison, Justin Gomez and Darionte Mercer. The linebacking corps gets much of its punch from Eli Huron, Aiava Lealaimatfao and Jason Coronado, while the secondary appears to be secure with David Randall, Tra’Vanta Simeon and Josiah Gutierrez-Smith.
Warren’s offense has several questions because of the inexperience. However, Robbins saw progress being made during the offseason and spring training. He expects that improvement to continue when the Warriors return for fall drills in August.
Quarterback Christian Allen is set to lead the offense. Running backs Samuel Stanford and T’Lem Turner provide an effective ground attack. Wide receiver Eric Rascoe, who moves to offense after a successful stint in the secondary, is being counted on to be a plus the passing game.
Up front, Warren appears stout with Diego Hessbrook, Brian Rojas, Fabian Hernandez, David Valdez and Albert Gonzales.
“Spring training was awesome,” Robbins said. “It was very important to us, because our offense was unproven. They did a great job of getting together. Our whole philosophy was to be the most physical team and I think we saw that.
“The main thing was making sure everyone was on the same page. The kids bought into it.”
Now, the key is putting it all together to become one of District 28-6A’s four playoff teams, which begins with league contests against Brennan and defending champion O’Connor.
“I think it is critical our kids come into camp in great condition,” said Robbins, whose Warriors scrimmage Lee and open their season against Del Rio. “We’re’ having a great summer program and they’re working hard. They have to keep working. It’s going to be fun. Our kids are excited about this season.”