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Greg Robinson defends Syracuse career: ‘I think I can, I knew I could’

first_imgFormer Syracuse head coach Greg Robinson spoke to The Daily Orange in an exclusive interview Monday afternoon. He reflected on his Syracuse career and defended his 10-37 head coaching record over the 2005-08 stretch. The five wins from his first two seasons at the helm have been vacated by the NCAA because of violations.“I loved my time at Syracuse. Absolutely loved it. Hated that it had to end the way it did. Wish we had won more. We had great kids. It was a great situation. Great people. I love the town. I go back all the time to see my grandkids.“If you go back and check out the archives of the players that I left in that program. A whole bunch went into pro football that I recruited … I do know this. I left it in very good shape. I’m not going to say it was better than when I came, or whatever, but I’m just going to tell you that I left in very good shape for years to come. And if people really go back and really do their homework, they’d see that. They’d see Justin Pugh, what’s the quarterback’s name on the Giants? I’m redshirting him and Chandler Jones. And Pugh, I’m the one that was recruiting that guy. He ended up being a first round pick. Mike Williams, you still had in the program. And I could keep going. There was a bunch of them. There was a whole bunch of guys. I feel good about what I did there. I needed to win more games.”When asked about his reputation in Syracuse, which has taken a hit publicly since his tenure as the least successful coach in program history, he defended his perception.“I don’t care. My reputation, let me tell you something. To the people that matter to me, I have a great reputation. First of all, I can tell you this. This I do know. I have an outstanding reputation in the city of Syracuse for the kind of person and the kind of family man that I was with my wife and my kids. In that town, I know we’re highly respected, OK? Highly respected.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I have no regrets. I gave everything I had. It’s just, I ran out of time. That’s the bottom line. I ran out of time. I’ve continued to be successful as a coach and I went to Michigan, I went down to Texas again and had success there. I was successful there at San Jose State, and won that bowl game a couple weeks ago. Our defense played outstanding. I’ve got no regrets.“I get it. I understand the business. I’ve been in it a long time. But there was no lack of respect. I believe that. For people that knew, that knew who I was and knew about me, I don’t even blink, because I know how people felt. I think they wish I would have won more. That’s what I think.”Robinson pointed out that things were getting better toward the end of his tenure. Syracuse beat Notre Dame, 24-23, and then Robinson said Syracuse played a “nip and tuck” game with then-No. 16 Cincinnati, a game SU lost 30-10. Both games occurred after Robinson was fired.“There’s always those things. Coulda, woulda shoulda. I’m not into that. It didn’t work. I wasn’t able to get over that hump. I think we were heading there because and look at the last two games I coached. We beat Notre Dame at Notre Dame and then we had (Brian) Kelly and his team at Cincinnati, we had them on the ropes in that game. And we lost one of our linebackers, who got hurt on a play and left the game. We played Cincinnati, and they won the league that year. We had them on the ropes the last game of the season, the end of the fourth quarter, it was nip and tuck. And then we were getting better. I knew we were getting better. If you go look at my quotes from the summer before, I said that we’re not there yet. We’re not there yet. Our secondary is young. It’s going to take a few weeks to get these guys to grow. But it turned out to be a pretty darn good group of guys and it was for the next group coming in, they had a nice group of guys ready to play. That’s really how it is.”Robinson also addressed his final press conference at Syracuse, where he recited Thomas The Tank Engine and said “I think I can.”“I was just saying that I believe. I believe that I was still climbing that mountain. I was still going. We all grew up as kids hearing that story. And I think I can, I knew I could. Like I said, I ran out of time. I’m not ashamed of that. Not at all.”Robinson stepped away from football last month after serving as the defensive coordinator at San Jose State. He said he’s not retired from football, but doesn’t know what direction his career will go in next. Comments Published on January 11, 2016 at 5:24 pm Contact Sam: sblum@syr.edu | @SamBlum3 Related Stories Greg Robinson coached Syracuse to 10 wins in 4 seasons to complete worst stretch in Orange historycenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more