John Robinson-Woodgett set to play both ways

Last modified: Saturday, October 10, 2015
AMHERST — With Rodney Mills out and the Minutemen thin at fullback, Whipple tabbed junior linebacker John Robinson-Woodgett to fill the role, making him a rare two-way player in Division I.

UMass coach Mark Whipple considered playing Robinson-Woodgett, a Springfield native, there during spring practice. When Matt Tuleja, a walk-on who saw regular reps last year, didn’t return to the team, Whipple made the move.

“Matt (Tuleja) won’t be back so we needed another physical guy,” Whipple said. “He’d done it at Worcester Academy.”

Robinson-Woodgett said he’ll take on whatever role given to him.

“I’ll do whatever Coach asks me to do. I’m just trying to help the team,” he said. “Either way you have to be in shape. I work hard in the offseason. We all do. I feel if Coach asked anyone to do it they’d be able to do for the team. He gives me an assignment to do and I just do my best. It’s just football at the end of the day.”

Whipple has used his fullbacks as pass catchers in the past, but Robinson-Woodgett wasn’t targeted Saturday. Whipple said he would have been if he’d been in the right place.

“If he runs the route, which he was supposed to do on the fake punt,” Whipple said and then deadpanned, “I don’t know if he wants to catch passes.”

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage