TAHLEQUAH — Rob Robinson took over as Northeastern State’s head coach with quite the offensive background. He was Washburn’s offensive coordinator for four seasons prior to taking over the RiverHawks.
He had his offense executing the way he wanted heading into NSU’s spring game. Then that high level of offensive efficiency disappeared in front of a small smattering of fans at Doc Wadley Stadium on Saturday.
“Little frustrating,” Robinson said. “...We had a very good practice Thursday on offensive side, and I was looking for them to come out and expand on that and they went backwards. I don’t know if it was the people in the stands or there were some girls up there that were catching their eye — or what was going on.”
The RiverHawks started off without any offensive success. Then, after shifting to red zone offense, the RiverHawks posted three touchdowns — each one by a different quarterback (Johnny Deaton, Thor Long, Kevin Pantastico).
“I was impressed with how the offense got beat and got beat but then kind of turned it on once we got in the red zone,” Robinson said. “So they showed some maturity in not getting down on themselves.”
The final touchdown of the spring showcase — which was no different from any other practice, with NSU dividing strictly into offenses and defenses — was scored by former Tahlequah standout Mason McMillan. The 6-foot, 185-pound sophomore — who has been moved from defensive back to tailback — punctuated the event with a short scoring run up the middle.
As for the move to ball carrier, McMillan said he’s certainly back in his comfort zone.
“I’m liking it,” McMillan said. “I’m learning a lot [from Joel Rockmore and Terrance Dixon]. Learning to keep my pads low, which is something I did not do in high school, so they make sure I do that.”