Rosman – Rosman Tigers move into the Western Highlands Conference with Dusty Robinson as their head coach.
Robinson is a 1998 RHS grad. He was a Rosman assistant football coach for nine seasons of overseeing linemen. He became head coach ahead of the spring 2021 season.
Burly Robinson played for some of the finest Tiger squads ever. “We’ve had success, and good times” over the years, he said. “I told the kids that in Rosman and similar towns, the school is the center of the community — and the football team is the heartbeat of the school.”
Robinson was a guard and defensive tackle (DT) for the Tigers then a DT for Mars Hill. He played at Rosman for coaching greats Dan Essenberg then Jim Fox. He learned from Fox “You build relationships with the players and their parents. I see them play in their other sports.” He is a baseball assistant coach.
He called muscular Essenberg a “tremendous advocate of strength and conditioning. He reached out to get players.” One in five boys played football then — 30 in all. There are now 20 varsity Tigers.
Rosman returns four starters on offense and five on defense. The Tigers shift out of the Smoky Mountain Conference into another top-heavy league in the WHC.
The 1A Tigers fell 47-0 to 3A East Henderson last Friday. “Many players saw their first varsity action,” Coach Robinson noted. “We didn’t fold our tent. We kept playing hard.” The most winnable game for RHS seems at Madison Oct. 1. Rosman’s best outing in its winless spring season was in a 34-26 loss to Enka. “We played really well offensively — the way we intend to operate it,” Coach Robinson said. “We were physical. We matched up well” with the 3A Jets.
Rosman remains run-oriented. The Tigers run a triple option with “flex bone” and double wing formations — a la Jim Fox’s offense, Robinson said. “We’ll throw it around more. We utilize the passing concepts to loosen things for the running.”
Quarterback Carson Lyday (5-10, 160 jr.) shifts from RB to QB. “Carson is fast. He’s a very fluid runner,” Coach Robinson said. “He has a big arm. He has all of the physical attributes.” Lyday is steadily learning the offense and instant decision-making on when to keep the ball and when to pitch or throw it.
Fullback (‘B back’) Andrew Stamey (6-0 sr.) “runs straight ahead, downhill — 100 mph,” Robinson said. Two wingbacks are in at once. One is quick Mason Mezger (5-10, 170 so.). Samuel McCall (5-9, 150 sr.) and fast Corey Rackley (5-7, 160 so.) share the other slot. Rackley ran for the sole Tiger TD Friday. McCall is shrewdly able to “find a crease” in a defense, Robinson said.
He said wide receiver cousins Bradley McCall (6-3, 170 sr.) and Marley McCall (5-9 so.) “both have great hands and instincts in running routes.”
The line returns center Josh Norton (6-0, 205 sr.) and left guard Langston Whitmire (6-1, 220 jr.). “Josh is very fast, quick and agile. He’s our best lineman” — on par with blockers on the best Tiger teams, Robinson said. New starters are likely RG Keith Fuller (6-1, 185 jr.), RT Jose Fermin (6-0, 245 sr.) and LT Hayden Hall (6-1, 220 so.).
“We hang our hat on our offensive line’s quickness and agility,” Robinson said. “We’re reading” defenders better. “We’re trying to get to the next level to tie defenders up long enough, for our backs to get into space. We’re not asking them to drive people into the ground.” He noted “we don’t pull (guards) as much as Coach Fox did, or a Wing T team does.”
PK Alex Jenkins (5-10, 176 so.) can reliably kick a 35-yard field goal.
The defense is a 3-5 stack instead of 4-2-5 as before. “We line up three. But after stunts and slants, you can end up with four or five at the point of attack,” Robinson explained. “It takes away from blocking angles.” He likes how “we’re very athletic and physical, across the board.” He said MLB Norton “very rarely guesses wrong” in sizing up runners.
WHC favorite Mountain Heritage will “run it up the gut,” Coach Robinson realizes. His objective in the WHC is the same as when in the SMC. ”Our goal is to get into the mix, knocking on the door of the top three in the conference.”