When Denard Robinson won the “NCAA Football 14” cover vote, he realized almost immediately that one of the biggest perks is getting the chance to meet with the EA Sports developers, including the guys who determine the player ratings for “Madden NFL 25,” a game that will feature the Michigan star for the first time.
“I hope they get my speed up there. I need to whisper in these guys' ears so they make me fast,” laughed Robinson when I got him on the phone to talk video games during his recent visit to EA Sports. “I want to be one of the guys people want to play as in the game.”
Robinson, who’s making the transition from quarterback to wide receiver in the NFL, says he’s patterning his game after players who went through similar changes, including Antwaan Randle El and Randall Cobb, so expect to see some serious speed, not to mention some sweet reverse pass plays on whatever “Madden” team he ends up on.
“That’s how I want to be in the NFL and in ‘Madden,’ so hopefully people can use me like that in the game and in real life,” said Robinson. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
And Robinson is no stranger to dominating in video games, as his “NCAA Football” character has been so unstoppable that using the Michigan quarterback was almost like using a cheat code.
“A lot of people would come up to me, or they’d tweet me things like, ‘I just dominated with Denard in the game,’” Robinson said. “It’s always good to hear that because I was always one of those guys who created himself in ‘NCAA’ to make myself one of the best players in the game. I’d make myself 99 and always win the Heisman, so it’s always good to have somebody play as you in the game.
“They tied my shoes though. I think they need to keep those shoelaces untied.”
When it comes to Robinson’s other video game habits, he says he’s hooked on “Call of Duty,” and calls himself a PlayStation fanatic from day one of Sony’s first system.
Added Robinson: “I’m all PS3. I’m a big PlayStation guy ever since the original PlayStation came out. I went from PlayStation to PlayStation 2 and now PlayStation 3. Hope I get that PlayStation 4 real soon.
“Growing up, I had five brothers and one sister and we were always playing games, even my dad played the games. I remember having Nintendo and playing games on there, so I’ve basically been playing my whole life.”
So when Robinson found out he’d not only star in “Madden 25” this year, but appear on the cover of “NCAA Football 14,” he almost couldn’t believe the news.
“I never would’ve thought in a million years that I would be on the front of ‘NCAA.’ It’s an honor to be on there,” said Robinson, adding that from what he’s already gotten to play of an advanced copy of “NCAA 14,” he wishes he could somehow appear in this year’s game in order to take advantage of the enhancements made to the spread offense.
“The spread offense, oh my gosh, it’s unstoppable,” he said after testing “14” for the first time. “Being able to run the spread and the read option is great. They have new running techniques where you’re actually pitching the ball using the right timing and the right reads, and it looks really good when you’re making your cuts.
“And the stiff arms really stood out to me. When you stiff arm a defender, their helmet goes back and you can see that impact, that force you put into that person. It’s not like the old stiff arms they had in the game, now it’s like a real-life stiff arm.”
Add to that the continued traditions showcased in the game, and you can tell why Robinson has been hooked on the “NCAA” franchise for so many years, whether or not there’s a polygonal version of him up on the screen.
“They’re coming out of the tunnel, touching the banners, and every time you score a touchdown, that fight song comes on,” said Robinson. “You love that tradition and it’s always great to see all of that stuff make it into the video game.”