NEW ORLEANS — Defensive back Demarcus Robinson has a knack for getting to the ball.
In the Arena Football League, that trait makes him a valuable member of the VooDoo defense.
Through the first two games of the season, Robinson leads the VooDoo with 151/2 tackles. That includes an 11-tackle performance in the season-opening win against Orlando.
His tackles through two games are also one of the highest totals in the league.
For Robinson, who played college football at Henderson State, his motive is simple: Everything he sees moving on offense, walking or running, he wants to hit it as hard as he can. Inflict punishment. The kind they won’t forget the next time they enter his secondary.
“I like to set the tone,” Robinson said. “I set the tone early.”
While Robinson is playing his second season with the VooDoo, his ties with Arena Football date to 2008, when he was with the Quad City Steamwheelers of af2. He also played with the AFL’s Cleveland Gladiators in 2011.
Such experiences have allowed him to become as much as a teacher on the field as a performer. It’s a role he’s enjoyed since the middle of the 2012 season.
“I still remember my rookie season,” Robinson said. “I didn’t know how to line up with help. I didn’t know how to play the angles of Arena Football. I thought it was just man-to-man. But over time, I learned that it’s more than that. There (are) clues and keys that slow the game down.”
These are the lessons he’s passing on, from making sure defensive teammates are lined up in the right position to the overall defensive alignment.
The VooDoo is on a bye this week — good timing after last Saturday’s 48-38 loss to Iowa. They return to action April 12 at the Jacksonville Sharks before hosting the Pittsburgh Power on April 19.
In the meantime, Robinson is part of a VooDoo defense that hopes to improve its third- and fourth-down success against offenses. Last Saturday, the Barnstormers offense converted 4 of 9 third downs and 2 of 3 fourth downs.
“If we would have stopped them, then it would have been a totally different ballgame,” Robinson said. “And that’s where we need to get better at.”
Defensive back Eddie Moten now has two interceptions in two games. At his current pace, he could easily reach the franchise’s top-five list for INTs in a season. Former VooDoo linebacker Alvin Ray Jackson set the mark last season with 12. Jeremy Kellem, who has also departed, caught nine last season, ranking second all-time. Robinson’s six INTs last season are tied for fifth all-time in a VooDoo season.
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