Roberts Moving Forward

  • By Julie Brown
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  • May 05, 2011 03:57 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – At this time of the year, most 17 and 18-year olds are finishing out their last months of high school before turning their focus to graduation and summer vacation.

Despite only being a few months away for most, thoughts of entering their freshman year of college are usually pushed back until summer begins to draw to a close.

This is the scenario for most high school-age adolescents, but it’s not the case for twin brothers Vance and Vernard Roberts, two of the newest additions to the Mountaineer roster.

For them, the transition to college occurred in January, when they said goodbye to family and friends back home in Washington, D.C. and made the journey to Morgantown.

You may have heard of Vernard recently. He’s the guy who had five receptions for 41 yards and 10 carries for a team-leading 64 rushing yards during last Friday’s annual Gold-Blue spring game - a performance that impressed the crowd of 22,000 fans that came out to watch.

“It was fun,” he said with a grin. “I had my family in the stands with my mom, my dad and my cousins. It was a great experience for me.”

While performing so well so early may be surprising to some, Roberts is not surprised by the early success he’s had.

“I found out a couple of weeks ago that I was running with the first team,” he said. “It didn’t surprise me because of the hard work I have put in throughout my whole life. My dad trained me since I was little and told me if there was anything that I wanted to be when I grew up, he was going to push me to be the best at it. I’m just moving forward.”

Roberts’ father has been a source of driving motivation since Roberts was a youngster, fostering his competitive attitude. But it’s a fear of failure that also has Roberts pushing hard every day.

“I don’t want to fail at all,” he said seriously. “I have a purpose and a goal in life that I want to achieve and I’m not going to stop until I get there. I’ve been competing my whole life. From every level as a kid, my dad trained me to have this competitive nature, and it’s come along with me to college.”

This drive to succeed has proved important over the past few months. Roberts rushed for 1,004 yards with nine touchdowns, and had 13 receptions for 165 yards and three touchdowns as a receiver coming out of the backfield during the 2009 campaign – his last in high school. Vernard finished his stellar three-year career with 238 carries for 1,728 yards and 14 rushing touchdowns.

Yet despite this level of production in high school, the college game proved a challenge at first, requiring adjustments and a learning curve.

“It hasn’t come easy,” admitted Roberts. “The first couple of practices I had to get used to the speed. But I began to develop and now it’s just getting used to the plays and working hard.”

Which isn’t a problem, as he’s been working hard to achieve his goals his entire life. And now that’s he’s had a chance to prove his work ethic and capabilities, there could very well be a prominent place for him in Dana Holgorsen’s offense.

“There’s a lot of creativity with Holgorsen’s offense,” he said. “He can open it up for the run, he can open it up for the pass and he can open it up for the field goal.”

With all of the excitement over the new offense, the defense has been overshadowed a little bit. But Roberts makes sure to keep an eye his brother and Mountaineer defensive back, Vance.

“I’m rooting for him no matter what color jersey I have on, even in practice. I’m rooting for my brother even though I’m on offense because that’s my twin and I want him to be the best, too.”

Now that both brothers have showcased their skills for the fans, they’ve left plenty of people anticipating what’s to come in the fall. And Roberts is already expecting to take care of that on Saturday afternoons.

“It was very special to see the Mountaineer pride and Mountaineer Nation that filled the whole left side of the stands,” he concluded. “It was really big and it made me want to get out there and run around even more.”


West Virginia University Mountaineers, Vernard Roberts, Dana Holgorsen, NCAA college football