Robert Johnson aka Rojo is respected and looked up to by most players in the Finnish Football comnunity. This is why it’s easy to see the effect he has on players reach such a personal level. Another Rojo disciple has been kind enough to shed some light on the great coach. Otso Flinkman was a juniors linebacker and safety before having Rojo change his career path. “It was Rojo’s idea for me to start playing quarterback.”
CREATING A QUARTERBACK
Otso Flinkman is no stranger to American Football, he has 13 years of experience under his belt. But he met Rojo at the ripe young age of 16 years old. After playing Juniors with the Espoo Devils and Helsinki Wolverines, Rojo recruited Flinkman to join the Helsinki Roosters organization. There is where the work really began for Otso. Changing positions is always tough, and learning from a foreigner sounds even more difficult. To help ease this transition and translation of information, Rojo teamed up with Jens Holmström to begin creating Otso Flinkman the quarterback. “Rojo and coach Holmström basically taught me everything I knew about playing quarterback and generally about the sport at the time.”
Otso admits that physically Rojo has built him from the ground up, but the experience he has gained from his mentor goes much deeper than that. “Rojo always emphasizes on being the leader as a quarterback and stepping up to the challenge when the opportunity presents itself.” Otso has become a leader and proved on the field that he is willing to step up in the big games. This attitude passed on from his mentor is what had led him to be recruited by teams in other countries in Europe.
MORE THAN A COACH
As I’ve stated in previous articles, Rojo is the type of person who gives his all for his players. Flinkman confirms this when speaking on his relationship with him. “Rojo has had a big influence in me as a player and even more as a coach. I also consider him as a good friend and an important mentor.” From the responses Otso Flinkman has given regarding Rojo, you can feel the tremendous amount of respect and admiration he has for him. I asked Flinkman, does he feel he would have eventually developed to where he is now as a player without the mentorship of Rojo? “ABSOLUTELY NOT”
THE ROJO COACHING STYLE
Rojo is from the great state of Georgia where playing football is just as natural as breathing. He was taught the Air Raid offense by Mike Leach during his college days at Texas Tech. The combination of that background is what has formed his playing and coaching style that is one of a kind. Otso Flinkman considers Rojo’s coaching style as the best thing about playing for him. “He is tough and he’ll give you the most direct feedback when you need it. His attitude towards the game is also inspiring; he expects to win and to see a great performance from his team.”
Of course Rojo’s coaching is not for everywhere and Flinkman understands why. “If you are overly sensitive or unprepared he is not the right coach for you or any fun to be around.” Fortunately, Otso Flinkman is a competitor with the desire to be great. He responds well to Rojo’s tough coaching and gets to reap the benefits accordingly. “He expects you to give him your best shot and if you don’t give it to him he’ll show you the door. Theres not a lot of room for sympathy. Instead he’ll give you a chance to be successful if you are ready to take it through hard work and dedication.”
Otso Flinkman is currently playing quarterback for the Tyesö Royal Crowns in the Swedish Super Serien. He plans on taking the team as far as he can as their quarterback and leader. He also has his eyes set on proudly representing the Finnish Men’s National Team in the upcoming European Championships. I wish Otso the best of luck in Sweden and hope his European championship goals are achieved.