Junior Johnny Brown has been serving an apprenticeship, of sorts, to former Strong Safety Jamarca…
Marshay Green -
During every drill, you hear the same voice. "Go hard!" "Give it your best!" "Pick it up!" "Make that rep count!" If you weren't looking, you'd think it was a coach. But it's not. It's Cornerback Marshay Green tossing encouragement to his teammates on a constant basis. "Marshay is the leader of our group," said CB Coach Chris Vaughn. "He's like having an extension of me out there. He gets my guys going. Every snap, every drill, he gives his best and expects the best from his teammates and they follow his lead." Talking, always talking. When Marshay was a wide receiver, he'd challenge the corners by telling them there was no way they could cover him. The very day he was moved to corner, he started yapping at the wideouts, his former comrades in arms, telling them there was no way they could beat him. That's just Marshay. "I like to be challenged and I like to challenge all my teammates. I like competition," said Green. "Competing makes things right with me." Last season, Marshay gave up some plays while he was learning the position, but he did not let that get him down. He kept bouncing back until he got it right. By the end of the year, he had transformed himself into a pretty good SEC corner. Witness the Cotton Bowl victory over Texas Tech when he picked off a Graham Harrell aerial and returned it over 60 yards for a backbreaking touchdown. He hasn't slowed down since, and hasn't let his running mates slow down either. "Like Coach Nutt and Coach Vaughn say, if you aren't getting better, you're getting worse. I take that to heart and want all my teammates to understand that too," he says. Now, as the 2009 season rapidly approaches, the grind of August drills is broken up by the chattering of Marshay, encouraging the defensive guys and challenging the offensive players. The Rebel secondary was a sore spot at times last year, but that is not the expectation this time around. Both starting corners, Marshay and senior Cassius Vaughn, are experienced, as well as senior Free Safety Kendrick Lewis, also one of the team leaders, and junior SS Johnny Brown. "We are a lot more comfortable this time around. We have three seniors and a junior starting out there. We are supposed to be the leaders. We are supposed to be better. We are supposed to be effective," he states bluntly. "Anything less would be a failure, in my eyes." The experience factor has been the key for Green. "Last year, I was learning on the fly. I didn't even know the techniques or the basics. I was just getting by on instinct and athletic ability and sometimes I wasn't getting by, I was getting beaten," he explained. "This year, I know the coverages, I know the techniques, I know what to do and how to do it. There's a world of difference." Green feels that comfort level should allow him to make more plays. "Anytime you know your position and know your assignments, the hesitation is gone and you can play faster and react faster," Green noted. "You are also in better position to make plays. I think there are big plays out there for everyone in the secondary to make because of our experience and being able to play fast. "We are going to be smart about it. We aren't going to take silly risks, but we should be in a position to make some big plays and cause some turnovers." The versatile Green also believes the secondary has gained more trust from the coaches, which will ultimately mean more responsibility. "I don't think our coaches will be afraid to leave us on an island more this year," he closed. "I think they have more confidence in us and that will allow them to be more aggressive with their calls and mix things up more. "We can't let them down. When they make an aggressive call, we have to compete and get it done. That's our goal." Meanwhile, Marshay Green - starting corner, punt returner and leader - will keep on doing his thing.
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