Transition Time for Young Defensive End

A.J. Greene talks about the adjustment to college as he starts his first week of practice.

Auburn, Ala.--At six-feet-five-inches tall and weighing in at 265 pounds, A.J. Greene has the look of a college upperclassmen on and off the football field.

He has the look of a offensive tackle's worst nightmare. But the truth is, Greene is just a 17-year-old trying to get a feel for not only SEC football, but also a new lifestyle.

"It's a lot different to be honest," Greene says. "I'm used to going to class for eight hours a day, now you go to class for about two hours and then you're out and you study more out of class. It's a little bit different, but you're going to have to adjust because you don't have a choice.

"It seems like college is a lot of fun, but you have to keep up on it because if you don't then things can build up, and you don't want to have a lot of stuff on your shoulders."

Greene is one in a long line of Auburn players to come from Brentwood Academy in Tennessee joining offensive linemen King Dunlap and Mike Berry on the AU roster. He's also one of an impressive group of 20 scholarship freshmen who got their first taste of college practice on Thursday morning and then followed that up with more split squad workouts on Friday and Saturday morning that allowed the coaches a chance to spend more time with the newcomers.

Much like last year's tight knit group of freshmen, Greene says it'll be important for the future of program that the 2007 group develops chemistry amongst each other.

"I hope to make a lot of good friends," he explains. "Friends are an important characteristic in any person. I want to be friends with the people and have a good relationship with every single one of the players, and I hope we can make it as far as possible (on the field).

"About nine or 10 of us were in the STEP program so I've already bonded with quite a bit of the freshmen. We're all pretty close."

Greene has the frame and athleticism to develop into a beast on the defensive line.

Entering a new environment with strange faces and new responsibilities can be tough, especially for someone like Greene, who doesn't turn 18 until Sept. 25 when the Tigers are four games into the season. However, he says handled that part just fine. His new relationship with Kevin Yoxall, the strength and conditioning coach, has been the toughest part of the transition.

"It's hard," he notes. "It's real hard, but if you get through Yox you really feel like you've accomplished something. Yox is a tough dude. When I came here I weighed 275, and within the first two or three weeks I lost 20 pounds. I've gained 10 pounds of that back, but I'm looking forward to gaining back some more.

"I've talked with Quentin Groves about it and he explained that it's hard, but if you want to be here--it's SEC and one of the top schools--you've just got to keep pushing through it. That's one thing he's talked to me about along with the defensive playbook. You've got to study and study until you get it down pat."

Greene is getting his first look on the collegiate level at strongside defensive end.

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