Ralph Green III came to camp this year at 325 pounds.
Just in working out in the hot conditions and going through rigorous practices the last few weeks, Green is down around 310.
That’s a comfortable weight for the redshirt sophomore defensive tackle. He feels like he can be active and bounce around and get to the quarterback at that weight.
It’s certainly a far cry from where Green weighed as a junior at Sam Houston High School in San Antonio, Texas.
If you thought DeAndre Thomas was big when he played basketball for Kelvin Sampson at the Hoosiers back in 2007, he was tiny compared to Green as a junior in high school. The 6-5 DT checked in at 371 pounds.
“I came here at 355 at the beginning of last year and got down to 307 which was my playing weight last year,’’ Green said. “I’m a lot more comfortable at a lower weight. But I feel like I can always bulk up if that’s what they need me to do.’’
Green has found Indiana’s new 3-4 defense to his liking from the spring into the summer and now in preseason camp.
For Green, as a defensive tackle, he said the big difference is instead of lining up in a gap he’s going head-to-head with his opponent.
“The coach’s say this is using my potential to the highest point it can be and I’m all for that,’’ Green said. “I love being head up, or outside the tackle or at the defensive end spot, wherever they want me to be. In the 3-4, you never stay in the same spot. You’re always moving. They never know what to expect. You could be coming, left, right, or right at them. They never know for sure.’’
Green started nine games as a redshirt freshman last season. He posted 25 tackles, one sack, 4.5 tackles for loss, one forced fumble and had two blocked field goals. The field goal blocks came against Penn State and again at Michigan.
When he’s head up, Green can be in a variety of spots. He can be over the right guard, over the left guard, maybe outside of the tackles. He said it’s a guessing game for his opponent.
“It’s just a bunch of mind games between me and the offensive line,’’ Green said.
So what’s the ultimate for a big defensive tackle when you’re challenging some of the best offensive linemen in the country in the Big Ten on a week to week basis?
“The ultimate is to knock him on his butt and get to the quarterback or the running back,’’ Green said, “and get the ball out and create a turnover.’’
Green said the Hoosiers haven’t gotten very comfortable both with new defensive coordinator Brian Knorr and his 3-4 system.
“We’ve very comfortable and we’ve bought in to his strategy,’’ Green said.
Green said the defense as a whole is extremely confident this season. The problems from past years are just that, they say, in the past.
“We’re not going back,’’ Green said. “We’re going places that Indiana has never been before. We want to go to the Rose Bowl. And I’m not just talking like this to get it out there, I’m just talking about the way we’re working and the work we’re putting in and the the way the coaches are treating us.
“He’s setting us up for success.’’
Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch