RB Competition More 'Fun' For Green in 2014

Slimmer and now over a year into his career at Michigan, sophomore running back Derrick Green is engaged and excited about the competition at the position so far in camp. Coming in with expectations as a freshman, Green is feeling different than 2013.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Walking on campus with vast expectations a year ago, Michigan sophomore running back Derrick Green could feel the target on his back.

Tagged as the No. 1 running back in the country in the 2013 class, Green was a big get on the recruiting trail for Michigan and a player that, given his combination of size and speed, could fit a downhill running style Brady Hoke and Al Borges wanted to have in their first three years in Ann Arbor.

In Green’s first year, it simply was not meant to be.

Green weighed in just shy of 250-pounds for fall camp, struggling to find the burst and superb foot quickness that made him such a special talent.

Now just 10 days from kickoff of the 2014 season, Green is in shape (down to 220-pounds) and recently walked into Michigan’s scrimmage Saturday night at the top of the depth chart.

Still in fierce competition with fellow sophomore De’Veon Smith, as well as Drake Johnson and Justice Hayes, Green is taking a different approach to things this fall.

“I think last year I guess in camp I was just thinking a lot about a lot,” Green said Wednesday. “Just trying to make sure I learned the offense and just had a lot going on.

“I just feel like this year I got to have fun with it. Make sure I know the offense, I know the schemes and everything and I’m just having fun with it and feel I’m more relaxed doing it that way.”

Although Green took nearly all the snaps with the first team in Saturday’s scrimmage, the running game was wildly ineffective against a blitzing defense and motivated defensive front for Michigan.

Regardless, Green says Saturday was just one night, not indicative of the overall camp the group has had to this point.

“I just feel like it was a tough scrimmage,” Green said. “It’s hard to do a lot when the offense knows the defenses plays and the defense knows the offenses plays.

"But, I think come August 30th it’s going to be way different. I feel like the running backs we’re going to get off, the offensive line is going to do a great job which they’ve been doing all camp, communicating and just being a family.”

“In camp we’ve been running the ball a lot, being real physical and running it downhill,” Green added. “We’ve been having a lot of good runs in camp. Saturday, some things weren’t clicking but like I said we’ll watch the film and correct it.”

Michigan coach Brady Hoke was asked Wednesday if the running back depth chart remained the same following Saturday’s scrimmage, to which Hoke responded with a very vague answer.

“I think when you look at our backs, all of them have done a nice job,” Hoke said. “I think they’re unproven and I think they’re getting better. In third down situations Drake and Justice have done a nice job.

“I think Derrick and De’Veon from getting downhill, both of them, we’ve got to keep improving with.”

Whomever earns the first carry in Michigan’s season opener against Appalachian State, Green is choosing to focus on what he can control, as well as ensuring he’s helping his teammates stay up to speed with him.

“I feel like right now I’m doing everything I can,” Green said. “Me and De’Veon are two great backs and giving it our all in camp to try to separate each other but I feel like it’s going to come down to Coach Jackson, the offensive coordinator and the head coach to make that decision.”

“(We’re) definitely going hard in camp,” added Green. “Making sure we’re competing everyday, we come out, we’re brothers and we love each other but we’re going to tell each other what’s wrong or what we can change to make each other better.”

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