Derrick Green stepped up when his team most needed him Saturday. When the score knotted at 10 thanks in large part to two turnovers and the nervousness in the stadium growing audibly palpable, the sophomore running back took over.
“I told the coaches, just give it to me and I’m going to get the job done,” Green said afterward. “Keep feeding me and that’s what I did.”
A 27-yard jaunt on 2nd and 17 got things rolling. He followed that up with an 11-yard run and then an 8-yard run before high-stepping the last yard for his first touchdown. When the curtain fell on the afternoon he had rushed 22 times for 137 yards and two scores.
“Derrick Green had a great week of practice,” Michigan headman Brady Hoke said. “Probably as good as I've seen from him. I think (Doug) Nussmeier would say the same thing because we've both kind of said it together. He had a great week. He was finishing runs… he was really coming out the other side. It will be interesting to see how he felt he played. If he missed a read there, sometimes that happens. But I thought he played a nice football game."
The seeds for that performance were planted in the immediate aftermath of the Wolverines’ disappointing loss to Notre Dame. While the line play was widely criticized for its performance versus the Irish it was sometime the victim of misplays elsewhere. One notable example was the running backs missing some wide open holes. Green was intent on improving that when he took the field again.
Said Green, “there were definitely more holes, but I definitely used my vision a lot more and had to hit them.”
Looking back on it, a simple and clear message from running backs coach Fred Jackson helped the talented youngster bounce back last week.
“Just stay focused, keep the offensive line up and just come out and have a great week of practice,” Green said conveying Jackson’s words. “Bounce back and play it game by game. (You) can’t harp on the last game… (you’ve) just got to keep going and play it game by game.”
Green took those words to heart and it showed as soon as he stepped onto the football field.
“I just brought a lot more energy, keyed in, stayed focused and kept my offensive line up,” he said. “Just brought that energy to practice and stayed focused.”
Now all he has to do is the same thing nine more times this year.
Green Says “Keep Feeding Me”
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