GERRI GREEN INTERVIEW
What is different about you from a year ago?
"I think I am bigger and faster. And I think my football IQ has improved. I feel like I know the game more than I did a year ago."
Why did you feel like you needed to redshirt last year?
"My football IQ for the SEC wasn't there yet. I wasn't ready to be an SEC player or an SEC linebacker. My body wasn't ready, my mind wasn't ready. That is one of the main things when you come out of high school, the game speed. Everybody is fast in college. Everybody is big and strong. And you want to be able to go out there and dominate."
What are you good at and what are you still working on?
"Right now, I am good at being physical, getting to the ball. I just want to be the best that I can be."
I saw you in high school. I see you now and you look like a veteran SEC linebacker. Physically, your transformation is incredible. Is your mind at the same place that your body is right now?
"I am trying to get it there. Getting the mind there is half of it. Once I get the mental part of it down, then that is what really slows the game down. So, once I get the mental aspect of it down, then I think the game will come easy to me."
There have been a lot of great linebackers that have played for Mississippi State. The MSU coaches feel like you can be a great linebacker too. Why do you feel like you can become a great linebacker?
"Just keep working hard. Hard work is what got all of those guys to where they are at. And I feel like hard work will get me there, too."
There is more to it than hard work. You also have the body of a potentially great linebacker. There is also the talent level, and you have a lot of talent. Do you have the drive to be better than anybody else?
"I do, I want to be better than those guys. I have the opportunity to be better than them. They laid the foundation of the great linebackers here at Mississippi State. I can either live up to it or not live up to it."
Did Benardrick McKinney talk to you about what it takes to become great?
"He didn't. He's not a talker. When we talked it was more about what was going on on the field. But I learned more from him by just watching his actions because he was a leader. When he said something the entire defense reacted because he got everybody's attention. When he said he was going to do something, he did it. I want that type respect, too."
RYAN BROWN TALKS ABOUT GERRI GREEN
I saw Gerri Green in high school. He was a great looking player who showed a lot of potential. Since he has gotten to Mississippi State his physical transformation has been incredible. He looks like a veteran SEC linebacker even though he is still just a redshirt freshman. As a veteran SEC lineman, what are your thoughts about him?
"I think Gerri Green, GG4, is going to be very special for Mississippi State. He has a great future in front of him, not just because of his body but also his mind. His mind is in a great place and I think that is what is going to separate him from the rest. I think he will reach his potential everyday."
Did you see the same transformation that I have seen?
"Yeah, like you said, he was a kid when he first came in. Now, he has turned into a man. He is getting bigger, faster and stronger, and that is a scary sight."
This is your fourth year in the SEC. You have seen a lot of great linebackers during that time. Do you see him having the potential to be better than most of those great linebackers?
"I see that from him in the near future. He accepts responsibility. He's already a leader."
Not only does he have the size and speed but he is also a leader on the team.
"Yeah, we have 10 people on our leadership committee and he is one of them. He is a great person off the field and stays focused. He is going to be a great leader for us."
What difference have you seen from him from the spring to the first few preseason practices?
"Confidence. His confidence is at an all-time high. He has continued to learn and has bought into the program."
When did you buy into the fact that Gerri Green could be a really special player?
"I would have to say this spring. After a couple of the other guys left he stepped on up. He filled those shoes and continued to do great things."
You and Gerri are similar in size but you are a defensive end and he is a linebacker. What makes him a linebacker instead of a defensive end?
"Speed. He is a 4.4, 4.5 speed type guy. His speed is ridiculous. Also, what separates him is his mind and that he loves to hit."
Ok, he has an SEC body, great speed, loves to hit....
"And he has an elite way of thinking."
So, there should be nothing that will prevent him from being an outstanding SEC linebacker.
"I would just say if you want someone to watch grow in the next three years, then you need to watch Gerri Green."
How are Gerri Green and Benardrick McKinney different?
"They are different but they are part of that same breed. Gerri is very humble and more of a people person. B-Mac was all about his business but did like to have fun, too. Gerri does too. They are part of the same breed."
Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.