Green Thriving With Double Dog-Duties

Sure, everyone knows he is among the most versatile athletes on this roster; and that his position requires all sorts of instructions. Still fans would never guess which offensive staffer gets Dog-dibs on Marcus Green this pre-season. "Oh, I work with Coach Hevesy!" the tight end says. "He's the main coach I work with!"

OK. Maybe that's a slight exaggeration. Scott Sallach is still directly responsible for Mississippi State tight ends. As coordinator of the passing game Mark Hudspeth certainly calls on Green's route-running services. Since Les Koenning's quarterbacks have to deliver the football he is very much involved. And of course the head man is always offering his ideas on how to incorporate Green ever more in the Dan Mullen edition of a spread offense.

Yet ask Green himself, and the junior is proud to proclaim his association with blocking boss John Hevesy. "Because he knows the offense, and he teaches me all the blocks, how they have to be made in order to get it executed."

Marcus Green is all about execution this season, both blocking and running routes and catching passes. Oh, and in summer workouts too. Which he seems to be handling quite well based on Wednesday observation. While a number of Bulldogs leaving the practice field were showing the strains of early morning running mixed with football-oriented conditioning drills, Green appeared fresh enough to go do it all again. Well, some of it anyway.

Seriously, though, "It's going pretty good," Green says. "We're out here every day constantly working hard so I can say we're getting better as a team."

Green certainly looks in season shape with just over two weeks left before the pre-season opens. In fact it has to be asked, has he lost a little weight? Nope. "Still 240 pounds," he says. "I'm just slimmed." Without having trimmed any muscle off his playing bulk of last fall, that is. Bulk that at times lent him a somewhat ‘blocking body' image. In fact he has been mistaken before by reporters not especially familiar with the squad for an offensive lineman, a guard maybe.

Insulting? "Nah, I took it as a compliment," Green grins.

"Because I get down there and try to do what the big boys do. I play in the trenches. I mean, the tight end does stand-up but he also plays in the trenches. I look at it sometimes as I call myself a big boy, you know, and look up to my offensive line." For their part the full-time blockers don't mind Green assuming such status, even if he's one of those lucky Dogs who gets to touch the football post-snap.

"I'm a good blocker," says Green. "I ain't the best blocker but I'm learning from the best blockers on the offensive line." Guys like J.C. Brignone and Quentin Saulsberry, he expounds. "Because they just bring it. So I look up to them. And being that J.C. is a senior I'm trying to be a leader like him."

By the same token tight ends like Green can be in a class of their own. After years of fans begging State to ‘get the tight end involved' in the offense, Mullen and staff assuredly did that last fall. Green not only was second in team catches (27, for 306 yards and three touchdowns); but his reception tally was almost three times as grabs as the 2008 tight end corps combined…a mere ten catches.

Yep, Green is involved in this offense. And he has a heads-up for fans and foes alike that 2009 was only a first glimpse of both his and his position's potential in year-two under Mullen's direction.

"You got a peek at it. Just things that I see us work on are why I'm looking forward to this season and to come out and produce for the team."

Thus these summer mornings, and some afternoons for that matter following classes, on the practice field going through his paces and running down tosses from Chris Relf, Tyler Russell, and Dylan Favre. As a veteran Green is serious about setting an older Dog's pace in such informal but still important sessions.

"The main thing is to come out here every day and be a leader and catch the football." Because, after all, there isn't a whole lot of ‘blocking' done in such drills. But if Green wanted to lay a defender out in July he has the horsepower to do it, and this is a significant step forward. Remember, only a year ago at this time Green was coming off a redshirt year, an abbreviated freshman year, and winter surgery to correct a nagging pelvic area issue that required specialist attention.

Heck, Green was not even listed on the pre-season depth chart a year ago…and for that matter there wasn't a specific ‘tight end' listed. Both items were very obviously addressed over the course of a full fall season where Green put in a complete campaign. "Yeah, thank God I got that behind me," he says. Oh, and it has stayed in the past over the grueling spring and summer course.

"Nothing hurts. I might have a few aches and pains every now and that but it's a good sore. Good aches and pains is when you come out there and work hard and you're glad it hurts, because you know you've done something. Balis pains!" Well, yeah, the already-legendary strength coach Matt Balis might be the proverbial pain at times, but Bulldogs love the results.

And Green loves thinking of what his junior season could, should bring. Like, more plays on the order of his game-changing grab in the Egg Bowl that put Mississippi State in front and on the way to victory. A photo of that catch graced the Dawgs' Bite cover a month later, with Green going about as high in the air to get Relf's throw as the official two-yard distance the play covered. How did he elevate 240 pounds, plus gear and garb, so far?

"You ain't seen it yet!" Green boasts of his vertical potential. But, Marcus, you could have dunked that ball in a regulation roundball hoop?! He smiles even bigger. "I haven't went and got anything yet, I'm looking forward to this year!" And not, he hastens to add, just for the chance to make more such plays. Green believes he is on a team full of cover-quality players and can't wait for everyone to get on the field and show it.

"You should be ready. These Dogs are ready!"

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