The Duncanville High School coaches often referred to Za’Carrius Green as the “most explosive player in the Northern Hemisphere” during his prep playing career. With National Signing Day around the corner (Feb. 4), we visited with Duncanville co-offensive coordinator/running backs coach Matt Allen about Green and his future with the OSU Cowboys.
What are Za’Carrius’s strengths as a football player?
Is there one play or one game that you’ll always remember about Za’Carrius?
Allen: He has great knowledge of the game. He’s a student first. He usually sees things before they get there, (and) he can anticipate really well. He’s a ballhawk. He’s all over the place. There are times where he’s at the ball before the person who’s supposed to be there is there. He’s got a great knack for the football. He’s the best we’ve had here in a while. We’ve had linebackers go to several Division I schools and he’s the most complete (linebacker) we’ve had.
What are the areas that he’ll need to improve to play in the Big 12 Conference?
Allen: To play in the Big 12 he’s going to have to get bigger. I’m not sure what they have him listed at not but they’ll want him at around 225 (pounds). He needs to develop and he will. He’s got a great frame. Once he gets up there and starts eating at the fancy training table, I’ve been up there and have seen it, but once he gets up there he’ll put on weight and develop.
Allen: It would have to be a practice last spring. Our best running back took off with the football and somebody missed blocking Za’Carrius, and we were running a stretch play away from Za’Carrius. He went from the opposite hash all the way across to the other side of the field and hit my guy in the numbers. It was about a 2-yard gain but he hit him so hard he knocked him out of bounds. He didn’t wrap up or anything, he just cleaned him up. I couldn’t believe it happened. The backside linebacker came all the way across the field and made the play on the numbers. He demolished the kid. I felt bad for the kid because it knocked his helmet off. We tried to tell him, be careful and take care of your teammates, but he didn’t want to hear any of that stuff. He just has one speed. You can’t tell him not to practice hard because it’s not going to happen.
Are there any games you remember?
Allen: His junior year we went over to Grand Prairie and he had two pick-sixes as a linebacker in his first game back after an injury. He should have had a third (interception); he jumped and tipped it and almost came down with it, and he would have scored on that one too. So he almost had three pick-sixes.
Why do you think he chose Oklahoma State?
Allen: I know Oklahoma State offered him early. He had places like Iowa and Nebraska, and they were wanting him pretty bad. But when him and his mom went up to Stillwater they really liked the small family atmosphere that they have there.
What type of person is Za’Carrius away from football? Can you talk a little bit about his character traits?
Allen: He’s got a smile on his face all the time. He’s a jokester and he likes to play around. He was on the all-A honor roll during the season, and all last year he was on the all-A/B honor roll. He takes care of his academics really well and takes a lot of pride in it.
What will you remember the most about coaching him?
Allen: Just his smile. He’s always having fun. He never took things too seriously. We didn’t have a great senior season (for him) and even after a loss he didn’t pout or whine. He would try to get guys together for the next game, rally the troops and be positive. He’s a competitor now but he was definitely more of a rally-the-troops, let’s get going in the same direction and have fun every day in practice guy.
What else do OSU fans need to know about Za’Carrius?
Allen: They’re going to be happy with him. We always called him the most explosive player in the Northern Hemisphere because he’s explosive. I always tell him about watching the Marcus Dupree (30 on 30 story by ESPN), and I tell him that’s you. When you see Marcus Dupree in high school, that is you. He’s chiseled. He’s a guy that looks like a Greek god. He runs like a deer and hits like a freight train. I expect him to play early (for the Cowboys). I think there is talk about moving him to a strong safety or nickel back, or wherever they’ll play him, but I think he’ll play early.