Marshay Green laughs when he recalls spring training.
It's not a laugh of pulling the wool over someone's eyes or the giggle of having gotten away with something he shouldn't have.
It's a laugh of amazement.
"Looking back on spring, it's unbelievable how little I knew about playing wide receiver," he smiled. "I knew, like, nothing.
"After two or three months of studying film and working out in 7-on-7 and trying to absorb, it's a wonder I could even run a decent route in spring, and I'm not sure that I did."
Green, who had to sit out the first semester of 2005 - due to academic shortcomings - after signing that February, made his grades and enrolled at Ole Miss in January.
When spring training rolled around, he found himself in a peculiar position. Only a couple of Rebel receivers had any experience at all, so the positions were wide open.
Even though he knew "nada," his athleticism caught the coaches' eyes and he was thrust into first-team duty at the H (slot) position.
"I was running around out there like a chicken with my head cut off," he laughed. "I literally knew nothing, but I think my speed and ability, and our lack of depth, kind of left me out there as the only choice."
At the time, Marshay felt clueless.
"At the end of spring, I knew I had to take what I absorbed in spring and build on that a lot before August came around. Basically, I had to learn to be a college wideout," he said. "I have gone over my playbook every day trying to learn the offense and the plays inside and out.
"Wideout is a copletely new position to me. In spring, I didn't know anything. Now, I watch film every day and I feel like a totally different player. I'm 10 times smarter and better. I can run my routes better and catching the ball has become more natural to me because I have learned the prope way to catch with my hands. In spring, my hands were all over the place and I was catching some balls with my body. Now, it's instinctive how to turn my hands and adjust to the ball."
In spring, Marshay was limited to trying to learn only the "H" position. Since then, he has studied both the "H" and the "Z" (split end) positions.
When Marshay reported to Ole Miss in January, he weighed a slight 158 pounds. In the offseason, he put on seven pounds and went through spring training at 165.
His offseason goal in summer was to continue to put on quality weight.
"I'm now at 174 and I feel a lot better about myself. By the time the season rolls around, I want to be about 185," he commented. "I think that is realistic because before I got here I used to eat one meal a day, two on a good day. Now, I eat four to five times a day and I'm putting on some weight."
The extra nine pounds has not affected Marshay's speed or quickness.
"I feel just as fast and quick as I have ever been. In fact, I feel more explosive and faster than before because I'm stronger," he continued. "(S &C) Coach (Aaron) Ausmus and his staff have done a wonderful job with us this spring. We are all in great shape, stronger and faster."
Marshay is not approaching August drills as someone who has a job secured.
"I don't think anything was won in spring at any of the wide receiver slots except maybe Mike Wallace," he assessed. "I'm going into two-a-days feeling I have to earn a spot all over. To do that, I will have to work really hard because there are a lot of guys like me out there - young and raw but with some talent."
Marshay feels he can help the Rebs in the return game and plans on taking over that role in punt returns and in kickoff returns.
"I feel like I have the potential to be the main return guy, but we'll see. In high school, I was pretty successful doing that. I hope I can carry that over to August," he said. "My quickness is my best asset in the return game. I can set players up and then cut the other way to avoid them."
Green prides himself on being fast and quick, but he's not the fastest player on the Rebel team. He ran a 4.4 in the 40, but Wallace ran a 4.25 when tested in July.
"He's faster than me - the fastest player on the team by far, but I think I am quicker," he smiled. "I enjoy that kind of competition within the team, but I'll be the first to admit he's faster than me, for now. He's set a mark for all of us to shoot for. I want to be a 4.25 guy too.
"What is encouraging to me is that Mike shaved time off his 40 while gaining 10-12 pounds. For someone like me, who needs to keep gaining weight, that's encouraging to know you can put on quality weight and actually get faster."
Green is excited about the newcomer wide receivers on campus - he likes the competition.
"I think the competition for playing time is going to be a war. We're teammates, but we'll be competing for playing time," he said. "I intend to win a spot."
Marshay said he has applied the same competitive juices he has to football in the classroom.
"I know what it's like to be left out academically. I won't let that happen again," he ended. "I compete in the classroom every day. It was probably the best thing that has happened to me in terms of not making it immediately. I had some time to grow up and realize what's important. I had time to learn from my past mistakes and get my shiop straight."
Marshay Green turned a lot of heads with his playmaking ability in spring. He did that, admittedly, with little knowledge of what he was doing.
Imagine the possibilities when he does "get it."
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