Marshay Green -

Junior Cornerback Marshay Green was asked by Houston Nutt and the Ole Miss coaching staff to move from wide receiver to the defensive side of the ball last spring. He did not hesitate to make the switch from offense to defense. Why? Read about it inside.

Ole Miss junior Marshay Green was sidelined early in spring training due to a staph infection.

When he returned to "active duty" during the latter stages of spring training, he resumed his spot with the wide receivers, but it was not long before Coach Houston Nutt and Cornerback Coach Chris Vaughn approached Green about a switch to corner.

Looking back, he says he didn't have to think about it long.

"Even though I have been an offensive player my whole career, I trusted Coach Nutt enough - even in that short time in getting to know him - to know he wasn't going to ask me to do anything that wasn't good for me or the team," Marshay said.

Marshay moved to corner the remainder of spring training and quickly put himself in the mix for one of the starting CB slots.

He was able to do that, he said, because his mind was clear and there were no doubts about the switch.

"From the first day they came here, this coaching staff has instilled confidence in us and has gained our confidence in them," he explained. "From Coach Nutt to (Strength & Conditioning) Coach (Don) Decker, they have all done a great job of getting us to be better and to believe in ourselves. They have changed the mindset of the whole team. I know they have changed mine.

"I played at 165 pounds last year. This year, I will be around 180 and I have actually gained speed, strength and quickness. When you see those kinds of results, you understand they know what they are doing and the confidence in them just keeps building. I don't know if I would have moved to cornerback for any other head coach. Because of my faith in Coach Nutt, and out of respect for the success he has had in this league, the decision for me was easy."

Green says the difference for him with the new coaching staff is that "everything counts" and he can see that mentality starting to pay dividends.

"With this staff, you have to be accountable for everything you do. Going to class, working hard, making the right life decisions - it all counts. Coach Nutt talks to us every day about making the right decisions and doing the right things," Green added. "He tells us what separates winners from losers are the little things - doing them consistently and doing them right. He says if we do the little things, the big things will fall in place and I believe that."

Marshay says the team's confidence level is higher than he's ever seen it here.

"We still have room for improvement, but our confidence level is very high right now. We all know these coaches have been in, and won, big games and have won titles. They have been around number one draft picks. Why would we not listen to them and gain confidence?" he asked. "There's just something special about them that makes you trust them and they, in turn, get you to trust yourself.

"We are all in this together now and we have a clear direction. We've always had talent here. Now we have a different mindset, a winning mindset."

Marshay has spent the offseason trying to refine what he learned in spring. He does that two ways.

"I study film a lot," Green stated. "I study our defenses and our assignments. I study offensive formations, wide receivers and quarterbacks trying to pick up tips of what they try to do to defenses and to corners. Of course, I already know a lot about wide receivers, which helps me trying to learn the CB position, but I need to keep studying.

"The other thing I do is work my techniques and assignments in volunteer 7-on-7 workouts. The biggest part of the transition is knowing where to be and I'm learning that with each study session and each rep in 7-on-7. The other thing I'm trying to do is to transfer the energy I play with from offense to defense. When I learn everything I need to know, I'm sure my energy level will be higher."

Marshay said the physicality of defense has not been an issue with him. Going from pursued to pursuer has not been that big a deal.

"I'm more physical than people think," he smiled. "I look small, but I like to hit and I'm a good tackler, I believe. I like to throw my body around and get in the action. And, as I said, I'll be playing 15 pounds heavier this year than I was last year. That gives me confidence too."

There's an added bonus for Marshay as well. The ball has not been completely taken out of his hands.

"I will still battle for the punt return job, so I will have the ball some," his eyes lit up. "That will be fun because every football player on both sides of the ball wants the ball in their hands some."

Marshay will have to battle with several players for one of two starting CB positions. Dustin Mouzon, Cassius Vaughn, Jeremy McGee, Julian Whitehead and newcomers Demareo Marr and Derrick Herman will all be competing for those two spots.

"I like the challenge and the competition," Green closed. "I've always thrived on competing, so this will be nothing new."

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