Greene Gives Defense Backbone

He is a leader on the Rutgers football team. He is on the Preseason Watch List for the Nagurski Trophy, for the nation's top defensive player. He is a consensus Preseason First Team All-Big East selection. He is Rutgers safety Courtney Greene and he is the anchor on the backend of the defense.

Courtney Greene already has 11 tackles and an interception on the season and is already drawing a lot of praise by teammates and coaches.

"Courtney is a great football player and a smart football player," Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano said. "He (Greene), Ron (Girault), and Renkart made some adjustments on Friday night that college kids usually don't make."

Greene's play has drawn a lot of attention, but it is his leadership that defines him.

During drills on Tuesday, Greene was the first player back on the line and ready to go. He also sees fit to try and speak to some of the newcomers and provide the guidance that was given to him when he came to Rutgers.

"I think my knowledge (has improved)," Greene said. "With more practice, focus, and getting after it everyday. As a freshman you have guys like Brian Leonard directing things and I just followed their lead. Now it is my time to be a leader and I just try to step up."

Last season, Greene was a Second Team All-Big East selection with 82 tackles and four interceptions, including three interceptions in a three game span. The New Rochelle, New York product has started every game of his college career. During his freshman year, Greene totaled 116 tackles, which earned him Freshman All-American honors by multiple media outlets.

The practice and focus paid off for Greene who made an important interception during the Navy game last Friday. Rutgers was leading 24-14 and Navy was driving early in the third quarter. With the Midshipmen at the RU 22-yard line, Greene picked off a pass in the end zone and shifted the momentum back in the Knight's favor. Had Navy scored that touchdown, the game might have ended differently. Navy was playing well and beginning to put a scare into the Scarlet Knight faithful.

"That was a great interception in the end zone," RU wide receiver Tiquan Underwood said. "He's a great player and all he does is bring it out everyday and it carries over into the game."

Girault is the other safety for Rutgers and he makes Greene play better. The two are good friends and are on the same wavelength as far as what the other is doing on the football field.

"Its easy to go out there when the crowd is noisy with 50,000 or 60,000 fans and you know what he (Girault) is going to do," Greene said.

Greene's leadership and solid play go hand in hand. The junior has become a big time defensive player because he lives the precepts he talks about.

The transition between high school and college is tough in football. For most good high school teams, there are not a lot of losable games on the schedule. On the collegiate level, any team can lose on a given day.

"To have urgency every time you come out to practice, just be the best that you can be," Greene said. "I think coming out of high school you don't have the urgency like you should have in college. When they get here, they understand they need it and it is the first thing we preach to them."


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