VandyNation Interview: Pat Green
[Editor's Note: VandyNation caught up with Vanderbilt senior offensive lineman Pat Green recently, shortly after he had finished one of Majid Noori's renowned training table dinners. Here's what he had to say.]
VandyNation: You are-- how shall I put this delicately?-- one big dude. Talk about being big... were you big as a kid?
Pat: I've always been the biggest guy in my class, from kindergarten on up. My freshman year of high school I was 6-5, 300 pounds. So I'm pretty much used to being this big.
VN: How old were you when you realized you might have what it takes to earn a college scholarship?
Pat: I realized it pretty young. I always pretty much knew I had it in me.
VN: Did you have to do a lot of eating and lifting to get to 340 pounds?
Pat: I pretty much ate what I wanted, but I did work out a lot in high school. There's a lot of big guys out there... there's more and more big guys every year. But not all of them can play ball. It took me a few years here to really be an offensive lineman. It's very rare that you can step in and play at this level in college. I played a little bit as a true freshman.
VN: How did you spend this past summer?
Pat: I just stayed in town and worked out a lot. [Strength Coach] Todd Suttles really helped us out-- he really had a good program set up for us. He's gotten all of us who stayed here this summer in really good shape. I think we've already begun to see that it paid off, even in these first couple of practices.
VN: If I remember right you didn't sign on signing day, but well afterwards. Tell me how you got hooked up with Vanderbilt and the story behind your signing.
Pat: I had made a decision to play at another school, and I wasn't exactly comfortable with it. Vandy came in late, really a couple of days before signing day. I contacted the other schools that I was interested in and asked if we could wait a little bit. They said yes. I came down here for a visit, liked it, and decided to sign on the line.
VN: You graduated last May, right? And your major was in...
VN: Now you and Greg Zolman are going to Owen School of Business in the fall. Talk about your relationship with Greg.
Pat: The summer before our freshman year, we lived together. We get along really well. He listens to a little different music than I do, but aside from that we get along well (grin).
VN: Will it be any different going to grad school? Will you have to do a thesis or anything like that?
Pat: We're going to business school, so it should be a lot of case studies. I'm not really sure, I'll find out in a couple of weeks. It'll definitely be challenging, but it's also a very unique opportunity. I'm excited to take advantage of it. It'll be tough, but then, undergraduate school was tough too.
VN: Back to football, has there been an emphasis on improving the running game this year?
Pat: Our new coach, Coach [Bill] Laveroni came in in the spring, and we worked the running game to no end. We've been working on it a lot just today. The guys have worked on their leg strength this summer. I'm pretty confident you'll see a good improvement.
VN: I know Mike Deal was always very loud and animated in practice... is Coach Laveroni pretty much the same, or different?
Pat: Coach Laveroni gets after us. He's very energetic. He's a good coach-- very energetic, very detail-oriented. He just wants to get the best out of us that he possibly can. [In practice] we're moving all the time... and he's yelling at us all the time.
VN: Talk about the mental aspect of playing offensive line.
Pat: If you can go up to the line of scrimmage knowing exactly what you do in a certain situation, you don't have to worry about it. Not having to worry about it sets you free just to play football-- which is what we all want to do anyway. Some people get caught up-- it happened to me some last year, not having played in a year-- you get caught up and you might hesitate when you should be out there hitting somebody. A lot of that just comes with experience. But this year we're pretty well set in that situation. We've got four guys with a whole bunch of experience. So yes, the mental aspect is absolutely huge.
VN: I understand there's a pretty good battle going on at the left tackle position between Jordan Pettit and Justin Geisinger.
Pat: Jordan and Justin are both really hard workers. Obviously Justin did great in the weightroom this past season. He surpassed some records and got a lot of people talking. But Jordan really works hard too. And I think they're just going to battle it out throughout camp. Right now I believe Geisinger's taking most of the reps with the first team, but Pettit is switching in. They both have different strengths and weaknesses. That's what camp's for, to see who's going to play.
VN: Who among this incoming freshman class has really caught your eye?
Pat: I really don't get an opportunity to see many people besides the other linemen. Nigel Seaman, I worked with him this summer-- he came up early. He's going to need a little time to learn how to play, but he's going to be a good one. Jovan Haye was also here all summer... he's huge. He's going to be a player down the road-- or I don't know, he might be a player this year. I'm not really sure. We're off in our own little corner during practice. We don't get to see too many other people. But I've been told we have a lot of fast guys who have a chance to contribute this year.
VN: You've certainly got the size to play in the NFL... are you thinking about the NFL at all at this point in your career?
Pat: Well, of course I'm thinking about it some, but I'm not depending on it. I'm in one of the top business schools in the nation, so if it doesn't work out, I've got a pretty good fallback plan.
VN: What is one thing fans would be surprised to learn about you?
Pat: I guess for one thing, I'm a skier. People really don't like to think about a guy my size coming down the slopes!
VN: You feel good about this offensive line, and about the offense's ability to put up a lot of points?
Pat: Yes, I do. We made a lot of progress last year, and we had some great momentum at the end of the season, and I think we'll build on that as we go into this year. I think the offense will have the best year since I've been here.