Love on the run

PULLMAN - - <b>Jermaine Green</b> was shaking his head "no," with the "cut off" hand signal as I made my way out to the field to interview him. "Was he talking to me?" I asked myself. "Of course not. What athlete doesn't want to be interviewed?" I continued to walk toward him. He soon made it clear whom he was talking to.

"No interviews," he said.

"What a cocky (fill in expletive here)," I thought to myself. "He'd better do this interview, who does he think he is that he can just shun an interview like this ... does he know who I work for?"

But after meeting Green I realized it's just his nature to decline the interview - - however it wasn't out of cockiness. No, Jermaine Green is possibly the most humble guy on that football field.

"That's just how he is," said running backs coach Kelly Skipper as he timed Green running some sprints after practice. "He's the ultimate team player. He never likes to be in the spotlight or anything."

Skipper later re-assured me, Green would do the interview.

Fair or unfair there seems to be a lingering stereotype that athletes who run a 4.4 40 time and rack up 829 rushing yards in their first year of Pac-10 football may be a little brash, but Green? Try bashful. Green was more like your favorite teddy bear brought to life, laughing when embarrassed, showing a kind heart, never giving much thought to his own accomplishments and always wearing an 5-year old's smile on his face.

"It's all about love," said Green as he put his arms together demonstrating the figurative hug he got when he first visited Pullman. "They showed me so much love when I came here. It's like a big family. As long as you have love you can't ask for anything else."

Love is anything but the lingering memory opponents have seen of Green. Watching Green run the ball a time or two leads to the quick realization he's not the project most junior college players are. He has an uncanny ability to see holes and break tackles and when he does break a tackle don't expect to catch up with him.

"Each coach I've had has taught me portions of what I know now," Green said. "But the speed - - I thank God for that. Without his blessing I wouldn't have it."

It was here that Green's facial expressions turned from joking and bashful, to stern and serious.

"He (the Lord) is the number one man in my life," Green said looking me directly in the eyes for the first time. "He can make a lot of things possible."

Green's mental preparation for games begins at about 5 a.m. in the morning. That's when Green wakes to pray for about half an hour. Closer to game time, Green takes time aside with teammate Don "Texas" Jackson to say some more prayers.

"I thank the Lord for the bond that we have," Green said.

If there is one principle of Christianity taught more than any other it is love. And love seems to be what Green is all about. Whether it's for his teammates ... "I love to play with all these guys. We all love each other the same no matter who gets the job done." His fans ... "There's nothing like going out there on Saturday and feeling all that love from the fans, hearing them scream your name ... I sign a lot of autographs. I hope I can be a role model to those kids. To have someone look up to you is what makes me happy." Or his future profession as a social worker ... "I just want to help families. I want to go out and help people with problems and see them through. To know I was there to help people with their problems so they can go and help other people with their problems and so on ... that's what it's all about."

PRACTICE NOTES
Senior defensive lineman Josh Shavies was re-awarded a scholarship after practice today. Shavies was kicked off the team in 2001.

 

Defensive back Don Turner broke his arm. Turner was trying to strip the ball from an offensive player and got it crunched between two players. After the play Turner was left holding his forearm. The players switched fields so Turner could be attended to.

 

Running back Blair Hawkins also went down with a possible knee injury.

 

The offense had a little more pep in it today. Trandon Harvey was a favorite target for Cougar quarterbacks. Harvey had a handful of touchdowns and caught a 20-yard pass from Matt Kegel. Josh Swogger unleashed several bombs, including a nicely executed 50-yard pass to Devard Darling. Chris Hurd also had a qual


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