Bastrop Daily Enterprise - Bastrop, LA
  • Green making the grade at Ole Miss

  • Four Quarters with Marshay Green

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  • Marshay Green has experienced the pitfalls and the pinnacles of college football during his career at Ole Miss.
    A three-time All-State selection who scored a school record 98 touchdowns as a four-year starter for the Bastrop Rams, Green’s collegiate aspirations were dealt a setback before he set foot in the Ole Miss locker room. Rather than joining his teammates in Oxford, Green remained in Bastrop where he met with Bastrop High English teacher Mitzi Quinn for daily tutoring.
    Upon raising his ACT score to fulfill NCAA Clearinghouse requirements, Green finally reported to Ole Miss in the spring of 2005.
    Two years and a coaching change later, Green was asked to move from wide receiver to help bolster the Rebels’ thin cornerback corps.
    In his second start at cornerback, a pass interference call late in the game helped set up the winning touchdown in a 30-28 loss to Wake Forest.
    Both Green and his team’s fortunes would soon take a turn for the better. Ole Miss went on to hand eventual national champion Florida its only loss and close out the 2008 season with six-game winning streak.
    Green’s watershed game came in the Cotton Bowl as his 65-yard interception return helped springboard Ole Miss to a 47-34 victory over Texas Tech. He also returned a punt 54 yards en route to earning Defensive MVP honors in the nationally-televeised contest.
    Taking advantage of some free time before reporting for fall camp on Aug. 9, Green is in Bastrop visiting his family. Now a senior, Green took time to discuss the upcoming season while attending a Bastrop High practice Monday afternoon.
    BDE: What lessons did you learn from having to sit out your true freshman year?
    Marshay Green: Life is not always going to be easy. Everything’s not going to be fun. Everybody is going to have their highs and lows. The question is can you stay focused on a goal that you set out to accomplish.
    Being ineligible to play as a true freshman was my fault and I paid for it.
    I have to thank Mrs. Quinn because she tutored me every day and stuck with me. First, I have to thank God, then I have to thank Mrs. Quinn, my family and Ole Miss for sticking with me.
    BDE: Ole Miss underwent a coaching change last year. Obviously, the team seems to have adapted pretty well.
    Green: Coach (Houston) Nutt’s a great, great motivator. I think he’s the best coach in the nation. He brought in an excellent staff and really improved the program.
    Even though it did not work out, coach O (former coach Ed Orgeron) brought in some great players and I have to thank him for giving me a chance to play in the SEC.
    Page 2 of 4 - Regardless of who the coach is, the players have to go out and execute.
    BDE: One of coach Nutt’s first moves was shifting you from receiver to cornerback. Do you feel more comfortable at cornerback now?
    Green: Once I got the learning curve down, it was pretty easy. For the first five or six games, I was just out there playing. I didn’t know what I was doing until about the sixth week of the season. Then, I started making plays and picks that I wasn’t making early in the season. I should be much, much better this year. I feel more comfortable playing the position now.
    BDE: You went through some growing pains at cornerback. What did you do to bounce back from the Wake Forest game?
    Green: It was a call that could have gone either way, but they called pass interference on me. That’s something that goes with playing cornerback. You just have to keep playing and be ready for the next play.
    BDE: On a more pleasant note, what was it like to go into the Swamp and upset the No. 1 team in the nation?
    Green: Aw, man! Nobody gave us a chance. All week, the coaches kept telling us we could beat those guys if we played hard.
    No doubt, that’s one of the best games I’ve ever been a part of. Playing against a Heisman winner in Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin, who is now in the NFL, is something I will always remember.
    BDE: What’s it like to run through the tunnel onto an SEC field on Saturday night?
    Green: I can’t even begin to describe it.
    It’s so much different from high school. You have thousands and thousands of people tailgating days before the game. Those people are behind their team 100 percent. It’s crazy.
    BDE: What is the craziest stadium you have played in?
    Green: I don’t want to call them crazy, but playing in Death Valley and the Swamp is tit for tat.
    BDE: As you eluded to, you improved as the season progressed. Tell us about playing in the Cotton Bowl.
    Green: It was a big-time game and 94 to 96 percent of the nation thought Texas Tech was going to beat us. We kind of took that personally.
    Part of the reason nobody gave us a chance was they didn’t think I could hold up against (Michael) Crabtree, the nation’s best receiver. But I played my game and we got the victory.
    Page 3 of 4 - THIRD QUARTER
    BDE: Did being MVP ever cross your mind in the days leading up to the game?
    Green: I didn’t even know they gave an MVP trophy, but I knew I was going to have a big impact on the game.
    BDE: In contrast to your past college seasons, expectations are high at Ole Miss this season (Sporting News has the Rebels No. 5 in its preseason poll). How are ya’ll dealing with the hype?
    Green: The same people who have picked us 5th, 6th, 7th, or whatever, picked us 86th or 87th last year. The best approach is to take it one game at a time and to focus on every team one week at a time.
    The sky is the limit for us, but like coach Nutt tells us every day — we have to live up to the hype.
    I didn’t sign a scholarship to be an average player on an average team. I came here to win a national championship. Now that we have the opportunity, it’s up to me to take full advantage of it.
    BDE: After finishing last season the way you did, were you surprised to be snubbed on the preseason All-SEC team?
    Green: I was surprised, but I plan on being on the All-America team at the end of the season. It just lets me know that I need to work harder and make more plays.
    BDE: Your return prowess gives you an opportunity to make more plays.
    Green: Any time you can get your hands on the ball, you want to make the most of the opportunity. I’m glad the coaches have enough confidence in my ability to give me the chance to make something happen.
    BDE: Tell us about the show ESPNU is planning about the Ole Miss football team.
    Green: It’s a reality show. ESPNU is going to be filming us all the way up to the Memphis game (Sept. 6). They’re going to see how Ole Miss does things every day.
    BDE: You have always come back to Bastrop High to work out and visit with the team. What advice do you give the high school players?
    Green: The advice I give the kids is to put school first. It doesn’t matter how talented of an athlete you are, if you don’t have the grades you aren’t going anywhere.
    Whether it’s football, singing, playing the piano, or baseball — you’re going to need something to fall back on when it’s over with.
    Page 4 of 4 - Something else I tell them is don’t let anybody tell you what you can’t do. It doesn’t matter if you’re tall, short, big or small, go out and work to achieve your goals.
    BDE: How are you doing academically?
    Green: I changed my major from journalism to psychology a while back. I should graduate in December.
    BDE: Tell us about your next ultimate goal.
    Green: I didn’t start playing the game just to play and stop playing once I left high school or once I leave college. I play this game to be the best.
    I’m not going to come out and say maybe or hopefully — my goal is to make it in the NFL and I don’t think anybody should tell me my goal should be any different.

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