Posted: 2:48 pm Monday, August 4th, 2014

Q&A: J.J. Green plans to stand tall in Bulldogs’ secondary 

By Chip Towers

J.J. Green has flourished in his role as a nickelback since switching over from offense. (UGA photo by John Kelley)

J.J. Green has flourished in his role as a nickelback since switching over from offense. (UGA photo by John Kelley)

Q&A WITH J.J. GREEN

ATHENS – J.J. Green is listed at 5-foot-9 on Georgia’s football roster. But so forthright and honest is the sophomore defensive back from Kingsland that he’ll actually correct people on his height.

“More like 5-8,” he says with a big smile.

Green doesn’t see his height – or lack of it – as a liability when it comes to his ability to defend opposing receivers from the “Star” position he currently holds in the Bulldogs’ secondary. In that role, Green or whoever happens to be in that spot often draws the most dynamic and versatile offensive play-makers, such as Clemson’s Sammy Watkins last year.

Green doesn’t believe his height should prevent him from doing that job well.

“Some of the greatest to ever do it, Ty Mathieu, Brandon Boykin, those guys are short,” Green said. “But they never let the height thing be a factor. If I see somebody taller than me I think he’s got something against me. I just want to beat them, every time. That’s just me though. I don’t want people to say there’s a height difference. If you’re a football player, you’re a football player. If you’re going to ball, you’re going to ball.”

Green has been having a ball for the Bulldogs since moving to defense after earning significant playing time as a tailback last season. He was the surprise of spring practice, earning the No. 1 job at the nickelback position.

Green has also been getting work at safety in Georgia’s base-defense package and will have a role on special teams as well.

Green answered a few questions for The AJC following a recent practice. …

Q: To what do you owe your quick rise on the depth chart under defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruit?

A: When you learn the playbook and show Coach he can trust you with the plays he’s calling without messing up – you’re going to mess up some, that’s just being a DB – but when you really get down and know it, then you’ll be great.

Q: What has been your secret to mastering the playbook?

A: “Some guys just got it. You look at the board, he draws up a play, you write it down. Some guys don’t have to write it down; they’ve been through it before. But most times if you study, you’re gonna know it, and when you get on the field you know what you’ve got.”

Q: What is it that Pruitt is looking for in a defensive back?

A: “When live bullets are coming at you, he wants to see how you react. That’s all it is, how are you going to react when somebody’s running full speed? How are you going to react when adversity hits you, like playing against Clemson? How are you going to react when he throws you out there in front of 90,000 fans and you’ve got some of the greatest receivers in college football coming at you, how are you going to react? That’s all it is.”

Q: What is it that you bring to the position?

A: “My competitive nature. Competing. I love competition. That’s why we play football. If you don’t want to compete, don’t play it. That’s all it is. The best guys out there, you’re going to compete against them. They’re going to get you better; you’re going to get them better. That’s how it is in practice. We’ve got the greatest wide receiver corps in college football. So when I’m going against guys like Chris Conley, Michael Bennett, some of them guys for three or four years, that’s going to make me better to go against anybody.”

Q: Have you gained confidence going against Georgia’s receivers?

A: “No doubt. Ever since I moved to DB, I’ve been going against Chris Conley. He’s one of the greatest wide receivers in football, if not the greatest. He’s a freak of nature. So he just makes me better. After playing him, I can just relax and let the game come to me.”

Q: Are you in the competition to return kicks?

A: “I don’t know. Highly classified. … I wouldn’t mind returning, but I also want to block a punt. I haven’t blocked a punt since high school and that comes easy to me. I’d rather have Isaiah back there, to be honest.”

Q: Isaiah McKenzie, the freshman? What have you seen from him?

A: “The guy’s fast and quick. Playing against him, going out there in competition, two-on-two and one-on-one and just watching the guy run, he’s not just a straight-line runner. He can make moves, but he’s also fast and quick at the same time. Y’all will enjoy watching him this year. Y’all will be having him up here (for interviews) real quick. That guy’s gonna make somebody some money someday.”

77 comments
ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

Word is that the players on the OL are getting their butts worked off by Friend. Amazing what a little "Pruitt pressure" will do. IMO, the line will be better in 2014. Bobo admitted to one of the" off the beat" writers a while back that the intended to use the herd of backs he now has to take some pressure off of Mason. I don't know that Mason needs that much help. He will be better than some may think. Full pads start today, with two-a-days Wednesday. Men from the boys time coming quickly.

TaterTot1
TaterTot1

Patrick Allen, OL, Just committed . Go Dawgs !!

greenedefense
greenedefense

You gotta love players like JJ! I also predict Swann will have all SEC numbers this year.

greenedefense
greenedefense

After last years horrible secondary, this will be the secondary that will make us Dawg fans proud!

Dewnsav
Dewnsav

I comfortable with JJ back there...a must for a DB is confidence and a short memory...I have no doubt JJ Green will do what he says he'll do...go dogs

greenedefense
greenedefense

Dang, I knew Isaiah McKenzie was something special after I saw his high school high light reel. Can't wait to see him return kicks. I also can't wait to see that secondary play ball. they are going to be so good that everyone will think Pruitt is the master coach.

te29wr
te29wr

Why do we have to hear this BS from Ohio St people or Urban Crier fans  Remember he quit on UF after Ala made him sick?

Dawgs_On_Top
Dawgs_On_Top

@ThomasBrown You're a dipsh*t and your 'blog' is trash.  Find a new team.  REAL fans don't want to be associated with numb nuts like yourself.

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

@ColumbusDawg 


www.ledger-enquirer.com/.../in-addendum-masons-su...Ledger‑EnquirerLoading...

Jun 18, 2014 - "The big misconception to us is (that) we're gonna be two-back and run it all the time."

TravisBickle2014
TravisBickle2014

@greenedefense so PROUD you dog fans will be yelling SEC SEC SEC during the bowl season again hoping to ride a coat tail of a truly ELITE team.

greenedefense
greenedefense

True Cryer couldn't take the stress of coaching in the top SEC. He had to get out and go to a smaller lesser conference!

Dewnsav
Dewnsav

@te29wr te29...don't let him fool you...he is a tekkie...go dogs

TrueDawg1986
TrueDawg1986

No but just like in the business world, having a high performing peer can elevate the performance and intensity of those around them. So Pruitts boys are BRINGING IT in practice...great to see the OL guys take pride in stepping up to meet that challenge. Great competition at practice ALWAYS translates positively to the field.

Go Dawgs or Go Home!

JimAB
JimAB

@ThomasBrown  Excellent!  We don't need to line up and run it all the time.

Ihateorange
Ihateorange

@TravisBickle2014 @greenedefense  Sorry Travis, you cant use that nickname - "burnt toast" belongs to Bobby Butler, the former CB of the Falcons - he is the original "BTB" (burnt toast Butler)

TrueDawg1986
TrueDawg1986

Thanks for your insight Troll...Dawgs will stomp your "elite" team....bet on it!

TrueDawg1986
TrueDawg1986

Yet another Techie troll....how sad your life must be

FlatTire
FlatTire

@gtcaryd  next thing we will here is the special teams is doing better cause of Pruitt; or has that already been posted?

Ihateorange
Ihateorange

@OH-IO @TravisBickle2014  Hey Meyer - why don't you go recruit some more murders for your team ?  Oh that's right, you already are....  carry on. 

greenedefense
greenedefense

There ya go....Sec Sec Sec! Now your a believer!

TrueDawg1986
TrueDawg1986

@thomasbrown give it a rest or jump on some other team's bandwagon...you appear to have the intelligence of an Awbarner so maybe that would be a good team for you. Only a troll would cite UGAs rushing figures from 2013 as an example of ANYTHING. You may not have noticed but we lost both our #1 and #2 RBs for most of the year...hard to rack up great rushing yards with 2 true freshmen that we never expected to even play.

Real UGA fans thank god that Bobo and CMR were able to get as much total offense last year as we did. Again, if you weren't a TROLL you'd know that our problem last year was really NOT so much on offense as much as it was on Defense.

But hey, just keep on hatin'...

TrueDawg1986
TrueDawg1986

@travisbickle Maybe that's your problem, real men don't have time to be coloring...try getting a JOB troll!