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April 28, 2009
STARKVILLE, Miss. - One name that former Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom kept eluding to last season when he spoke of injuries was tight end Marcus Green.
The converted running back was expected to be an integral part of the Bulldogs' offense last year, but a nagging hip injury kept Green on the shelf for most of the season.
Green only played in the first two games of 2008 but showed fans his big-play ability by hauling in a 50-yard reception against Southeastern Louisiana, his only catch of the season.
Green was flattered every time Croom would refer to him during a press conference, but Green could not help feeling guilty about being injured and not being able to aid his teammates on the field through the last 10 games of the season.
"It make me feel good that [Croom] thought that highly of me, but at the same time I was disappointed," Green said. "I had high expectations for the team and what I was going to try to do to help them. When I got injured I kind of felt like I let them down, but God gave me a second chance to come back now. I've just got to make sure I am fully healthy."
The 6-foot-1, 235-pound rising sophomore made his return to the gridiron this spring at a self-diagnosed 85 percent. He was limited to mostly non-contact work throughout the spring as he continues to recover.
"I was kind of surprised," Green said. "Coming back from the injury that I had, it's just a blessing to be out here. ...
"I can't come back too anxious. I've got to let a couple of things heal up before I can go full speed. But it's just good to be back around the team."
Green, like the rest of his offensive teammates, spent his spring adjusting to the new spread offense brought in by new coach Dan Mullen. Green said he feels this style of offense is best suited for him because he gets to be split out sometimes, creating mismatches.
"I like this offense, spreading the defense out," Green said. "I'm athletic and I've been working on my hands so I can have real good hands. I feel like me with a linebacker is no match."
Green likes what he has seen so far from the Bulldogs' new coach, who was also a former tight end, and wants to follow his example.
"He's a straight-up guy," Green said of Mullen. "All he wants is relentless effort, and that's all I can give him. I've seen that he came from a good team, and I'm trying to get where he is at."