After Slow Start, Razorbacks’ Green Gets Going
Posted: November 4, 2009 at 4:29 a.m.
FAYETTEVILLE Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino said there’s one thing he can count on with Broderick Green. When the running back says something, he’s telling the truth.
So it’s safe to say Green was being honest when he explained why he started the 2009 season so slowly.
“I kept thinking too much,” Green said last week. “I had so many expectations. I was just trying to help the team. I was putting so much pressure on myself. I wasn’t calm.”
The sophomore proved he has settled down during Arkansas’ 63-27 win against Eastern Michigan. The Southern California transfer turned in his bestouting as a Razorback, running for 134 yards and two touchdowns. That included his school-record 99-yard touchdown run.
It was a bright moment in what has been a confi dencebuilding stretch for Green, who was designated as Petrino’s “big back” this season. Green was often knocked down when he touched the ball earlier this year, but the 6-foot-2, 248-pounder is the one making an impression now.
“The thing people didn’t understand about Broderick, when he first got here, he’s still a young player,” quarterback Ryan Mallett said. “From Week 1 until this week, you can really see each week, him improving on getting his pads down and running through people. At the beginning of the year, he wasn’t used to it yet. I don’t know what it was, but the light clicked on and now he’s really playing like a guy like him should as big as he is.”
Green believes the turning point came against Texas A&M, when he put the Razorbacks on the scoreboard with a hard-nosed play. He caught a pass inside the 10-yard line and broke tackles on his way to the end zone.
Since, Green has slowly developed into a solid option. In fact, he earned his first start against Eastern Michigan, replacing injured back Michael Smith.
He enters Saturday’s game against South Carolina leading the Razorbacks in rushing touchdowns (six). He is also second in rushing yards (255) and attempts (55).
“He’s just done a great job at getting better each week in practice,” Petrino said. “It’s exciting for me because he now is very comfortable.”
Said o◊ensive coordinator Paul Petrino: “It’s a matter of getting himself back in good shape and playing a bunch,learning the system and getting reps. Any time you start having a little success then you get your confi dence up.”
Green showed a little bit of everything on his 99-yard touchdown run. He split through a hole at the line of scrimmage, saw fullback John Durmon make a block, then skated by the referee in the middle of the fi eld.
Once out in the open, Green showed some surprising speed to get downfi eld, broke one attempted tackle, then finished the run with the help of another block by receiver Jarius Wright.
Green said the accomplishment hit him Monday.
“I talked to some people and my friends and family,” Green said. “I thought about it and I was like, ‘You can not run further than 99 yards.’”
It was a far cry from the beginning of the season,when gaining just 1 yard was a challenge for the big back.
“It took me a while to catch on to things, but I’ve gotten help from the coaches and players,” Green said. “I feel comfortable now. I can play a lot faster without thinking and it’s kind of letting my game come to me.”
Extra Points: Arkansas running back Michael Smith (hamstring), who practiced Tuesday, said his body is “fresh” and he feels healthy after missing the Eastern Michigan game. ... Arkansas welcomed cornerbacks Ramon Broadway (hamstring) and Andru Stewart (suspension) back to the fi eld Tuesday. Rudell Crim and David Gordon continued to man first-team spots, though. ... South Carolina starting free safety Chris Culliver (shoulder) and defensive end Cli◊Matthews (shoulder) will not play Saturday.
Sports, Pages 9 on 11/04/2009