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18 August 2006

Sack Full of Motivation

Greg Green will be the first to tell you he didn't have a good year last season. He'll also be the first to tell you he plans to do something about it. When Green, Jacksonville State's senior defensive end from Wedowee, thinks about the 2005 season, one number pounds in his mind louder than all others--Zero. It's the number of sacks he had.

For the first time in as long as he can remember, Green didn't put a quarterback on his back. The Randolph County all-stater was a sackmaster in high school. He had 12 as a senior and three in each of his first two seasons with the Gamecocks. But, last year, there was none. Zip. Nada.

“That's my main drive,” Green said after Thursday's scrimmage, the Gamecocks' fourth hard practice in 36 hours. “I've never, ever let that happen before. “I feel like people have just forgotten my presence. Really, they haven't seen the half. This is my last ride, and I just don't want to have to look back 10 years down the road and say, 'Did I really leave it all out there and give it everything I got?' That's what everything is set up on this year.”

JSU head coach Jack Crowe would be the second to tell you Green didn't have a good year last year, but the first to say he's playing the best he's ever played since arriving on campus. And it's a welcomed sight for the seventh-year head coach, given he went into this camp wondering about depth at linebacker and who would emerge as the starters on the defensive line.

Green has stepped up to assume a leadership role in a group where the other two spots are still somewhat unsettled. Nose guard John Scott had a big scrimmage (three sacks, a forced fumble), but the coaches would like to see him bounce up a little more quickly. The other end spot remains unsettled.

“I think we've got a lot of names and a lot of players, but I don't think we've got a personality up there past Greg,” Crowe said. “I think Greg is a very consistent run player, pass player, and I think we're coming on at nose.”

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