Sophomore D.J. Green almost expected to be moved from safety to linebacker in the spring. What may have surprised him however was the challenge involved in making the switch.
"In the spring I was just completely lost. It was just like a big transition. I was learning everything, and now starting to get the hang of it. There are still a lot of things I got to catch up on, but for the most part I am getting the hang of it."
How does Green know that he is improving? For one reason: the coaches feedback.
"Cause in the spring all I was getting was yelled at, or coached a lot," Green said. "Now it's not as much yelling."
Green made 18 tackles last year, half of them coming on special teams. He worked hard in the offseason to add to weight, and he credited strength and conditioning coach Todd Rice for helping him add 10 pounds to his 6-foot-4 frame and check in at 220 pounds.
"I got a little stronger in the offseason," Green noted. "I feel like that's made a small difference also. I feel comfortable. Like I said, I am a competitor. I am not going to let anyone knock me around. It's a mind thing with me."
While the added strength help, nothing may have made a bigger difference for Green than having two veteran linebackers in fifth-year senior Audie Cole and redshirt junior Terrell Manning joining him in the linebacker corps.
"Oh my goodness, I don't know where I'd be without them two. They keep me in line. It's good to have those veterans that's been around, already played through it. Both of them are a big help."
Cole played the strongside linebacker position that Green currently occupies for the past two seasons. He gave Green simple advice.
"Listen to him," Green said. "It never fails. Listen to him, it works."
The presence of Cole and Manning, two well-regarded ACC linebackers, is added motivation for Green.
"I want to get things right," Green stated. "I don't want to be the weak link. I want my teammates to be able to count on me. That's my motivation, learn it."