March 26, 2012
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Even though he led Florida State in catches, yards and touchdown grabs in 2011, Rashad Greene probably didn't get the ball enough as a true freshman.
One week into FSU's spring-practice period and the process has already started to make sure that doesn't happen for the wide receiver's sophomore campaign.
"He's got to get his touches," Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said. "And that's something I think we've got to do a better job identifying. Who touches the ball? You don't touch just because you're at that position. You touch it because you deserve it."
Greene only played in nine of FSU's 13 games as rookie due to injury but still managed 38 catches, 596 yards and seven touchdowns. He capped off the season by catching five passes for 99 yards and touchdown in the 'Noles' 18-14 win over Notre Dame in the Champs Sports Bowl.
More touches -- both through the air and perhaps on the ground -- could see those numbers rise dramatically in 2012. And with increased opportunities comes increased pressure for Greene to produce and avoid a sophomore slump.
"Do I feel like I'm prepared for it?" Greene asked rhetorically. "Yes. And I feel like my teammates helped me be prepared for it with the offseason training -- pushing me and things like that. [Fisher] wanting to get the ball in my hands just makes me feel like more of a leader for the team and that's my main focus regardless is for the team.
"If me getting the ball more is going to help the team win a game, then I'm all in for it. If not getting me the ball -- blocking -- [helps the team win] I'm all for that too."
Greene's willingness and preparedness for his increased role is only rivaled by his strong team-first mentality.
Despite his meteoric rise to stardom as a rookie and the growing hype surrounding his football career, the soft-spoken Greene isn't shy when it comes to sharing credit.
In a 7 1/2-minute interview with reporters last week, the 6-foot, 175-pound pass catcher used the words "team" or "teammates" 24 different times.
"It was great because I helped my team win games and I helped my teammates look better," Green said about his impressive first year. "I wanted to make all of our team feel like they could do what I could as being a leader. Not as a vocal leader, but a visual leader and leading by example and help to try and make everyone better. That was my main focus."
Greene's new focus is transforming his optical leadership skills into the auditory kind -- a transition that is aided by his work ethic both on the field and in the classroom.
"That guy affects you as a leader," Fisher said. "He's a 3.9 (grade-point average) student. He works as hard as anybody out there in the offseason. He can pick up and move and play multiple positions. Phenomenally talented. I could sit here and go on and on about him.
"The guy is just an exceptional, exceptional young man and we're going to use him in a lot of different ways."
Utilizing Greene in a multitude of ways only adds to the playmaking ability of a group of wide receivers that may be the deepest of any position on FSU's football team.
With Greene and Christian Green building off strong freshmen years, Jarred Haggins, Greg Dent, Willie Haulstead, Kenny Shaw and Josh Gehres back for their junior seasons and senior Rodney Smith rounding out a diverse group, the Seminoles could have one of the most potent passing attacks in the nation in 2012.
"It's so talented that we should be unstoppable as a receiving core," Greene said. "Because everyone has the ability to play everywhere ... the [offensive] line is going to do a great job this year with blocking and EJ [Manuel] is getting better. Everybody is getting better. I feel like that's going to help the receiving core."