Self-motivated Herd QB Green eager to build on freshman year
HUNTINGTON — Marshall University quarterback Isaiah Green was excited to get back on the football field this week when the Thundering Herd resumed spring practice following a 10-day layoff.
Yet, after Tuesday’s first session back, the look on Green’s face was anything but pleased.
There was a bit of a focused glare as he spoke.
Again, was he happy to be back out on the field? Absolutely.
Was he pleased with the performance? Absolutely not.
Green holds himself and his offensive teammates to a higher standard than a typical second-year player, and he felt as though the execution and the energy wasn’t where it needed to be.
Sure, it was just in shorts (no pads) and only one practice, but when you only get so many in the spring he wants each to be crisp. On that day, the defense outplayed his offense, and he took that personally.
Perhaps that drive and that inner fire - even in light practice situations - is what makes Green such a special player.
“Every day, I just try to battle against myself to always be better than I was the day before,” he said.
Last season Green earned the nod as the starting quarterback from offensive coordinator Tim Cramsey, and in 10 games proceeded to throw for 2,575 yards and 15 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.
Those numbers were good enough to earn Green a spot on the Conference USA All-Freshman Team.
Still, Green knows there is room for improvement in many areas.
Green’s 56 percent completion percentage was indicative of periods of inconsistency when things struggled to get going in the passing game.
There was also difficulty in the scoring zone - inside the opponent’s 25-yard line - when many touchdown opportunities led to field goal attempts that took points off the board.
Those are the aspects Green remembers when he looks back on 2018, and those are what drives him each day in practice.
On Thursday, Green looked more comfortable and decisive, almost as though to make a point to the defense that he remembered what they did Tuesday.
Green also knows that nothing is given to him. If he grows complacent, there is a hungry and able quarterback behind him in Alex Thomson, who is working every day toward his starting chance.
“I have great teammates that push me,” Green said. “Alex helps me every day and I help Alex. We work on small things to make our games better. We never get complacent with anything we do in this sport. This is the game we love.”
Prior to Green, Marshall’s last two starting quarterbacks were players who started from their freshman season.
For both Rakeem Cato and Chase Litton, the second year was a struggle to translate success as freshmen into wins as sophomores.
Cato’s offense in 2012 was one of the strongest nationally, but the team produced just five wins, in large part because of defensive struggles and poorly timed turnovers on offense.
Litton’s sophomore season, 2016, was a struggle when the team won just three games and never really found a rhythm on offense.
All of that works into part of Green’s focus as he gets set for year two.
It isn’t just about getting better himself; it’s about how he can improve to make the team better overall.
“I have a drive within me that motivates me to be the best that I can be for the team and myself,” Green said. “It’s a balance that you have to find in which it’s not selfishness, but you just want to be great to help your team win. I’m fighting every day to be better for my team.”