Fresno State freshman linebacker Justin Green knows that he's going to have to add some weight to play linebacker in college. The benefits of a collegiate strength and conditioning program will certainly aid Green in his cause, but he knows he has some work to do. Green checks in at 6-foot-4 and that type frame will provide strength and conditioning coach Joey Boese with a great foundation moving forward.
For his part, Green had been plugging away during the offseason to prepare for his arrival at Fresno State. He began a regiment similar to what he would experience at Fresno State. Though it was hard for Green to put on the pounds, he was able to keep up his conditioning and add a little weight along the way.
"The coaches sent a schedule out to people, the work room schedule and the weight room program," Green said. "I did that for a while and then I finished it. I've kind of stayed on that routine and modified it with my friends when I went to the gym and stuff. I tried to focus on mainly keeping in conditioning shape and maintaining my weight. I was obviously trying to gain weight but it was difficult for me to do that. I've only gained like five pounds in this offseason, five or six pounds. I'm at 185 right now. So, I was just trying to maintain what I have."
Green doesn't have any expectations headed into his first year. He knows the undersized thing is going to come into play, but he's determined not to let it define him at this time. Green doesn't see any reason to write himself before he's put himself through the grinder. Though he accepts the fact that he may have to redshirt, Green is content to take things as they come right now.
"As of now, I'm just planning on taking it as it comes," Green said. "I'm normally undersized to be able to start. So, I was hoping to get into the program, get the feel of it, and then accelerate. I'll do what I do best once I know what it's going to be like when I'm in there, but you can only speculate from here. That's the last resort, redshirt. If that happens, it happens. That's a compound decision between me and the coaches. If it happens, it happens. "
Fortunately for Green, there is a wealth of talent at the linebacker position. The group might be the deepest and most talented on the entire team, though Coach Norcross' offensive line group is making a strong push. As it stands, there are a number of veteran linebackers to learn from and Green has already identified the guy he'll be shadowing.
" One of the guys, Ejiro, he was my host during recruiting," Green said. "He's the same position I am. He was the leader in stats for sacks in the whole Mountain West. So, when I go into it, he'll be the cat that I'm going to be looking toward for how to better myself, like, ‘what'd you do so I can do it better?'"
As for the future of the linebacking corps, Green couldn't say enough positives.
" Oh, man," Green said. "Especially with me, Michael Lazarus, and the other linebackers that are coming in, I think Fresno State is about to blow up as a linebacker central. In the next four of five years, buy the time we all are seniors, it will be a lot of commotion with our defense. As of now, I really like our defense, the way it's looking. I feel like a strong line and a strong linebacker core will win you games and that's what we've been doing. I feel we're doing good in that area."
Green also isn't set on playing one linebacker position while at Fresno State. Primarily a pass rusher, Green wouldn't mind adding to his skillset and moving around if it helps the team. Green has a team-first mentality and would be grateful for any opportunity to play. There's no position to big or small for a guy like Green; all of them mean potential playing time.
" I'm not opposed to playing different positions," Green said. "I just want to get play time. I don't want to hinder myself by being ignorant and saying, ‘I only want to play this position. I don't want to play this position.' I'm blessed with a scholarship to play football. That's what I'm going to go out there to do, play football wherever they need me. That's what most people would probably say, I think."
A humble outlook from a young man just beginning his journey with the Bulldogs. Now what was that saying about the journey of a thousand miles beginning with a single step?Stay tuned to FSBulldogs.com for more updates on the 2014 Fresno State season. Josh Webb is a Staff Writer for FSBulldogs.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @FightOnTwist.