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Friday, August 8, 2008

The Legend of A.J. Green

Yes, A.J. Green has gotten plenty of hype already. But I'm not sure anything that's been said about him before really compares to this...

Toward the end of Mark Richt's media session Friday, a reporter asked him if he was impressed by a catch Green made, which required a bit of a stretch and a straddle of the sideline.

Richt admitted he was impressed, and went on to detail just how much potential Green has.

That then begged the follow-up question: Was there anyone in Richt's past he could compare Green to?

Richt ran through a handful of Georgia players and couldn't think of anyone. He went back through his mental rolodex of former Florida State greats, too. Nothing.

"I'm not saying he's the best one I've had," Richt said, "but there's never been one like him."

Then the name of Green's favorite NFL player was mentioned. Didn't Richt have Randy Moss for a while at Florida State?

Moss had been at FSU, though just for one semester due to various off-field problems.

"It was a three-strike policy," Richt said, "and he came in with two strikes."

Still, Richt smiled at the mere thought of coaching Moss, who later finished his college career at Marshall.

"Every day Randy did something," Richt said. "Every day. You couldn't throw enough bombs to that guy."

Moss had actually been at Florida State during a particularly great year for freshmen receivers, Richt said -- one that even surpasses the current crop at Georgia.

"We had Randy Moss, Peter Warrick, I think we had Laveranues Coles and a guy named Ron Dugans, all freshmen at the same time," Richt said. "Thad Busby was a true freshman quarterback, and he wasn't bad. He could lay it out there."

So Richt implemented a simple strategy for Busby -- just let the receivers go get it. All of this confounded Florida State defensive coordinator Mickey Andrews.

"Mickey, he fired every cornerback we had," Richt said. "We were moving tailbacks to corner, and he couldn't understand how these little freshmen were just destroying his DBs."

Richt said when Moss was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings, he phoned former Florida State quarterback Brad Johnson, who at the time was playing for the Vikings, with the same advice he gave Busby.

"I said, 'drop back, quicken up your drop, plant your foot and throw it high and as far as you can. He'll get it. You just have to lay it out there,' " Richt said.

When Richt was done reminiscing, the conversation about Green came full circle.

When Matt Stafford attempted to send Green deep, he waited and patted the ball twice, assuming Green would need the extra time.

"It didn't get to him," Richt said. "The big boy had to wait for the ball."

Green had outrun Stafford's powerful arm and had to come back for the ball. Richt said Green was disappointed at the missed opportunity, but gave some advice to Stafford afterward.

"I think he came back to the huddle," Richt said, "and just told Stafford, 'Just throw it man, as far as you can.' "

Yup, I think that qualifies as impressive.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read something about this yesterday, but your version of the story is far, far better. I can't wait to see this kid play!