Chattanooga’s Marquis Green has bounced around a bit through his first two years with the Mocs, but next season, Green will be looking to bounce back.
After leading the team on the ground as a true freshman in 2011, averaging over four yards per carry while racking up 530 yards and three touchdowns, Green saw his rushing numbers plunge in 2012.
Through five weeks, Green totaled just 97 yards on the ground, and 59 of them came in the Mocs’ home opener against lowly Glenville State—a 35-0 victory over the Division II Pioneers. He carried the ball just two times the following week—a home loss to Appalachian State—and didn’t play at all in his team’s win at The Citadel on Sept. 29.
The next week, Green started his transition to receiver, and made an instant impact in the slot. He hauled in a career-high five receptions for 58 yards in UTC’s win at Furman, and notched his first career receiving touchdown the following week against Samford.
Over half (142) of Green’s 268 total yards came through the air in 2012, and it appeared as though the 5-7, 175-pound speedster’s days in the backfield might be behind him.
He’s getting another shot this season, though.
“I want to make sure that he can’t play running back,” said first-year offensive coordinator Jeff Durden. “I think he can. The coaches think he can do some things in the running game, so we’re starting him off there.
“What a great weapon to have. You can start out in 11 personnel then split him out and now you’re in empty. He’s a scat guy, he can really run well and I’m excited about him.”
While Green could ultimately end up out wide, he’s getting a chance to prove he belongs in the backfield this spring, spending much of the first three practices at running back.
“It’s kind of both right now,” Green said. “It’s just a progression. We’ve got new guys and want to make sure everybody’s learning what to do before I start moving around.”
Judging by his performance, he’s proven his coaches right, but don’t be surprised to see him bouncing around again in the future.
“We haven’t even started using stuff where we motion him from the outside and things like that,” Huesman said. “Marquis is just a valuable guy because he can do so many things, whether it’s coming in jet motion to take the ball or from the tailback position, or at wide out catching bubbles and screens.”
One thing is for sure: Green will be getting his fair share of touches next fall.
“He’s not going to be a guy that we hand the ball off to 25 times at tailback, he’s not built that way,” Huesman said of Green’s future role in the offense, but added that he’ll be involved “in a lot of ways.”
Michael Murphy covers UTC athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelNooga.