Friday, July 11th, 1997

Larry Green's Return Adds Depth to Defensive Backfield

The news out of Blacksburg yesterday was good: defensive back Larry Green has re-established his academic eligibility and will be returning to the Virginia Tech football team this fall.

The last time we saw Larry Green, he was having a field day in the Sugar Bowl against Texas. While Tech's defensive line wreaked havoc in Texas's offensive backfield, Green took advantage of the chaos to break up four passes. If the poor guy could catch, he would have had 3 or 4 interceptions that night, and at the very least would have been co-MVP with Bryan Still.

Green became an academic casualty shortly thereafter and didn't play at all in the 1996 season, although he was listed in last year's media guide. The Tech coaching staff almost never discussed his status, coyly avoiding the question whenever it came up. For some reason, they rarely just came out and said, "Larry is not academically eligible, but he's trying to work his way back. We'll see." Larry had been gone so long that I had written him off, never expecting to see him return.

In an odd way, I think it does more good to have him now than it would have last year. After graduating Antonio Banks and Torrian Gray to the NFL, Tech is in need of more defensive backfield depth this year (although certainly there are other positions on the team - say, linebacker - where playing experience is in shorter supply than it is at DB).

With Green's return, Tech is now playing a nice hand at defensive back. Although Loren Johnson is a bit more of a big-play corner than Larry Green, Green is a better cover guy from play-to-play and throughout the course of a game. Green is a three-year starter who brings plenty of experience to the cornerback position, and it'll be great to have him back for his final year of eligibility.

Green's only real liability as a DB is his height, or lack thereof. But after watching some soft coverage from the Tech cornerbacks last year, I'll take a short guy who can cover like a blanket any day, if the alternative is nothing.


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