Q&A WITH FORMER UGA QB DAVID GREENE...
Updated: Aug 6, 2018
David Greene is just an "old school" guy! Not into all the hype and glitz & glamour that comes with being the starting QB for the Georgia Bulldogs, but always focused on the team and the end result! From 2001-2004, David was the winningest college QB in NCAA history with 42 wins! He set UGA passing records and led the Bulldogs back to the prominence its fan base desires.
We got a chance to talk with David about his time at UGA, what Fall camp is like, and the eerie comparison between Fromm/Fields and Greene/Shockley!
*A lot of these kids are going into their 1st camp, What is fall camp like for quarterbacks?
DG: Its a way to get in rhythm, get in sync with teammates, and you have to get ready for the long haul... Mentally! You also have to make sure you are prepared physically. Start preparation on the offense and work to get sharp and be ready to compete every day. what worked best for me was to Just try to be even keel. Just because you have one great practice, you're not Tom Brady and if you have a practice where you throw 3 ints and the papers are writing about it. just try to stay level headed and not get too high or too low.
· We always here about knowing the playbook and how important it is, How big is an actual playbook? How many plays?
DG: Each team is different. Coaches will typically start off with concepts and then build off of that. Coaches try to figure out early in the week how to game plan against a team and try to figure out what your QB is good at and there's just a lot of different pieces. There are well over 1000 different combinations you can put together. For example, You can call out 1 type of blocking protection and run a possibility of 200 different plays. There's times in training camps where we run plays that we would never run during a season. So you just have to be ready. Learning the lingo and studying it day in and day out is important.
· How big were scrimmages in determining starters/contributors?
DG: I think it does. There's always gonna be guys who are proven. You're gonna have guys that your confident are going to starters no matter what. But the one thing UGA is doing is bringing in talented players which will make everyone compete and not have so much distance between 1' and 2's . In previous years, a starter could have a bad scrimmage that it didn't matter because the gap between his back up was so big, he was going to start any ways. Kirby's recruiting is forcing players to step up their game or they're going to be forgotten about.
· When you decide to redshirt, how far into the season was it?
DG: I had no idea when I might play. I'm thankful for Coach Donnan saw something in me and recruited me. But with Quincy carter going into his junior year and Corey Phillips being a proven guy, I thought I would redshirt. Quincy got hurt against Florida and Corey stepped in and played phenomenal. But if Corey got hurt, They would burn my redshirt. But I'm glad they didn't. I wasn't ready.
Well, You don't hear that often?
DG: I wasn't ready to step in and play. It was beneficial for me to sit and watch and learn on what I needed to do when I got in the game and what I needed to work on. I came from a program where we threw it 15 times a game. So I needed to work on my mechanics and my footwork. My 1st year I was just winging it. High school Quarterbacks these days are coming into college much more prepared and understand the position then when I was coming in.
The Bulldogs are familiar with a 2 QB System
GREENE/SHOCKLEY vs. FROMM/FIELDS
· Ok, I’m sure you knew these questions were coming…· After your freshman year, you're supplanted as the starter and then comes in a highly recruited QB. Does this story sound familiar?
· Its easy to compare the situation of Greene/Shockley vs. Fromm/Fields… Outsider looking in, do you see the comparisons?
DG: It is kind of crazy! They key is Shockley and I proved it can work. Its not the most ideal situation individually, but for a team it can be a huge asset. Defenses had to prepare for 2 different styles of play. Think about how many situations when the quarterback gets hurt and the team totally deflates because there's no faith in the backup. We're fortunate at UGA to have talent and depth at that position where you can rotate guys and feel very confident the job is going to get done!
· What’s it like during practices or games, Were you ever looking over your shoulder or to the sidelines after a mistake?
DG: The mindset you have is everything when your in a QB battle. I tried to focus my energy on getting better from where I was yesterday. You can wear yourself out when focusing on what the coaches are thinking. Shockley and I had a good personal relationship so it made it a lot better. It wasn't an easy situation for either of us. But you have to put the team first and all the individual things aside. Your natural tendencies are to be selfish, but for 3 -1/2 years we worked through it. At the end of the day, I won a championship in 2002 and He got one in 2005 so it worked out for the best!
· Enough about the comparisons, I’m sure you hear it all the time, Whats your thoughts on David Greene 2.0… I mean Jake Fromm?
DG: Fromm is a lot more polished than I was at that age. I mean, the game has changed! I never got a shotgun snap until I got to College. Back in the early 2000's the majority of teams were in the I-formation. There weren't QB Guru's, Personal trainers that kids have today. I was most impressed with how Fromm handled himself last year. He's thrown in there and the moment was not too big for him. He showed up and competed at high-level every game. You expect a freshman to have 1 or 2 games wherer they bomb and he never did that. I'm really high on him and I think we can win a lot of games and chmpioships with him under center!
· What would be your advise to him on handling the whispers of the most popular guy on the team (The back up QB)?
DG: Just have to take the mentality hat a lot of the great coaches like Saban and Belichek have.. And that's only worry about the things you can control. There are so many things that are outside of your control. Focus on getting better, leading the team and win game at Georgia. If Justin Fields is that good and that much better, its totally out of his control. You just need to continue being the best Jake Fromm he can be. He did that last year and that got UGA to the national championship... He's only going to get better!
UGA Playing Days:
So you were Coach Richt’s 1st QB and I believe Bobo was your QB coach before transitioning to OC? Whats it like playing for them?
DG: I knew how good those coaches were, So I played with a lot of confidence. Coach Richt showed a lot of confidence in me starting me over a proven guy like Corey Phillips. I'm not sure If I was in his shoes I would of done the same. But I'll always be thankful to him for that.
2002 was an incredible year, The incredible 4th down play against Auburn, You bring UGA its 1st SEC championship since 1982, You win the sugar bowl… What stands out most of that season?
DG: The Team! Just how we gelled and played with so much confidence, especially towards the end of the year. Its toughs to get 70-80 guys rolling in the same direction where everyone puts the team 1st. We started out slow but once we beat Alabama, we just started to roll. Had a slip up in Jacksonville, but had big win after big win. I tell you what I wish there was a playoff format then cause we were playing our best at the end of that season...
Florida still loomed on UGA’s mind during your time… Is that game a little different than the others? Was it possibly in the players head a little bit?
DG: It is a little bit. You just want to win the game so stinking bad. Some times you can try so hard that you get in your own way. I compare it to golf. Some times you press to hard and don't play your game. We didn't just let the cards fall and go out and play ball, but there are times we maybe where in our own heads.
Your senior year, you finally overcome and beat Florida… Pretty sweet huh?
DG: We did! It was a huge game! Thinking of my senior year, that was something I wanted to accomplish. We definitely had that game circled! Everyone talked about being cursed. I remember Leonard Pope having a monster game. ( 3 rec. 90 yards , 2 tds)
Looking back, 42 wins in 4 years (a record at that time) there's got to be a game you wish you had back or could play again?
DG: There's one game in general. Its my senior year against Tennessee. We just had a huge victory against LSU and had all the things lined up for us. The game just had a weird flow to it. We never could get anything going on offense and by the time we started to come back it was too late. Its actually my only regret I have as a player! Just the way we handled that game As a senior and as a leader, you cant allow a team to letdown. It was a good Tennessee team, but one we felt we should of one.
I know its been some time but How did you feel about Coach Richt being let go…
DG: Looking back I think it was best for everybody. Even though we were winning 10 games, the team just felt pretty stale. I think it was tough on Coach Richt at the end as well. I respect and appreciate what Coach Richt did for the university and the type of guys he is, There's not many coaches have the success he had at Georgia
Whats your thoughts 2 years later with Kirby at the helm?
DG: Kirby just brings a new dynamic and an energy to the program. No question hes already one of the top coaches in the country and one of the most respected young coaches. What he was able to do in the 2nd year was unbelievable. There were no letdowns or yo-yo's during the season.Each game the team came out focused and ready to play. He's also winning the recruiting battles which is a lifeline to a program.
It was great catching up with David and hearing about all the stories from his playing days. You can tell the kind of leader he was for the Bulldogs and what a great representative of the university! From the Hobnail boot to the SEC Championship, David provided a lot of memories to the Dawgnation that we still talk about today! David is for sure a DAMN. GOOD. DAWG!!!!