Navy Freshman Slotback Gee Gee Greene Will Make His Collegiate Debut Before a Crowd of More Than 100,000 People
Friday, September 4, 2009
Navy freshman slotback and kick returner Gee Gee Greene is not sure how he's going to respond when he steps into Ohio Stadium and sees the crowd of more than 100,000 people on Saturday morning.
"I've never been in a situation like that, playing in front of a big crowd before," said Greene, whose first name is Alexander. "I really don't know how to feel about it."
Greene is from Columbia, S.C., which has a population (approximately 119,000) that is only slightly more than Ohio Stadium's capacity (102,329). The largest crowd he's played in front of was during the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, when about 7,000 were on hand.
Yet his first collegiate play could be returning a kickoff against the No. 6 team in the country. But Coach Ken Niumatalolo is not worried about Greene, who has been one of the biggest surprises of the fall. In Navy's situational scrimmage last week, he had a couple of nice returns and also caught a touchdown pass.
"We're very, very excited about him," Niumatalolo said. "The future only gets brighter for him because he's a kid that actually listens in the classroom. There's so much going on as a plebe, whether it's the military stuff, and they get overwhelmed. Gee Gee has a way, it seems like he compartmentalizes the military, the school, the football. From everything I've seen, we'd play him in a heartbeat."
Greene (5 feet 8, 180 pounds), who has moved into Navy's rotation at slotback and is listed as sophomore Marcus Curry's backup, has been able to quickly grasp the offense. His high school experience helped him; Richland Northeast High ran Navy's offense during Greene's sophomore year, before switching to Appalachian State's spread offense.
Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel said earlier in the week that Saturday's game could top the Ohio Stadium record of 105,711, set last season against Penn State. "It's going to be a neat atmosphere," Tressel told reporters during his weekly news conference. Ohio State Athletic Director "Gene Smith just told me this morning that there's been as much or more interest in Navy tickets as any game on our schedule."