Still suffering from the jet lag of a morning move to Chapel Hill, the junior college transfer was on the practice field Saturday evening to the delight of his teammates and coaches.
“He got out there and fielded some punts, and he is about as smooth as I've ever seen, but by the end of the eight-minute drill he was exhausted,” UNC coach John Bunting said immediately following practice.
A UNC policy prohibits new players to speak to the media before their first game, a concept that was explained to him just prior to his first walk through the Kenan Stadium tunnel.
However, teammate Michael Waddell had this to say about his fellow cornerback’s first day on the job.
“He really didn't do too much,” Waddell said. “He was basically just watching to see the tempo and how we practice. He did a couple of things as far as footwork and handwork. He seems pretty good, but I guess he has a lot to learn since he doesn't know the scheme yet. As far as regular DB footwork, he seems all right.”
Bunting said that conditioning will be Green’s biggest challenge as he adjusts to his new surroundings. Enter UNC’s resident drill sergeant Jeff Connors.
The expectations for Green have been incredible, but Bunting said he is not yet close to determining what his role on the team will be.
“Not being around Lionell ever, except watching him on tape and seeing what a great athlete he is, we had no idea what kind of condition he’s in,” Bunting said. “He's been out in Texas doing some lifting, they say, but he has not been doing a lot of Carolina running.”
Green’s head is probably spinning right now after his whirlwind Saturday. It will take some time for the highly touted addition to live up to his billing.
Waddell knows a little bit about high expecations.
“I really can't say because different people react to things different ways, but I wouldn't think it's fair for him,” Waddell said. “When I was being compared and had all the expectations, I hadn't even had one college snap of football, so I don't think it's fair. But I'm not saying he can't.”