Ex-Nebraska QB Cody Green gets new start at Tulsa
Cody Green will always cherish the fact that he accomplished something at Nebraska that got him mentioned in the same breath as national championship winner Tommie Frazier.
Just don't count on him spending too much time looking back.
After an auspicious start, the quarterback's time with the Cornhuskers didn't end the way he had hoped and he wound up losing the starting job and transferring to Tulsa before sitting out last season. He is about to get back in the game as the Golden Hurricane's starting quarterback, with his debut coming Sept. 1 at Iowa State.
Green has led a team to victory in Ames before, back when he was starting for the Cornhuskers, but that's all in the past now.
''I try to live my life with no regrets and always try to find the positives in stuff. And when you do find the positives in things, it makes your experience that much better,'' Green said. ''I don't really look at that, `Oh hey, everybody thinks that I got screwed or whatever.' I'm not looking at that. I don't care about that.''
Green won a spring competition with backup Kalen Henderson for the chance to replace G.J. Kinne as the leader of a potent Tulsa offense that has ranked among the top five in the nation three of the past five years. When Green last played, he was getting occasional chances to replace the injured Taylor Martinez during Nebraska's run to the 2010 Big 12 North title.
He was the starter in the regular-season finale against Colorado, winning the game that clinched the division title for the Huskers. Martinez returned to play in the Big 12 title game loss to Oklahoma.
In two years at Nebraska, Green played in 18 games and started four times - including becoming the first freshman since Frazier in 1992, 17 years earlier, to be the starting QB.
''What I do care about is I got the experience that I got. I was able to go to a Big 12 school at the time and compete as a freshman,'' Green said. ''I got to be the first starter since Tommie Frazier. I was in a sentence with Tommie Frazier, who won national championships and could have won a Heisman. I was able to be in that sentence. Who else can say that? Nobody.''
Now it's time to create a new story.
Green said his biggest takeaway from Nebraska is being able to move on.
''I'm not looking for the bells and the whistles and the parties and the girls. That's good for a freshman,'' Green said. ''When I transferred, my whole process was, `Hey, this is a business deal.' ... Our facilities at Nebraska were beyond anything that anybody could ever dream of. That's all nice and wonderful, but I'm not here for facilities. I'm here for learning football, playing football and trying to get to the next level. Trying to get the guys that I'm playing with to the next level.''
Green loves the supporting cast that's around him, including the two-headed rushing attack of Trey Watts and Ja'Terian Douglas (1,764 combined yards rushing last season) and pass-catching H-back Willie Carter (868 receiving yards).
''I've died and gone to heaven,'' Green said. ''That's exactly what happened. I died and went to heaven with these guys.''
Plus, he feels right at home.
''Oklahoma is just like Texas basically, just a little bit hotter,'' said Green, who's from Dayton, Texas, not far from Houston. ''I can do the exact same things here. I hunt and I fish. That's what I do. That's what all of the people around here do.''
Offensive coordinator Greg Peterson said Green was such a natural leader that even when Kinne was the entrenched starter as a senior, some players gravitated toward the redshirting Green.
''He just comes in every day with an attitude that he wants to work and get better, and I think his attitude that he brings to practice every day, everyone feeds off of it and everyone gets pushed,'' said Watts, the son of former Oklahoma quarterback J.C. Watts.
Green said he put his all into running the scout team a year ago, creating a highlight reel that he claims would rival even the first-team offense. He studied defenses more than ever before and built relationships with players who'll join him as offensive contributors this season.
''If they can buy into me, I've already bought into them,'' Green said. ''When that happens, hopefully I can get these guys to follow me to hell and back and come out unscathed.''
And by unscathed, he means just that. He and his Golden Hurricane teammates dare to dream that they could become the next BCS busters, going a few steps further than the 2008 team that started out 8-0 before losing at Arkansas.
Tulsa plays at Arkansas in Week 9 again this season.
''That would be one thing that I didn't even get to do whenever I was at Nebraska. Of course, that's a huge thing for me, trying to get to the big game,'' Green said. ''But with that, it's only going on Game 1. You've got to win Game 1.''