Vols' Green tackles Severna Park transition Jr. lineman bowled over to play after knee injury

Orange Bowl notebook

January 03, 1998|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

MIAMI -- Regardless of the outcome in last night's Orange Bowl, Ron Green's junior season at Tennessee had a more fulfilling conclusion than his sophomore campaign.

Green, an All-Metro selection at Severna Park who found his way to the Southeastern Conference, has been a regular at defensive tackle for the Volunteers the last three seasons. He didn't fully enjoy last season's Citrus Bowl whipping of Northwestern, as he was rehabilitating a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

"That was no fun," Green said. "You travel with the team, but not being able to practice or play, you get bored pretty quickly."

This was Green's fourth fall in Knoxville, and there are times when he has to pinch himself to make sure it's all real. He was late getting a qualifying score on the standardized tests coming out of high school, and is proud that he'll need less than five years to get his degree in sociology. There's also the fact that SEC schools don't spend much time recruiting in Baltimore's suburbs.

"The largest crowd I played before in high school might have been 2,000, when we played Annapolis," Green said. "We get 106,000 for every game at Tennessee, and if that doesn't get you pumped up, I don't know what will. Every once in a while during a game, I have to stop and look up at all those people."

Green started four games this season, and took 31 tackles into last night's game.

Like father...

Peyton Manning is not the only Orange Bowl participant with NFL bloodlines.

Nebraska's second-leading tackler is middle linebacker Jay Foreman. His father Chuck was a star running back for the Minnesota Vikings in the 1970s. Before that, he played for the University of Miami, and before that, at Frederick High.

The younger Foreman, 6 feet 1 and 235 pounds, was recruited out of Eden Prairie High in Minnesota as a running back, but was moved to linebacker at Nebraska.

"As much as people talk about me and my dad, it's 10 times more for Peyton because he's a quarterback and he's about to be a top-five NFL pick," Foreman said. "I'm just a junior linebacker. If I were a senior running back, wearing my dad's number, I'd be under a lot more scrutiny."

Foreman went into last night with 61 tackles this season, second among the Cornhuskers.

"My dad told me to always pay attention to the running back's eyes, because the first place he glances is usually where the hole is. I use that all the time, and he's right."

On second thought

Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer used to be against a playoff system, but after being shut out of the Bowl Alliance games after the 1995 and '96 seasons, he's changed his mind.

"I always thought the bowl system was the way to go, but having been left out the last two years, I'd much rather have a playoff," Fulmer said. "I don't have any answers, whether 16 teams or however many should get in, but they could come up with a legitimate number."

Fulmer took a 54-10 record into last night's game, the best winning percentage among active coaches with at least five years' experience. "I'm excited about what we've started," said Fulmer, who brought Tennessee its first SEC title since 1990. "If we can come close to what he [Nebraska's Tom Osborne] has done, I'll be happy. The thing is, if I want to get as many wins as him, I'll have to coach until I'm 82."


Manning and Osborne set the tone for the build-up to an Orange Bowl that was free of trash-talking. It was a buyers' market outside Pro Player Stadium, as $80 seats were being offered for $20. Who holds the Orange Bowl record for return yards in a game? Nebraska assistant head coach Frank Solich, who will replace Osborne. Solich was a 155-pound fullback for the Cornhuskers in the mid-1960s.

Pub Date: 1/03/98

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