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August 16, 2012

Mustafa Greene thankful for second chance



NC State fans haven't seen redshirt sophomore running back Mustafa Greene on the field since the 2010 Champs Sports Bowl. The then-freshman scored in the win over West Virginia, and finished the year as the team's leading rusher with 134 carries for 597 yards and four scores; he also hauled in 30 passes for 272 yards and two scores.

Then, the 6-foot, 213-pounder broke his foot in the spring of 2011, and redshirted last fall, before he made a brief return this spring and then was held out from team activity until last week, due to off-the-field issues.

"It feels great having the support of my team and my coaches, and just being able to get that second chance," he said. "I'm so ready to get back into practice. I just want to get behind my team, my coaches and fans, and just get out there and play. I just thank God, thank Coach [O'Brien] and thank my teammates for another opportunity."

At media day on Aug. 11, Greene declared his foot 100 percent healthy, and he's anxious to be able to prove it. He said he still knows the playbook pretty well because that hasn't changed much since he last played, but he's still putting in extra hours in the film room and the weight room, trying to make up for lost time.

"My foot feels good," he said. "It's been a lot of hard work with training. I'm trying to get back in there and get in the flow of things. I've just been working hard trying to get back.

"I'm getting there, I've still got a lot more work to do on the field and off the field, as well. I'm putting in 110 percent on the field, and off the field, as well. The toughest part is just getting back to the level of my teammates. They're at an elite level, and I don't want to be a step behind."

Greene helps fill out the NC State backfield, which relied on starter James Washington and reserve Tony Creecy last fall. The duo combined for 1,751 yards and 11 touchdowns from scrimmage in 2011.

"There's a lot of competition out there, and we are all very skilled," he noted. "We just like to go 110 percent every chance we get to run the ball. It's going to be very competitive out there because we all can do the job.

"I think it's going to work perfect, we're always going to have a threat on the field. It doesn't matter which of us is out there, [quarterback] Mike [Glennon] is going to get it to us and the line is going to block, whoever is out there is going to make it happen.

"I just want to get out there and show them what I can do. If we can all compete and work hard, it should help the team."

It was tough for Greene to watch his team play while recovering from his injury last year, but he said there are some positives to take away from the redshirt year.

"I feel like it was a learning process," he said. "I learned a lot off the field and on the field. Off the field, a lot of things were going on and I made some mistakes, but I'm here to work hard now and never get in that position again.

"I'd say I'm more focused and I feel stronger after working with Coach Edmond, as well. He's a great strength and conditioning coach. I feel like I'm getting more powerful and I have gotten bigger."

The back noted there were some tough times in the past year and a half, but he got through it and is ready to shine on the field once again. He's not focused on his own numbers, but rather helping the team to perform at its best.

"Our goal is to win," Greene said. "I don't really have any personal goals, besides helping the team win.

"Our overall goal is to win the ACC Championship, no matter who is out there at any time. Whenever we go out there, we're going to give it 110 percent."


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