August 12, 2012

Insider Report: Greene makes a speedy recovery

Rashad Greene doesn't look like a guy who had his appendix removed in July. He doesn't feel like one either.

"It didn't slow me down any," Greene said of his appendectomy.

Greene, who led the team in receiving yards as a freshman last season, was home visiting his family before reporting to fall camp and was suddenly plagued by stomach pains. He didn't think much of it at first, figuring it was a stomachache he could sleep off.

"I thought nothing of it, just thought it was a stomachache. And little did I know it was my appendix swelling up," Greene said.

After waiting almost a day thinking the pains would go away, the sophomore took his mom's advice and went to the emergency room. Once there the doctors pressed on areas of his stomach and eventually told him he would need an appendectomy.

Greene was surprised by the news, but was glad the timing worked out in his favor and he would have the following week off before needing to report to camp. After missing five games last season with a high ankle sprain, the week off meant Greene wouldn't need to miss more practice while recovering.

"I'm just thankful that it happened then so I wouldn't lose any time," he said.

The recovery only took a week, as the procedure was done laparoscopically, which involves a minimally invasive procedure.

"It's amazing how quick that recovery is. And he was never out of shape, so he got back real quick and he's a hard worker," Jimbo Fisher said on Greene's quick recovery. "We're glad to have him out there."

Fisher noted after last Thursday's practice that Greene doesn't look like someone who just had their appendix removed.

"It was just a blessing that it happened when it happened so that I could get out there and practice on the first day with the rest of my teammates," Greene said.

The special teams unit has begun work on adjusting to the new rules surrounding kickoffs put into effect by the NCAA this offseason.

The rules include kickoffs now starting at the 35-yard line instead of the 30. Touchbacks will now be placed at the 25 rather than the 20 and kickoff coverage teams will only get a 5-yard running start.

Special teams coach Eddie Gran has spent time teaching his players how to follow those rules and how to best ensure success for FSU.

"(You have to) figure if you're gonna kick it deep or if you're not gonna kick it deep," Gran said. "Are you gonna try to get more hang time? Are you gonna try to place it in different places?"

There's no singular answer to those questions, and Gran believes that designing how to work kickoffs will be a game-planning situation and will likely change based on weekly opponents.

"That's part of the game planning deal," Gran said. "If you're playing against Sammy Watkins, do you want to put the ball in his hands? That's what you've got to debate as your kickoff coverage team and the decisions that you make."

In FSU's corner remains kicker Dustin Hopkins, who is one of the most accurate in the country. Hopkins is taking instruction from Gran and Jimbo Fisher as to what to focus on. He is spending time working on distance kicks and getting more hang time.

"We're (working on) redirecting. Trying to just redirect it at maybe a higher trajectory," Hopkins said.

Onside kicks are another subject of rule change. If an onside kick hops just once, it can be caught and the player can then signal for a fair catch. The challenge for Hopkins and kickers across the country will be to kick the ball so that it hops twice. Hopkins says it's not easy to kick a ball with enough control so that it hops twice and goes where you want it. He spends about 25 minutes two days a week working on onside kicks at practice.

"Kickers are gonna have to be more accurate and you're gonna have to have a true hands team where you really gotta field that thing," Gran said. "I think the ball is going to be moving in different ways than you saw before."

Safety was the NCAA's motive for changing these rules, as injuries sustained on onside kicks as well as kickoff coverage were commonplace.

"I think it's a great rule," Gran said about the onside kick change. "We got a guy hurt (before). Scooter Haggins went up against Duke and they crushed him, I just think that was a great rule."

Kevin Haplea is the newest addition to the Florida State squad and the tight end is already standing out to position coach James Coley.

"Kevin is a physical player. He brings that northeast blue-collar attitude to the game," Coley said.

Haplea transferred from Penn State at the end of July and at 6'4 and 252 pounds, the junior adds some size to the roster. He was primarily a blocking tight end at Penn State and his size will help the 'Noles lock down their offensive front.

"Kevin's gonna be good this year, he's a big body. He's gonna do really good blocking, he's catching the ball pretty good right now," fellow tight end Nick O'Leary said.

Haplea has been picking up the playbook and is already adjusting to the new system. Adjusting to new offenses hasn't been a problem for Haplea in the past.

"This is his third offense in three years. He's very smart, he can handle it," Coley said.

In addition to his size, Haplea brings with experience and is a veteran of sorts on an FSU tight end squad that is made up of mostly underclassmen.

"He's been in some big games, so he understands this time period," Coley said. "He knows what this camp is all about. He understands this blitz period, how important that is. And he's a true tight end. We're not taking a guy who's coming in as a receiver."

Coley's unit has already accepted Haplea as one of their own into their tight knit group.

Jimbo Fisher said that 'Noles were interested in Haplea after high school, so when Haplea called looking to transfer, the decision was a no-brainer.

"It was like getting a free agent," Fisher joked about adding Haplea to the roster.

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