ANNAPOLIS – Navy’s second spring scrimmage took place Saturday morning in miserable conditions and was cut short to account for weather. Clearly, it wasn’t an ideal setting.
Midshipmen defensive coordinator Buddy Green, though, was more than happy simply to be at work.
The veteran assistant attended his first practice of the spring, sitting in the press box at Rip Miller Field and observing his defense from a few rows back. Green missed much of the spring while recovering from complications stemming from mid-March gall bladder surgery.
“It was hard,” Green said of his absence. “It was real hard. But actually I was so sick, it was hard to think about anything else. But I knew it was in good hands because [defensive line coach] Dale [Pehrson] has done a great job and we have a great defensive staff and we were all on the same page. We were ready to roll with spring practice weeks before it was time to start.”
Earlier in the spring, Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said the defensive staff would be in close touch with Green throughout. And indeed, Green received tape on a regular basis from the staff.
Early on, it didn’t matter too much because of Green’s condition.
“I went through a 10-day stratch there where I couldn’t talk to anybody when I was in the hospital,” Green said. “I was lucky to hold my head up. It was tough going for a while.”
Green returned to the office Monday, coming in for half-days and meeting with players and fellow coaches. Green said it was the first time he could recall in his coaching career he ever missed a practice.
“I’m trying to get my strength back and be smart and not overdo it, but I’m just fortunate I was at a place I had some really good doctors and a great hospital at Hopkins,” Green said. “They really diagnosed the complication right off the bat. They did a great job. It’s been a long process, but I think I’m getting better.”
That’s the best news Navy could receive. Green, who enters his 10th year in Annapolis, quickly broke down things he already could see needed improvement before the season begins in September, and seemed eager to start making corrections.
Most importantly, he was invigorated just by being back on the job in the last week.
“It’s like a kid in a candy store being back. [My wife] said she knew I’d turned the corner and was getting better when I was so anxious to get in the office. The interaction with the coaching staff, watching film together and meeting with the players at noon, I was like a little kid. I couldn’t wait.”