Canes get the “Green” light

Canes get the Green light

Jocelyn Leal, Editor-in-Chief

It may come as a surprise when parents open up the local newspaper and see Jacquez Green’s name. A household name in the Tampa Bay area, Green was a former Buccaneers wide receiver and is now the new head coach of the Manatee High football team.

Coach Jaquez Green has been coaching here since 2019, and was an offensive coordinator before being named head coach in 2021. Before Manatee, Green coached at five other high schools, as either offensive coordinator or wide receiver coach. His feats before that, though are even more remarkable. After graduating high school in 1994 Green received a scholarship to attend the University of Florida from 1994-1998. During this time, the Gators went on to win the 1996 National Championship, and Green was awarded First-Team All-SEC in 1997.

After his time at Florida, Green was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played in the NFL from 1998-2003, which is how he really learned about the Manatee County area. At the end of his professional career, Green had 162 receptions for a total of 2,311 yards as a wide receiver. After playing for the Gators and the Bucs, Green knows a lot about football and is ready to teach others that knowledge.

“After I got through playing, coaching was a way for me to give back and help young men reach their goals, and I’ve been blessed to do a lot of things and reach a lot of goals that I’ve accomplished so right now I want to be able to help young men reach their goals and be able to go to college or do whatever they choose to pursue in life,” said Green.

Green decided to come coach the Hurricanes with a bit persuasion from former head coach Yusef Shakir, since they had coached together for over 10 years. Shakir had an opening for an offensive coordinator, and after checking out the area, Green signed on to fill the role.

After serving on the coaching staff, he does not plan to change much from what the team has previously done. Both he and players have said that the only things that are being altered are a few plays. The end goal is the same: the state championships.

Eyes on the Prize- A successful catch by Jacquez Green is pictured on a football card. Green went on to play at the professional level after college. “I want to be able to help young men reach their goals and be able to go to college or do whatever they choose to pursue in life,” says Green about going on to coach after playing both collegiate and professional football.

“I’m always doing a few tweaks here and there to my liking, changing up a few things defensively and probably changing up a few things offensively just because I don’t run the offense wholesale like I have the past few years, it’s just a few things here and there,” said Coach Green.

Even though he is not changing things up on the field, off the field is a whole other story, with players saying that they are having fun playing football again and learning so much more than just a game.

“How to talk to people, how to stay out of bad situations and just conduct yourself as a good person in society,” said senior Trent Lepriol about some of the life lessons that Green has already taught them.

As for this upcoming season, both Coach Green and his players are excited for what is in store, even if it takes perseverance. Green said it has been hard to get everyone together out on the field between the resurfacing of Covid, the Florida heat, and the uncertainty of hurricane season.

“Eventually, that will subside, and we have to go on with football and get better each game and hopefully make a long playoff run in the end,” said Green.

It is an exciting time for any football player or coach, and Lepriol is ready to get out on the field with Green this season.

“I think we’re going to have a good season; Coach Green is a great coach, he teaches a lot of great stuff outside of football on how to just be men, and he’s a great guy; I couldn’t ask for anything better,” said Lepriol.

Green shares the same sentiment about getting back on the field, and he hopes to make a long playoff run this season.

“I want to make sure that as a football team that we make a long playoff run, and as a team, I want to be a very physical team that can run the ball and play great defense,” stated Green.