Column: Camp Journal: DGB has been quiet, but he's about to talk
Highly-touted freshman receiver Dorial Green-Beckham will talk to local media for the first time this summer on Sunday.
Aug. 04, 2012
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On the platforms of the lifts are tripods and on top of the tripods are cameras, and the cameras rise with the platforms like pillars all around him.
There are three lifts stationed. One is on the sidelines of the first field, away from the 60-yard line. Another is beyond the gravel path and away from the end zone. The last is situated away from the second field’s end zone, directly away from the field goal post. If the kick’s good, the ball crashes into the iron lift, but the camera is protected always.
Down below, the Missouri football team has completed three days of summer camp.
Dorial Green-Beckham has been there. And the cameras have caught nothing truly spectacular. He’s turned around on a curl route to have the ball ricochet off his chest. He’s gone deep and jumped for it, given a shove to his defender mid-flight to have the ball get away from him.
There have been onlookers. The coaches are there. Plenty of reporters are there. But the cameras have what matters.
The reporters ask coach Gary Pinkel about Green-Beckham.
By now, the response has been made carbon-copied and he reminds that every freshman, even the most heralded in all the land, must start at the bottom of the depth chart.
“One of the things we’ve got to do in terms of all the first year players is kind of find out who can help us win this year,” Pinkel said. “That's the ultimate question. We’ll go in and watch periods we had, the whole staff, and we’ll talk about every single player at each position.”
For three days now, the cameras have caught what appears to be a shy person, a person who could very well emerge from the Mizzou Athletics Training Complex hooting and hollering like so many of his new teammates. He could rattle off lyrics to hip-hop music, as many of his teammates do, or hop around with swagger in the balls of his big feet.
After everything, after rewriting high school receiving records and being pursued by college football forces in every pocket of the country, he does no such thing. His cleats on the concrete beneath him make the only sound as he walks out of the training complex.
Back in January, he came out of a police-escorted SUV and into this building with fans chanting his initials and flailing blown-up cardboard cutouts of his face on either side of him.
Just as he went into it, he comes out of it. All eyes on him. His dark helmet hides his face. He jogs onto the turf.
The last time he talked to the world was around 9:20 a.m. on Feb. 1.
Pinkel said he wasn’t watching Green-Beckham’s announcement, live-broadcasted by ESPNU inside Hillcrest High School in Springfield, Mo., home to Green-Beckham
“I was hoping someone would scream,” said Pinkel.
Sure enough, there were screams. Green-Beckham flipped over a hat’s flat, gold brim. Offensive Coordinator David Yost leapt out of his recliner chair (as seen in this video from Mizzou Network) and gave high fives to surrounding staff.
“Once he committed and once we talked on the phone I said, You better catch a lot of passes,” Yost said after camp on Friday. “Because we’ve kind of set a high expectation level.”
On Sunday, Green-Beckham will speak again. The athletics department issued a change in policy this year before the start of camp: first-year players would not be made available to media throughout August. The designated day would be Sunday during the times of 3:45-5:15, when the gates to Faurot Field will be opened for the annual Fan Day.
He’s been asked about to many, to Pinkel, to Yost, to fellow receiver T.J. Moe, who kept track of the Green-Beckham-related questions his way during July’s SEC Media Days.
“Btw, the DGB question count finished at 21 yesterday,” Moe posted on his Twitter account.
Even junior defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson has been asked. Has Richardson, once a top-five prospect out of high school, given advice to the young Green-Beckham?
“Only thing I told him to worry about was reporters,” said Richardson, who went to College of the Sequoias in California for two years before enrolling at MU. “…Stay humble, keep your faith and just talk. Camera’s here for you, man.”
On Sunday, Green-Beckham will talk. The team will take its team photo and he will choose whether or not to give the wide smile he showed during his February announcement, the smile Yost has brought up recently.
“I want to see that smile after every game,” he said. “Whatever role he has, however many catches he makes, he knows he’s a part of the team, a part of the family.”
On Sunday, Green-Beckham will talk, but not before he signs autographs for scrambling children. He will talk, but not before he breathes and looks around at the media circus that will consume him.
He will talk, and the cameras will be on him again.