Camp Journal: DGB introduced to media, fans

For the first time this summer, the former No. 1 recruit spoke of his Missouri experience so far.
Freshman wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham sits for team autograph sessions during Fan Day at Faurot Field Sunday. Before the event started, Green-Beckham spoke to media for the first time since arriving in Columbia.

The question Dorial Green-Beckham struggled with the most, the only question he really showed any sign of struggle with:

What’s the best part about being a rookie?

Green-Beckham had to think. The counterpart was easy. The worst part about being a rookie was “being caught off guard,” he said, explaining he, as a rookie, couldn’t possibly know everything the veterans know.

Green-Beckham paused for a while.

The freshman receiver, who comes to Missouri as 2012’s most sought-after high school prospect, was made available to the media for the first time this summer Sunday afternoon, the team having completed three days of fall practice.

He stood surrounded by reporters on Faurot Field before the stadium gates would open and fans would rush down 84 steps from the concourse to the field to be first in line for his autograph.

Fans had lined the gates long before the event’s 3:45 p.m. start time.

“They’re real excited to see me play this year,” Green-Beckham said. “I get it a lot almost every day, on Twitter, on Facebook. They’re just really pumped to see what we do as Missouri Tigers this year.”

Fans reached the field and located Green-Beckham under the second-to-left tent on the field’s sideline, Green-Beckham sitting between senior receiver T.J. Moe and senior left tackle Elvis Fisher.

They formed a line that eventually snaked all the way up the 15-yard line back to the visiting stands, and then curve around like an "L". Latecomers reached the field and found a staff member waiting to show them the Green-Beckham line.

Fans waited under the heat for three letters and two digits from his large hand: DGB15.

“Around senior year, I was in class one day writing my name and I shorted it,” Green-Beckham said. “I thought, ‘I might just write it like this now instead.’ … It’s easier than writing my whole name.”

Green-Beckham had been prepared all along — it's almost as if he shortened his autograph so the forthcoming fan lines would move more efficiently.

As for the questions, he was ready for those, too.

He was asked about how he felt working with the third and fourth-team offenses. And college football’s most heralded freshman said he was fine starting out at the bottom of the depth chart, where coach Gary Pinkel has said all freshmen must play their way up.

“I’m all right with it,” Green-Beckham said. “It’s a lot more studying for us (freshmen). Once we get into the playbook a whole lot and learn what we need to do … we need to learn before we can get out there and play those spots.”

Learning, he said, was his focus.

“Each day in practice is a bigger improvement," he said. “Each day I learn something different so the next day I got it down, so I’m running it the correct way it should be ran.”

He looked reporters in the eyes when he spoke and gave them thorough answers. He seemed honest when he said talking with media didn’t bother him.

On Wednesday, the first day of practice, he walked out of the Mizzou Athletics Training Complex with his helmet on through a horde of media.

“When I first came out and saw that, I was like, ‘Already? Really?’” he said. “I didn't even make it to the field yet. I hadn’t even stepped on the grass yet. I just go through it, I guess. I just went on the field and practiced, I guess.”

He was asked what he liked about Columbia.

“I enjoy the people down here,” he said. “Everybody here’s like family. They’re just going to look after everybody. The football guys, no matter where we are, we’re going to look after each other.”

He was asked about the campus.

“Loving it,” he said. “The atmosphere, the people. Just enjoying it while I can.”

And when asked about the best part of being a rookie, a response came eventually.

“I mean, I guess just being in this freshman group,” he said. “Our freshmen group is a good group. I like all them guys. All the upperclassmen like us — they don't pick on us or anything. We do everything the right way. We don't have to be asked twice to do it.”

The freshman group is the one he’s been living with in the dorms all summer, the group with which he took a required learning and motivation class, the group he went to the dining halls with for lunch and dinner.

He wasn’t placed with them under the designated tent for first-year players at Fan Day. But, as he has during all of camp, he will walk onto the practice field with them and all of his teammates for stretching.

Strength and conditioning coach Pat Ivey will pace around them and will call out, "Where are you?" in a deep, drill-sergeant-like tone.

The team will give a combined response, and though Green-Beckham’s voice won’t be heard, it is likely there.

“Right here. Right now.”

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