Kicker Adam Greene nailed his only field goal attempt in Maryland football’s season-opening win over Howard. At the same time last season, he was watching from the sidelines as Brad Craddock launched kicks through the uprights against Richmond.
Greene wasn’t expected to do much for the Terps in 2015, but that changed when Craddock dislocated a bone in his hand while making a tackle against Wisconsin. The former Lou Groza Award-winner was expected to have the kicking position locked down throughout the season. Most fans probably didn’t know who Greene was. Now he had the task of replacing arguably Maryland’s most popular player.
“Sure, it shocked me at the moment and initially I was all ‘Oh my gosh, I’m gonna be playing,’” Greene said. “But I just fell back on all those times where I said, ‘I put in all the effort, put in all the training necessary to perform at.”
After Craddock, a senior, went down, Greene went out and sunk his first collegiate field goal, 44-yarder. He connected on his two extra point attempts in a losing effort against Wisconsin.
“It was almost just assurance,” Greene said. “Because when you go out for that first field goal, it’s like ‘this is the moment that you put in all those months training for — this one, right here.’”
Craddock’s injury kept him out for the final three games of the season, so just like that, Greene was Maryland’s starting kicker.
He finished the year with three made field goals on five tries. He didn’t get many opportunities, thanks to Maryland’s middling offense, but that was a fine effort in his first cameo of game action.
This summer, Greene had the luxury of preparing with the knowledge that he’d be Maryland’s starting kicker this season. Towson transfer Danny Sutton is Greene’s primary backup, with Jonathan Doerer committed as a member of the 2017 recruiting class.
“This year was different,” Greene said. “I definitely felt a heightened level of training that I needed to perform at. That’s what I really wanted to do this summer was to train not just as if I was starting, but to be training as if I was competing to be the Big Ten kicker of the year.
“Just watching him over the summer, he always did extra stuff, no matter what it is,” Will Likely said. “It can be late night, he’ll be the last person in the building. Everything that he gets, he deserves.”
Durkin offered some praise for him on Tuesday, but also dove into how his staff expects Greene to improve.
“We’d like him to be more consistent on ball placement and hangtime. I thought he hit some really well and some that weren’t,” the coach said “I think he knows he can improve that.”
As the team’s top two kickers, Craddock and Greene became close during Green’s first three years at Maryland. In addition to helping with technique, the veteran was constantly helping Greene prepare to be the starter in case he got hurt.
When Craddock came back for the Terps’ opener against Howard, he repeated the same mantra he’d been telling Greene for years:
“Adam, just go slow and kick the crap out of it.”
That night, the two reminisced while watching football at Greene’s apartment.
Greene came to Maryland a walk-on in 2013. He stayed that way for three years as he waited behind Craddock. Starting kickers are usually on scholarship, but backups at the position might never get there. After the team moved into the dorms on campus this summer, Durkin stopped a meeting to let everyone know that Greene would be put on scholarship. Greene called his parents, and his mom cried.
When Greene trotted out for his first attempt as a scholarship kicker, he split the uprights.
“It was an incredible feeling. Thirty-seven from the right hash, we put it dead-center,” Greene said. “We had a great snap and hold from my snapper Matt Oliveira and holder Caleb Rowe, and that’s what we’ve been working for.”