NORMAN — Back home in Kansas, Brannon Green's personal trainer gave him one recurring piece of advice: “Make them know your name.”
Those words have a special meaning these days for Green, a junior tight end at Oklahoma.
Last Saturday, in his OU debut, Green hauled in a crucial 18-yard touchdown reception from Landry Jones that increased the Sooners' lead to 10 and helped finalize a season-opening win at UTEP.
But as Green celebrated his first OU touchdown — and reception, for that matter — with teammates, Fox Sports Network play-by-play announcer Mike Morgan identified, a few seconds late, No. 82 for the television audience.
“Brandon Green!” he said.
That's nothing compared to Green's first encounter with the OU media contingent during fall camp.
Just a few weeks ago, Green walked into the interview room and figured out pretty quickly that no one knew his name, and that no one wanted to ask it.
So for a few rather uncomfortable minutes, Green stood front and center in a huddle of reporters who asked very general questions, hoping an answer would reveal his identity.
“No one really knew who I was,” Green remembered Tuesday with a laugh. “It was an awkward pause. I didn't know if I should say anything ... it was funny.”
Green got a kick out of the whole thing, but also admits using it as motivation.
Projected starter Geneo Grissom's one-game suspension for the UTEP game gave Green an opportunity to carve out a significant role for himself, and he took advantage of it.
Green signed with the Sooners out of Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College, and enrolled at Oklahoma for the spring semester. With James Hanna and Trent Ratterree graduating and Austin Haywood quitting, OU returned no experienced tight ends for the 2012 season.
Green and true freshman Taylor McNamara, who also enrolled early, battled for the position during spring football. Entering April's spring game, Green was listed as the starter. But then Grissom, a defensive end at the time, requested a position change.
After summer and then a few weeks of fall camp, Bob Stoops said Grissom had already risen to the top of the depth chart at his new position. Last week, though, Grissom was suspended for the season opener because of a team rule violation committed in the spring.
Green and McNamara each got lots of playing time Saturday; does that make Green feel more comfortable in the ongoing position battle? No, he said, because all three of them are going to have to play well.
“I was very disappointed he was suspended,” Green said. “Geneo's a great football player, and we need him out there.
“We all have different things that we do great. All three of us are gonna need to play good to help our team.”
Still, Grissom's suspension did afford Green extra opportunities to not only improve on the field, but to establish his name as one to be remembered.
Not that Green isn't forgetful himself, sometimes; after his touchdown catch Saturday, he jumped around and danced to the sideline with teammates before senior captain Trey Millard, who'd been yelling at Green — “Field goal! Field goal!” — to remind him of his extra-point duties, grabbed him by the shoulder pads from behind and pulled him back onto the field.
“It was just kind of a blur, and I completely forgot about the extra point we had to kick,” Green said. “My emotions were so high. But we went out there and made it.”
Anything could happen in the coming weeks with two other talented tight ends on the roster; Green, though, is a mystery man no more.
“That's what I always wanted to do, was to make them know who I am,” Green said.
“It's funny how things change so fast.”