Meriweather Preparing for Calvin Johnson

When the rest of his teammates left for Duke last Friday, it finally hit Brandon Meriweather—he was not going to play that week.

Brandon Meriweather had to serve his one game suspension for taking part in the FIU brawl.

"That is when it really kicked in that I would not be playing this weekend," Meriweather said. "When they left without me, I was heartbroken."

As Meriweather listened to the game on the radio, the senior felt helpless. Not only could he not see what was taking place versus Duke, but he also could have no impact on the game.

As Duke made the late run in the fourth quarter, a concerned Meriweather began text messaging his teammates in Durham, even though they would of course not see the messages until after the game.

"I was texting all of my friends that were in the game," Meriweather said. "I told them to bow it up and stop messing around with Duke. I was trying to run every play in my head that I thought they were running."

"I think they were very tired. I talked to Kenny and Willie, and they were very tired, but at the same time they stepped up and got us a win."

Meriweather was most proud of the play by his good friend Willie Cooper. Cooper, of course, made the game saving interception at the end of the game to secure the UM victory.

"I have always said that we have five great safeties, but we just can't show them all," Meriweather said. "He really does accept his role. He understands that he does not play that much because he has guys in front of him who are really good. But, he does understand that when he does get his chance, he is going to make the most of it."

This week, Meriweather, who recently switched to playing primarily at cornerback, is preparing to go up against the best receiver in the nation in Calvin Johnson.

"I expect to be lined up against him a lot," Meriweather said. "I expect us to have a pretty big game against each other. He is going to bring his best and I am going to bring my best. It is going to be fun."

Johnson is currently leading the ACC in receptions per game (5), receiving yards per game (80) and is fourth in touchdowns (8).

In his most recent game versus Georgia Tech, Johnson was held without a reception. Meriweather believes Johnson's struggles were due to the great amount of pressure Clemson put on quarterback Reggie Ball.

"Calvin is a big guy who goes up and gets the ball," Meriweather said. "You can't have any mistakes against him and no false steps against him. He is an all-around player. He can take over a game. If I was a defensive coordinator, I would not play him one-on-one."

The winner of this week's game will be in control of the Coastal Division in the ACC. Meriweather says the team now needs to have playoff type of mentality in order to be successful the rest of the year.

"Everyone understands this game is a win or go home type of situation," Meriweather said. "It is like a playoff now: if you lose, you go home and if you win, you control your own destiny."

More Meriweather...

On the return of Ryan Moore:
"Of course I am happy to have a veteran receiver back that has been our top guy for the past couple of years. He is going to take a lot of pressure off of Kyle and the offensive line and everybody expects him to play well. I know for a fact that he is hungry and ready to play."

On what type of shape Moore is in:
"I am a firm believer that if you are not playing football, then you can't be in football shape. He could be in great shape, but football shape is different than just running."

On the progression of Sam Shields this week:
"The toughest thing for Sam this week will be reading the defense, because Georgia Tech does a lot of blitzing and moving around to the point where it is hard to understand what they are doing."

David Lake can be reached at

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