Griffin Happy To Make Impact For OSU

After not seeing the field his first two years in scarlet and gray, Adam Griffin admits he was pretty frustrated. But with a new staff urging him on, Griffin has started to earn playing time, and the son of famed Archie Griffin was the team's special teams player of the week Saturday. He's still looking for more, though.

It almost seems impossible to write a story about Adam Griffin without noting that carrying that last name in the state of Ohio is like being named "Bush" in Texas or "Kennedy" in Massachusetts.

In a state as football-mad as Ohio, being related to two-time Ohio State Heisman Trophy winner Archie Griffin – let alone being his son, as Adam is – carries with it instant name recognition.

Perhaps that's one reason the younger Griffin, recently named Ohio State's special teams player of the week after making a pair of tackles in the season opener against Miami, downplayed the connection while talking with the media this week.

"I don't hear it as much as you guys think I hear it," he said. "I just try to tune it out."

To talk to Griffin's teammates, though, it becomes clear that the sophomore defensive back was being modest.

"Oh no, he loves his last name," safety Christian Bryant said when asked if that really was the case. "He talks about it almost every day. He knows what his dad did, but Arch is a good guy."

Yes, Bryant called him "Arch." When your father is the only two-time winner of one of sport's most prestigious awards and then becomes personally known statewide as the head of the university's gigantic alumni association, that'll happen.

But perhaps his recent play after making his debut Saturday will make people start to find out what teammates have already learned about Griffin – he can play.

"He came in our freshman year and we really didn't know what to expect. We just knew his dad was Archie Griffin," Bryant said. "Arch has made great strides to be a better player. He made a lot of plays this offseason in camp; he probably got like four interceptions in camp. He's been moving forward."

At the very least, the special teams impact is what Ohio State fans hoped for when head coach Jim Tressel offered Griffin a scholarship after his senior season at Columbus DeSales. He was an unrated prospect who remained unsigned after National Signing Day and considered signing up with one of the Division I service academies.

Any discussion of where he'd end up, though, was moot when Tressel's staff extended the offer. Some fans wondered about Ohio State's strategy at the time, not sure how much Griffin would contribute in his career, but that offer was the only validation for his skills the 5-10, 180-pounder needed.

"I feel like I've earned it," he said. "Once he offered me a scholarship, that just validated that I was good enough to play here. Once I got here, I just wanted to go out and prove that."

He didn't get the chance his first two seasons. Griffin redshirted in 2010, watched as Tressel's program fell into turmoil and then didn't see the field a year ago either. It wasn't the easiest thing to handle.

"I didn't come here to just sit around and nothing the whole time," he said. "It was extremely frustrating. I just remember going home at night mad at the world almost like every day after practice."

But the emergence of a new coaching staff led by Urban Meyer presented every player on the squad with a fresh start, and Griffin was determined to make the most of it.

"It was definitely a reset button for me," he said. "New coaches, a new set of eyes just watching you play. They don't have any past thoughts about you. I just came in and tried to make a name."

Of course, Griffin already had a name, but the new coaches soon learned he could be a contributor as well. He was the No. 4 corner through most of camp then withstood a challenge from incoming freshmen Armani Reeves, Najee Murray and Tyvis Powell to stay there.

"They came in and were ballyhooed out of high school," Griffin said. "I just said I'm already here now. I've already proven I can play here, so I need to keep doing what I'm doing and keep on improving. If I keep playing hard, it'll end up taking care of itself."

In addition to his special teams work against the RedHawks – Griffin was on every unit except for the punt team and was on the field for the opening kickoff – he saw time at cornerback in the second half with the second team.

Griffin's size could be a detriment there, but his confidence when it comes to earning more playing time isn't lacking. He credits new corners coach Kerry Coombs for that, and as a result Griffin has set a goal when it comes to his play with the defensive unit going forward.

"It's coming along," he said. "I still have work to do. I'm not starting or anything right now, but one day I plan fully to be a starter."

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