Recruiting: Michael Griffin Interview-Part 2

As promised, <I>IT</I> is back with the second part of our <B>Michael Griffin</B> interview and we'll pick right up where we left off with Griffin's <B>Limas Sweed</B> breakdown.

IT: Limas Sweed was someone you got a chance to see not only against other corners, but the two of you hooked up as well. Break him down for us.

MG: Limas Sweed's really good, especially on the fade routes. He uses his size to get position on the ball in the red zone and on regular ins and out-patterns. He has great speed, probably better top-end than quickness because he's so tall. He's like a Roy Williams; fast and a long strider. Once he gets going, you're not going to catch him. He also played safety on his 7-on-7 team and he broke really well on the ball. Every time they (Sweed's opposing teams) tried to throw it deep or long against them (Brenham), he would come down with it. When I matched up against him, his QB went to the other side most of the time. They had two receivers that were really good and they went to the other guy (Jeffery Fillmore, 6'1, 180, 4.5), so I did pretty well to keep their QB from throwing it to Sweed's side. But he did catch a couple of passes against me and there wasn't much I could do to stop him. He'll be tough for any corner to guard one-on-one.

IT: Big time props for the analysis. And I'll have a few more questions later on a few other guys, but would like to get a little more in-depth about your role on the defense, specifically the position(s) you played logging the 46 tackles and how much time you actually spent on that side of the ball.

MG: I played all over depending on who we played against. I played a SS/OLB-type, SS/Rover-type, FS, CB and even played the middle of the field as a MLB-type. We just did a lot of different scheming because of our front four guys... I mean, they were really good at pressuring the QB and stopping the run. We faced a lot of passing teams where we'd go with a 4-2-5 look. We'd man-up on three wide receivers and drop two guys back for a 2-deep safety look, sometimes we'd be in zone and I'd cover the weak-side tight end or their slot receiver. Or I'd have to cover the running back coming out of the flat or run support for the weak-side. Sometimes we'd man-up on the other team when they would go with two tight ends. Just a lot of different stuff. If the team we were playing had a big receiver, I got to move to corner for that game and was responsible for locking him down. But I played running back more than anything else because my coach wanted to keep me fresh. I got most of my action in the first two games. After that, my coach wanted to keep me fresh so I didn't play on the defense as much as I could have. But in those first two games, I played both ways and made 22 of my 46 tackles.

IT: 22 tackles in two games? Strong safety in Duane Akina's secondary sounds right up your alley. Has there been any mention of you playing anywhere on the other side of the ball?

MG: Primarily safety, but if things don't work out there, Coach Akina said that they're not against using me as a wide receiver. But safety will be where I start my college career and I should work there for at least a couple of years. I just want to play. It doesn't matter where. I'll play wherever they need me the most.

IT: 46 tackles and no pass break-ups, INTs...?

MG: I had three pass break-ups, a forced fumble, 46 tackles.

IT: In limited duty, not too shabby. That said, what do you need to do to take your game to the next level?

MG: My strength. Need to get stronger.

IT: Fair enough. I'm going to shift gears and I'd like to talk Erik Hardeman with you.

MG: What do you want to know?

IT: Everything.

MG: I've known Erik for a while. We have a friendly rivalry with me being from (Austin) Bowie and him being from Pflugerville. We played against each other our freshman year and they won the game 14-0. Erik also caught a TD pass for seven of their points. Sophomore year, I didn't get to play against Erik because I broke my ankle, but he was running all over our team. He scored like 1-2 TDs.

IT: What kind of running style did he exhibit when you first saw him? Speed? Power?

MG: Oh, he would just try to outrun you. He's pretty fast, so he was tough for our defense to tackle.

IT: Junior year?

MG: Oh, he was really tough. He tried to run you over. He added power to his game and you could tell he was getting good. I never thought he could get that good, but he added power to the speed he already had. But I did better than him in that game and he still doesn't like it. I got the bragging rights.

IT: Throw me the stats.

MG: I had three receptions for 90 yards, 44 yards rushing and two TDs. Erik had like one reception for 20 yards and like 55 yards rushing. I also covered him when he went out for a pass and got in the way so he missed it. He still says today that if he had caught that pass I couldn't have caught him and that he would have scored a TD [laughing].

IT: (These guys actually remember their stats against each other!) Senior year?

MG: We didn't play them. But we played Leander who they (Pflugerville) lost to and so I tell him we would have beat them, but we (Bowie) lost to Westlake and they beat Westlake. So, he thinks they would have beat us [laughing]. We just go back and forth. He said they would have won our district and I tell him we would have won their district. Then Erik will say, ''who's the best running back in the state?'' and ''who's ranked higher at running back between you and me?'' [laughing]. So, I just told him one time, "alright Erik, let me get your autograph and see how much I can get for it." Erik's a funny guy and he's really cool. He loves talking to you and getting onto you, never stops, so you just got to be quiet or he'll stay on you [laughing].

IT: Before the Horns came into the picture, where were you leaning?

MG: I'd have to say TCU and A&M because they were really showing me a lot of interest.

IT: So why Texas?

MG: Well, I went to their camp and I thought I did really good there, so I started thinking I could play there. I showed what I could do and I think I opened the coaches' eyes. I mean, it made sense to me because it's close to home and I got a lot of friends around here (Austin). Plus, my family can come see me play easier at Texas.

IT: You said you went to the A&M and TCU camps. Who stood out the most when you were there?

MG: Billy Pittman.

IT: At the TCU or A&M camp?

MG: He was at the TCU camp.

IT: And he was better than all of the guys you saw at the A&M and TCU camp?

MG: Yes sir.

IT: Was he working out as a wideout?

MG: No sir, he played QB. I saw him play a lot and he's just really good. He was very impressive. He was definitely the best player from either camp.

IT: How did the official visit to Texas go?

MG: It went real well, but I'm from Austin so it wasn't something I had never seen before. Wasn't something really exciting like it was for the other guys. But meeting all of the guys was a lot of fun. That's what I liked the most about it, just hangin' out with all of the guys. And the football team treated us like we were part of the family, part of the team.

IT: Finally, and thanks very much for the interview, are you excited about the DB class?

MG: Yes sir. I see our class as one of the best. Everyone's saying that we should be the No. 1 DB class. Somebody might go down (injury) sometime and we won't have any weaknesses. You look at Miami and their backups are as good as their top guys. That's what we're going to have at Texas.

You know the drill, we have even more on the Austin, Texas standout athlete. Look for it in the next edition of the Inside Texas Inside Scoop.

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