The Long Awaited Game: Griffen Makes His Mark
Everson Griffen entered USC with huge expectations, he was part of the star-studded recruiting class of 2007. His fellow recruits included Scout.com five-stars: Joe McKnight, Kristofer O'Dowd and Chris Galippo, all ranked #1 at their respective positions. Add to the mix: Marc Tyler, Ronald Johnson, Aaron Corp, Marshall Jones, Martin Coleman and Da'John Harris, more 5-star recruits.
As a senior from Agua Fria Union High School, (Avondale, Arizona), Griffen was an All-American and Scout.com National Player of the year. Much hype accompanied his entrance to USC. And much would be expected from him.
After arriving for fall camp, he climbed the depth chart in a hurry and challenged Kyle Moore for the starting role at defensive end. There was a fierce competition during fall camp, for which both Moore and Griffen could claim the upper hand.
Come the opening game against Idaho, Griffen was named a surprise starter. More surprising, though, he did not impress. In fact, over the next few weeks, Griffen did not overly impress. He did play well and he was learning his position in a hurry.
It wasn't until Saturday night against the Oregon State Beavers that Griffen made a definitive mark. Griffen recorded 3-1/2 sacks and pressured the quarterback all night long (along with his fellow linemen). The Trojan defense recorded an astonishing 10 sacks and would have had 11 sacks on the evening, had Lawrence Jackson not been called for an incidental facemask penalty.
Griffen was in high speed and showed his enthusiasm each time he got to the quarterback. It was quite a display given he is a true freshman – on one series had back-to-back sacks.
Everson Griffen had 3-1/2 sacks in a break-out game against OSU.
On the field after the game, Griffen was animated, he could hardly contain himself. His assessment as to why the Trojans played so well on defense Saturday was because of the previous week's work. He said this was the first week that the defense really came together during practice. True enough, the defense was intense this past week on the practice field. Said Griffen, "It's a big relief I can show everybody what I can do and what USC can do (as a defense)." He continued, "We just had a good week of practice, like I was saying, and we went after the ball."
In the post game briefing, Griffen attributed his great night to ‘running off the ball.' He said, "Basically coach Holt told me to ‘run off the ball' every time and finally I got some sense in my head to run off the ball and started making plays. But, I'm just happy we got the victory and the whole d-line played good."
Pete Carroll praised the play of Griffen saying, "He was blowing by his guy all night. We've been waiting a long time for this type of night from him. I mean this kid is talented and really fast. We will continue to call his number."
Griffen was sure to praise the whole defensive unit, stating, "We just came out as a team and we had a whole good week of practice. The whole week we ran to the ball. I think the coaches expected us to come out like that."
Concluding, Griffen said, "Ten sacks, that's all I can say, the defense, we played good, three points, we played great…we just played great."