September 15, 2009
Griffin wants to cut down big plays on D
As the only senior starter on the Georgia Tech defense, linebacker Sedric Griffin expects the Yellow Jacket defense to step up the challenge Thursday night in Miami. Griffin said there were good moments in the 30-27 win over Clemson, but the Jackets have to stop giving up big plays or they will not be able to pull out every victory.
"We have to play a lot better and yes we won the game, but we cannot give up that many big plays," Griffin said. "At the end of the day they had 68 plays for 120 yards and six plays for 214 yards. We can't keep allowing that much yardage during the season or we are going to get beat soon."
Looking at the numbers and the way the defense played most of the night, Griffin is encouraged because he sees the makings of a top defense if they can eliminate the few long passing plays.
"If you eliminate the big plays that is just two yards a play and if you do that consistently on defense nobody will beat you," Griffin said. "That is top ten defense, but if you give up those six to eight plays, that does not matter."
Clemson ran 68 offensive plays and the Jackets only made limited substitutions outside of the defensive line Thursday night. Griffin says the defense should have enough stamina to last through a long game playing mainly the starters only.
"Being on the field for a long time is no excuse, we are conditioned," he said. "That is where the mental toughness comes in that Coach Johnson instills in us. You got to be mentally tough, because that happens and you are going to be on the field for 65 to 75 plays, you have to be ready."
Looking ahead to this Thursday's matchup, Griffin expects a challenge from Miami sophomore quarterback Jacory Harris, and their top rushers senior Javarris James and junior Greg Cooper.
"Miami is fast with two great backs and a very poised quarterback, to be that young," he said. "We cannot miss assignments or we will go down there and get beat. They have great speed, but you can negate speed if you line up right and there are ways to minimize speed. They are work-class sprinters, but if you line up right you will negate that."
Griffin and middle linebacker Brad Jefferson have been two of the most consistent players on the defense after struggling last season, but neither are taking any solace because parts of the defense are still struggling.
"We are having a better season, but we are playing as a collective group as a defense, so as a group we have to be better," Griffin said.
Leadership and focus on the field are two of the main areas of concern for the Tech coaching staff through the first two games and Griffin is trying to be one of the players to pick up that leadership mantle.
"We need to pick up the leadership and alignment assignments, he said. "We cannot make the simple mistakes that we could have learned from in spring practice in games now. We have to get better in general."
Griffin expects an exciting game on Thursday and he says the Jackets had better be ready for the challenge and energy of the game.
"Thursday night games always get us fired up and we are going down there and there is a chance that the 'U' is back," Griffin said. "They are going to be fired up down there, so we have to go in with our best effort or it might dangerous and a bad scene for us."
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