May 19, 2009

Griffin and linebackers looking to step up

A lighter and more experienced Sedric Griffin wants to play a bigger role in the 2009 Georgia Tech defense after a somewhat lackluster junior season by his own standards. Griffin has been working hard to help improve a group of linebackers that underperformed in 2008.

"I feel a lot lighter this year," Griffin said. "Last year I was having some weight issues and was around 240 pounds. Right now, I am around 230 to 235 pounds, so I feel a lot lighter. Now I have a chance to run and do what I do best which is running from sideline to sideline."

Seeing safety Morgan Burnett at the top of the tackle list motivated Griffin and the other linebackers during spring camp and that motivation will carry into their summer workouts because the linebackers want to step up this season.

"Our secondary led the team in tackles last year and that is not a good sign," Griffin said. "Either a lot of teams are passing or we are letting running backs get to the third level, the secondary. We have to play a bigger role in order for this team to be successful this year."

Linebackers coach Brian Jean-Mary told his players and reporters that is looked like the linebackers were not even on the field during games last year and that motivated Griffin and the other linebackers to improve in spring camp.

"I feel the linebackers should be your best athletes on the field," Griffin said. "Brad Jefferson and Anthony Barnes are anxious because this is our true time and our first crack at being full time starters. We were over anxious last year and wanted to do too much on the field instead of trusting each other and that caused a lot of mistakes and big gains for opponents.

Griffin feels like he is in sync with Jefferson and that will make a major difference in their overall level of play this season.

"This year we are more comfortable with each other and I and Brad have a feel for each other right now after three years," Griffin said. "We know where the other one will be and what each one of us is going to do on a play. We are very comfortable with each other right now."

Griffin and the other linebackers were not satisfied with their performance last season and they are going to step up the level of intensity in their play for the 2009 season.

"I am going to play hard everyday and are going to hit people everyday," Griffin said. "We are here for the long haul not just the first half of the season. Whether it is 12 games or 14 games we will be there."

Burnett enjoyed leading the team in last season, but he would like to see Griffin lead the resurgence of the linebackers this season.

"Everyday Sed, is going to go out and give it his all every practice," safety Morgan Burnett said. "You try your best to back him up and not let him down. Sedric is the only person I know who gave himself a nickname. He calls himself Sexy Sed, so we call him Sexy Sed.

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