After redshirting his freshman year, Marcus Griffin is much more comfortable on the defensive line. With a full year under his belt, he's feeling much more confident.
After enduring two fall camps and spring, Griffin has been able to notice a difference in his game. "I think it's a lot different. I got a full year to learn the defense and get comfortable with the position. I came in, kind of got thrown into the water, didn't know exactly what position. I had to learn two different positions and get my feet wet but now it's better," he said about his freshman year.
"I wasn't ready. I wasn't ready mentally or physically. I was pretty strong and athletic but it's a different ball game from high school. I'm going up against grown men, I'm not going up against high school kids. It was just kind of like taking last year to get bigger, get stronger and get faster to be comfortable with the defense so when they call my number I'm ready and we can win."
There's just one key for him in his progression as a defensive lineman. "It's all about getting comfortable, getting reps. That's how you get more comfortable," he said. "My decision making. I'm not hesitant in my decisions anymore. I'm going through, I know what to do now. Now it's more about reacting."
As a defensive lineman, analyzing the formation of the offense is critical to reading the play. "You have to pay attention to where the back is set, if it's off to the left or right. Then you have to look at the split of the linemen and it will tell you. Usually if the back is on your side of the tackle then you have to block them, kind of depends on the split of the team and what they run, and where the receivers are set."
Last week, Coach Rodriguez decided to dabble in yoga, and the players seemed to love it. "Yoga was different. It was something I wanted to try and it was a cool idea that was brought up by Coach Rod. It was fun, it was a little hard. I was a little sore, I can't lie. But we had a good instructor and she made it a little easier on us and just learning. I felt the difference in practice the next day for sure. I got home I was a little sore, in the hamstrings, but it was good."
Last Thursday was the first fall practice I was able to attend, but it just so happened to be cancelled after warm ups. It was quite the scene to see all of the guys book it to the locker room. "I was so excited. I was like Coach Rod for president, he's the greatest man I know. It was a great experience for us to go home and be able to relax for a day. The situation we're in is kind of tough because we're in 12 straight games so it was a good thing for us," Griffin explained.
A celebration ensued after the guys found out that coaches cancelled practice, but dancing in the locker room is pretty common for the team. "After a good practice happens we usually celebrate with a little dancing and a little music. But that day everyone was dancing and everyone had a good time."
The conversation led into Rich Rod's dance moves, which have been owning the internet. "Ahhhh Rich Rod, he's a good dancer. He has some go-to moves, he breaks it down in front of us and y'all don't get to see it but you saw in the video, him and Miss Rita. My man was doing the waltz and you don't see that everyday from your coach."
But when I asked Marcus to critique his whip and nae nae..? "Yeah, he needs to work on that," he joked.