ATLANTA, Ga.- We are two days until kickoff at the Peach Bowl, and there is a lot going on up here. At today’s presser we got the defense, including the face of UCF, Shaquem Griffin.
Shaquem Griffin Versus Auburns O-Line:
Monday is a big game for Shaquem Griffin’s draft stock. It’s going to be interesting to see how he matches up against an elite offensive line like Auburns. One thing is for sure, Griffin already has the respect of The Tigers.
“Auburn has a really good O-line, and it’s going to be a really fun experience come Monday. Just to get praise like that, it means a lt. It shows that I’m doing something right,” Shaquem said humbly after being informed Austin Golson called him the best pass rusher he has faced all year.
All the players continued to praise Shaquem when questioned about UCF’s defense.
“Number 18, Shaquem, he does a great job. I feel like they feed off him, his energy and passion,” Auburn wide receiver Ryan Davis commended Shaquem’s leadership.
“They like to shoot gaps and get back in the backfield and wreak havoc. 18, it begins with him; they have other players that do it well, but it begins with him,” standout running back Kerryon Johnson stated.
Dealing with Kerryon Johnson
Auburns junior running back has been their focal point this year. Kerryon Johnson has rushed for over 1300 yards, on 5 yards per carry, adding in 19 total touchdowns. Slowing him down would play a huge role in a UCF victory New Year’s Day.
“He definitely presents a lot of issues, and I have nothing but the most respect for him. The whole scheme is going to present problems for the linebackers, the defensive backs. But in this kind of game, when you have a lot of time to prepare, I think it’s about us,” Coach Chinander said in front of his defensive leader.
“Watching him on film, he can make good cuts and break tackles, so as a defense, you have to really rally to the ball and make sure we support each other,” Shaquem followed up with his usually togetherness, family oriented, response.
“He’s an NFL guy, so I think we need to gang-tackle him, I think it’s going to take effort every play just bringing him down,” AAC hero Tre Neal said.
As most of you know UCF’s defense has struggled in recent games, giving up 1,406 yards in the last two games. Some major changes will need to be made if UCF plans to compete on Monday.
“Memphis was the No. 2 team in the country on offense coming into the football game and USF is a good football team as well. We made some adjustments. They exploited some things in the scheme that we haven’t seen before,” Coach Chinander said, downplaying the poor play of his defense the past couple weeks.
“I don’t know if we adjusted. The last couple games, we made metal errors, and we went back and fixed those,” Jamiyus Pittman relayed Chinander message with confidence.
“You have to make adjustments as the season goes on because you know, offenses kind of copy cat each other. If one team hits you with this or that and it’s successful, the next week you’re probably going to getting it, too,” standout linebacker Pat Jasinski on the adjustments football calls for week to week.
Auburn plays in the big bad SEC, and the size that they are going to bring is worrisome to UCF. It’s unclear if UCF will be able to keep up in the trenches. UCF’s players don’t seem concerned.
“Sizing up somebody I don’t think, is the most important thing. If you can play, you can play. It doesn’t really matter how big you are. It’s what happens on the field and in between the lines,” Pat Jasinski with some inspiring words for anyone in the world who is under sized.
“They put on their pads and pants the same way we do. It’s football. It’s two different types of football, but it’s still football,” Tre Neal said about the differences in the style of play of the two conferences.