Running back Nick Griffin on LSU, Presidents, aliens, coaching and more

Our weekly question and answer session here on the HailState Beat finds us in the company of sophomore running back Nick Griffin. The big-bodied Griffin spent most of last year recovering from a knee injury, but has returned in 2012 and has seemed to improve with each week.

I know when the season started, Dan Mullen said you were still working on things and getting back to 110 percent. Do you feel like you’ve improved recently?

Yeah, I’ve just got that chip on my shoulder back. I’ve been pushing myself harder. I thought I was pushing myself hard.

Have you been playing better?

I think I have. It’s just a confidence thing. If you’ve got confidence, you can go out there and do anything. If you’re lacking confidence, you’re not gonna perform. That’s probably what I was doing early in the season.

It seems like you’re doing pretty well in pass-blocking. As a third-year guy, is that something you excel in?

That’s one of the biggest parts of being a running back, Coach Knox tells us that all the time. If you can’t block, you can’t play. He stresses that a lot. Running back is not just running the ball. You’ve gotta be able to block, too.

Through the first seven weeks, the running game was great, but you guys have been held under 100 total yards the last two weeks. Have you been able to identify the problem?

It’s little things. Just us hitting things full speed and being on the same page. It’s just small stuff.

You have had some success up the gut. Do you think going against a team like LSU this weekend could be an opportunity for you?

Whatever I can do. Whatever I can do, I’m ready to do it.

Do you see any room to run on LSU’s defensive line?

We think we can. Everybody thinks we can, and it’s all about that confidence. I think we can run the ball.

Has it been frustrating not playing more?

I mean, everybody wants to play more. But I’m just trying to be patient and be ready whenever my name is called. We’ve got a deep rotation. We’ve got one of the best backfields in the country.

Alright, let’s get off of football. What’s the best Will Smith movie?

Best Will Smith movie? It’s gotta be Hancock. Everybody loves Hancock. It’s a superhero movie, and he’s a superhero with actual problems. That’s why I like it. It’s not just all pretty.

Best Will Smith killing aliens movie, Men in Black or Independence Day?

Men in Black. And I like Men in Black two and three, they’re all funny.

If you had to elect a team president, and the whole team had to vote, who would it be?

Probably Johnthan Banks. He represents all of us.

Vice president?

I’d have to go with Tyler Russell. Or maybe Tobias Smith.

What’s your favorite play in football?

It doesn’t even matter. I just like anything that’s downhill. Anything that I’m able to get the ball.

What’s your major?

I’m a kinesiology major. I want to be a coach.

High school, college, NFL?

I think high school. College is a little more stressful, I’d like high school.

What’s your favorite class?

I’m taking one of his classes right now, anything with Glen Young. He teaches a lot of sports classes. Teaching and coaching basketball and football classes. He’s upbeat and fun and it’s not just looking at slides on a board.

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