January 16, 2007

Season-In-Review: The safeties

As we finish up our final breakdown of the 2006 season for the defending national champion Texas Longhorns, we'll next take a look at the safety position. Although Michael Huff had taken his talents to the NFL, there were still some lofty expectations for a group that was led by Michael Griffin.

Grading scale

A - All-America
B - All-Big 12
C - Solid season
D - Disappointing
F - Failure

Michael Griffin (Senior)

Expectations - Griffin was regarded as one of the top defensive backs in the country before the season started and he was expected to contend for the school's second straight Thorpe Award. He was expected to be the leader of the defense on the field and in the locker room, and an all-American type of season was also expected.

Reality - Griffin took some heat because the entire secondary struggled, and he did have some lapses in coverage, but he was still solid over the course of the year. He led the team in tackles by a longshot and trailed only Aaron Ross in interceptions. Griffin earned first-team all conference honors and second-team all-American honors.

Stats - 126 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 4 interceptions, 10 pass break-ups, 2 fumble recoveries, 4 forced fumbles, 2 blocked kicks

High point - Griffin had a lot of games where he was all over the statbook so it's hard to pick just one. We'll go with the big win over OU, a game in which Griffin recorded 11 tackles, forced and recovered a fumble.

Low point - Overall, he played a pretty solid game against Nebraska but he was involved on the big plays that nearly allowed the Huskers to pull the upset.

Overall grade - Griffin wasn't perfect this year, but he did put up solid numbers over the course of the year. The aggressive nature of the Texas safeties contributed to some of the successes of the opponents' passing attacks, but Griffin also was instrumental in the Horns' stout run defense. On our scale, he gets a B+.

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