Griffin confident in surgically-repaired knee

8TB6_MSU_primary_logoBy Brad Locke
Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Nick Griffin has been through this rodeo before, and he feels much better-equipped to jump back on the horse.

Nearly eight months after tearing the ACL in his right knee, Griffin was running and cutting like normal on Mississippi State’s first day of preseason camp Thursday. This is the second time the junior tailback has suffered a torn ACL, having injured the left one in the spring of 2011.

He said he’s gained confidence in his knee much more quickly during this rehab process.

“It felt a lot better,” Griffin said. “I’ve already done it before, and I’ve seen what I did wrong the first time. Now I know what to do.”

Griffin, who rushed for 223 yards and a touchdown last season, was limited in the spring and the summer. But he said the knee felt “sturdy” Thursday when making cuts.

Starting tailback LaDarius Perkins noticed a difference.

“During the summer he didn’t really run that much with us,” Perkins said, “but today he looked in pretty good shape.”

DBs show out
As with all first practices, there was enough sloppiness to go around Thursday. But the MSU defensive backs had a strong showing, with Love, cornerback Justin Cox and safety Nickoe Whitley all making plays on the ball.

Cox intercepted backup quarterback Dak Prescott during 11-on-11 drills and returned it to the end zone. Cox is a junior college transfer who, along with Love, is expected to ease the loss of NFL Draft picks Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay.

Love admitted that starting preseason camp without those two was “kind of weird at first, but I know I’ve got to lead the guys in the right direction and just do the right things and help other guys if they don’t understand something,” he said.

Numbers game
Several players have changed jersey numbers since the spring, especially in the secondary. Love went from No. 24 to No. 5, which was formerly worn by Whitley, who’s now No. 1.

Corner Cedric Jiles switched from 14 to 13, which was previously worn by Banks.

brad.locke@journalinc.com