McGriff caught three passes for 48 yards in Saturday’s victory over Charlotte, shaking some defenders, speeding away from others.
What did FAU coach Lane Kiffin take away from McGriff’s performance?
“That he’s out of shape,” Kiffin said on Monday. “It’s good that he’s in their doing extra conditioning. Made some plays, but everybody’s got to be ready.”
All three of McGriff’s catches game on the same third-quarter drive.
He caught Jason Driskel’s first pass of the second half, taking it 23 yards. Three plays later the duo hooked up again, this time for 17 yards. Two plays after that McGriff caught an eight-yard pass, taking it to the Charlotte 1. Kiffin thought a better-conditioned McGriff would have powered into the end zone.
“Hopefully he’s getting in better shape so that when it happens again, that he’s in a fast-paced drive, then he can finish,” Kiffin said. “He should have scored on that last play.”
That touchdown drive, the Owls’ final scoring drive of the game, covered 69 yards on eight plays, taking only 2:36 off the clock.
Kiffin noticed McGriff wearing down prior to his final catch.
“I think you could see it on the play before that,” Kiffin said. “You could just tell. He had the long catch on the naked and just kind of from there was not finishing, not going real fast.”
Listed, perhaps generously svelte, at 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, McGriff said he actually arrived at FAU in the summer weighing in the neighborhood of 240 pounds.
With his current composition, McGriff looks the part of a pass-catching tight end. He’s a big target with strong hands, but also possesses deceptive speed and elusiveness – two traits not commonly associated with the position.
A sophomore in his first year at FAU, McGriff began the season as a wide receiver but moved to tight end when receivers Kamrin Solomon and Kalib Woods returned from suspensions, creating a glut of wide outs.
McGriff had only four catches on the season heading into Saturday’s game, with his lone touchdown coming the previous week against FIU.
An ankle injury to starting tight end Harrison Bryant, along with a lingering undisclosed injury to John Raine elevated McGriff from fourth string to the two deep, behind Dustin Bowens, for the Charlotte game.
He may well remain there for Saturday’s Conference USA championship game against North Texas. Kiffin didn’t offer any specifics regarding Bryant’s – or anyone else’s – availability for Saturday, falling back on the vague hope-he’s-available coach speak.
“That’s why everybody’s got to be ready, whether you think you are going to play one play or 100 plays – you never know,” Kiffin said.