August 6, 2012

Griffey's work ethic stands out early





Talent and athleticism will only get you so far. Hard work, above all else, appears to be the sure-fire way to catch the Arizona coaching staff's eye in their first fall camp in Tucson.

And freshman receiver Trey Griffey has done that in the first three days, and even some of the upperclassmen on the team have taken notice.

It started at Pac-12 Conference Media Day at the end of July when quarterback Matt Scott told GOAZCATS.com that the 6-2, 190-pound receiver was one of the more impressive workers during players-only, voluntary workouts this summer.

And that praise has carried into the first week of camp. Senior wideout Dan Buckner added to Griffey's positive reviews.

"Trey works," Buckner said.

And part of that may be attributed to the pedigree and background. It's obvious by now that, yes, he is the son of baseball legend Ken Griffey Jr. But Buckner said it's not about the younger Griffey's last name or who his father is.

"He doesn't talk about his dad. Trey is Trey - he's not his dad," Buckner said. "He's his own person, he lives his own life. He came here to play football and make his own legacy, and he's been working since he got here."

But Buckner did agree that it does not hurt learning a few tricks and conditioning tips from a gifted former baseball player who spent 22 years in Major League Baseball.

"When you learn from your dad, he's going to teach you the ways," Buckner said. "He played a long career. In baseball they play long and teach you how to take care of your body."

Wildcats first-year head coach Rich Rodriguez said Griffey, like all the other freshmen, is still trying to take everything in and "catch their breath."

"Trey's learning," Rodriguez said. "Trey's a talented guy, so that's one of the reasons we've got to slow things down a little bit so those freshmen can kind of catch their breath."

As far as Griffey's background is concerned, Rodriguez said it could come in handy when it comes to dealing with crowds, fans and how he carries himself off the field, but that's about as far as it goes.

"I think they have a better understanding of what playing at this level is about," Rodriguez said, in general, about players with parents who once played professional sports.

"You usually find the biggest difference from coaches' kids. Coaches kids have a greater understanding of what everything is - whether it's a high school coach or college coach - because they live it. It's like my son; I would hope he understands what being a Division I athlete is about because he's seen it every day."

As far as the on-field skills, receivers coach Tony Dews likes what he sees so far out of Griffey.

"Runs good routes, has some good feet," Dews said.

The only problem appears to be that the position is filled with some capable bodies with experience such as Buckner, Terrence Miller, Austin Hill, Tyler Slavin and Richard Morrison. In addition, smaller receivers Johnny Jackson and Garic Wharton also have impressed dating back to the spring, and fellow freshmen Jarrell Bennett and Clive Georges have received some early positive feedback.

But Griffey, who is lining up as an outside receiver, has caught the most attention from the player who decides which receiver gets the ball thrown his way.

"He's ready to play," Scott said. "He's probably going to get some playing time this season."

Tracy McDannaldTracy McDannald
GOAZCATS.com Senior Editor

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