One of the big defensive plays during Cal’s 31-24 win at Northwestern last Saturday was the first career interception by safety Griffin Piatt, who made his collegiate debut in that game. CalBears.com had a chance to sit down with Piatt following Wednesday’s practice and reflect on that play, the win over Northwestern and some of his personal hobbies off the field.
CalBears.com: How did the play where you got your interception develop?
Griffin Piatt: That was my third play in, so I was a little anxious. I was covering No. 2 on pretty much anything vertical. He made a corner cut and I was a little late to break on it, but the quarterback lofted it up there and I had time to get under it and was able to make the play. It was definitely a good feeling and gave me confidence for the rest of the game. It happened pretty fast but I was excited.
CB: Were you nervous going into your first collegiate game?
GP: Yeah, that was my first college football game, so I definitely had some butterflies in my stomach. Once I got through the first kickoff cover, I just kind of sunk into it. Just like in high school, you tune out the crowd and everything else going on around you.
CB: Looking back now a few days later, how does it feel to know that you made a big game-changing play in that game?
GP: I think I can build on it. I can’t be complacent just because I got an interception. I have to keep getting better. Even on that play, I could have read the route better. I just want to build on it and become a better player overall.
CB: What was it like being in the locker room after the game?
GP: It was amazing. This team has come so far, and to get that first win against a Big Ten opponent is huge. There’s no better feeling than celebrating in the locker room with your teammates.
CB: Was it tough transitioning from wide receiver to safety?
GP: We have a ton of depth at wide receiver, so when I tore my ACL the coaches felt that safety would be a good place for me to work my way up when I came back. I switched during last season, and once I got back from the injury, I started getting some reps. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. We had new defensive coaches, so I was able to start fresh with them and learn the system from the beginning. I played safety in high school too. You have to be really in the playbook at all times, and you have to be ready to react to any formation. You have to think quickly. When you’re a receiver, you know what you’re going to do before the snap. I’d say that’s the biggest difference.
CB: Your grandfather played football at Cal. How much of an influence was that in your decision to come to Cal?
GP: It had a big influence in my decision. Any time you have family members go to a big university, you take a lot of pride in that. My dad went to Cal for a couple of years, too. We didn’t come to many football games when I was growing up, but we definitely went to a few. We live in the Bay Area so Cal was our college team.
CB: You played basketball in high school, as well. Do you missing playing basketball?
GP: That’s my second-favorite sport. I miss being on the court, but I love football. I think I excelled more with football than basketball during my senior year of high school so it was the natural choice.
CB: You’re an experienced piano player. Do you still play a lot?
GP: Not so much anymore, but I try to play whenever I get a chance. I’ve definitely lost my touch a little bit. I played for eight years when I was younger. I just did lessons and recitals every once in a while. The biggest audience I played in front of was about 20 people. I try to play every couple weeks, but it’s just hard to find time to fit it in my schedule.