Liddle working hard and improving
Since starting as a freshman at the varsity level, Bettendorf Class of 2021 defensive tackle Griffin Liddle has proven to be a special player. We caught up with his head coach, Aaron Wiley, to find out more.
Q: How would you describe him as a football player?
WILEY: He is great. He is one of the best that we have had, without question. What makes him so good is that I don’t know I’ve ever met someone like him with how he competes. He is a perfectionist. I’ll give you an example. He is first guy in the weight room and last one out. He is the first guy at practice and last guy to leave. He is just wired differently than most kids. He can’t stand not being on top. It is hard for us to do a walk-through because he goes so hard. Those are all great traits. He grinds away, competes, and he has that wrestler toughness that helps him. He is just very, very focused and gets down to business. If he gets beat ever, he can’t take it. He wants to work until he beats you down. He is great in the weight room and great in the off-season. He really is just conscientious and focused in in how he goes about everything.
Q: How unique is that maturity at the college level?
WILEY: It is very unique. We pulled him up as a freshman and that is one of the things we noticed right away. He was working with the older kids. He was able to not just hang, but also outwork some of those guys as a ninth grader. I’d say it is definitely unique. We have had some great ones over the years, but how he approaches every practice is just different than what most kids will do when they are younger.
Q: What areas of his game is he working to improve on?
WILEY: I’d say everything has to get a little bit better and it is just things like technique. He’ll be the first guy at practice working with our line coach on that, footwork, or hand placement. It is the little things he will do that will get that edge. I think he can improve here and there from technique stuff. Like everybody, he can get bigger, faster, and stronger. He still has another whole year until college. You will really see him blowup as a senior. I think the main thing he has improved on from a year ago is as an offensive lineman. We played him both ways last year but that has been his biggest improvement this year.
Q: What is his role this season?
WILEY: He plays defensive tackle and offensive guard. He pretty much plays the whole time. He doesn’t like to come out. He pretty much is on the field the whole game, which is unique for us. We don’t try to do that for anyone. It is tough to play both ways, but he has embraced it and done a really good job.
Q: How is he as a leader?
WILEY: That is another spot he has really improved on. He is not a vocal rah-rah guy. He is definitely a lead by example and kids see that. The reason this kid is getting recruited is because of how hard he works. I think people see how he goes about his business and that rubs off on people around him.
Q: Where does he sit as of late with recruiting?
WILEY: I think he has the offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan, Nebraska, Minnesota, and all of those schools. I know he has had some interest from Notre dame. He went out to Cal and Stanford this summer. He gets mail from all over. I think maybe Wisconsin is in there. What I honestly try to do with recruiting is not get real involved. I’ll give kids advice, but that is more of if the kids and parents want it. I don’t want to pressure a kid. He has his dad and he was a college athlete. He understands how this works. He has a pretty open mind. He is letting it play out and we’ll see. I try to distance myself from it. It is not my place to influence a kid where to go.