Following Wednesday’s practice Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi talked with the media about how the Spartans young defense is coming along.
One of the things Narduzzi has always looked for is intensity. Is he seeing it out of his charges so far during camp?
"It's up and down right now,” said Narduzzi. “We're trying to plug up some holes from some great players a year ago. The intensity is OK, but then there will be a period where it's off and they'll get down on themselves. We just have to pick it up and continue to fight every day in the dog days (of camp)."
Two of those great players came from the linebacker position. What has he seen so far out of the linebackers so far during camp?
"I see guys that can run,” said Narduzzi. “They're athletic. We just have to make sure they're in the right place. You can be a good athlete, but we've got to get you in the right spot."
Have any of the young linebackers surprised him during camp enough to earn some playing time?
"I really think it's too early,” Narduzzi said. “Early (in camp) there was, but then you start to worry if they're ready to go. Right now at linebacker, Taiwan Jones is a guy that may be ahead of everybody. Ed Davis has a chance. So we're going to continue to keep those two linebackers right in there getting reps with the 2's. At this point, those are the two guys that may have the closest chance at playing."
With the loss of Greg Jones, Spartan fans will be keeping their eyes on Max Bullough. How is the sophomore doing so far in camp?
"Max is having a great camp,” Narduzzi said. “He's better than he was in the spring. He's a leader. He's being a lot more physical too, so that's a bonus for him."
Many feel the Spartans may have the most depth along the defensive line since Narduzzi arrived at MSU. Does he feel there is more depth than in the past four seasons?
"Not the last few days,” said Narduzzi. “But we're banged up a little bit. That's a physical position. When you have 600 pounds trying to knock you back every down - and Coach Staten is doing a great job with the offensive line - I mean, nobody else on the football field has the punishment those guys can take. It's a pounding in there, we go hard. This is not Pee Wee football. This is Big Ten football, this is smash mouth football, so those guys take a beating. The depth will come when the season gets here."
After dropping the first Jersey Scrimmage of the preseason the defense will be looking to take it back in this week’s scrimmage. What does Narduzzi want to see out of the defense this time around?
"Consistency,” stressed Narduzzi. “We have to been consistent. We started off strong, then when they had the ball in the red zone, we didn't stop them in the red zone. When the ball was on our 25-yard line, that's where we lost it. It doesn't matter where the ball is, we have to be consistent and play good football throughout the field."