EAST LANSING - It looked every bit as if the Michigan State football team was playing for their coach John L. Smith.
Everywhere in Saturday's epic comeback against Northwestern, MSU players were flying around the field, making plays and a very vocal defensive end Jonal Saint-Dic said make no mistake about it, Smith is the reason why.
"I read the papers," admitted Saint-Dic. "I probably shouldn't be reading the papers, but I
just got tired of people blaming everything on John L. Smith. You can't
blame everything on him, it's on us. We're a team. As the players
group we decided we can't let John L. Smith
down or our teammates down or ourselves as a whole."
The junior defensive end became more irritated when asked about the things he was reading in the papers.
"I don't really care what the papers say or what outsiders say. The
only thing I care about is what my teammates think of me and my coaches
think of me. I just play for my team, my coaches and my family and
besides that everything's good."
When asked about the criticism of the team's first-half effort Saint-Dic repeated his assertion. "I don't care what other people think, they didn't recruit me and
they're not paying for my education. I'm for John L. Smith, he recruited
me, I came here to help him out and this team out and that's my job."
The junior college transfer admitted that it took some inspiration from the seniors to make it click that the team needed to act now.
"Like John L. Smith said, he didn't say a word. The seniors stepped up, Drew Stanton said something, Pete Clifford and these other guys and - I'm more of a quiet person, I let my game talk more than words - we just came together and said 'this is not us', we're not playing up to our ability, team wise."
"We just decided, you know what, we're not going to give up and we're not going to let them score more points on us or just sit there and let this happen. We decided to come out emotional that half and give it all we got."