EAST LANSING - If Michigan State is going to have a tougher, more physical presence on its defense this fall, it needs its most talented players to step up and become playmakers on the field.
One of the candidates to do this is former bandit turned weakside linebacker SirDarean Adams.
Adams has had a topsy-turvy career heading into his senior campaign. While he has little experience playing the position, his combination of size and speed make him the prototype "Tampa Two" linebacker candidate and he is willing to step up to the challenge.
"This is a position, I've never played before," said Adams talking about the switch. "But its all about sacrifices," he said noting that several other players are also switching positions. But explaining his willingness to do so, he said, "you can't be selfish. If you just keep the team first and work hard, everything's going to turn out pretty good."
Adams said the coaches enthusiasm is contagious and helped them get through the rigorous "fourth quarter" program designed to increase the team's endurance.
"We've already made it through the 'fourth quarter' program. If you know anything about the 'fourth quarter' program and what we went through, (the desire to succeed) is already there. Our coaches love us as much as they love their kids. They're on us hard, but they make everything fun. (For example) if a ball is being thrown twenty yards, Coach Narduzzi is beating everybody to the ball! That gets the players excited because we know the coaches are as excited if not more excited for the players to be out their making plays. Our goal is to get three percent better everyday."
Adams says the coaches have created an environment where each player has to show up to compete everyday or he may not be on the field in the fall.
"Think about it, nobody has a starting job. Even when the fall camps come nobody has a starting job, during the season, every week, nobody has a starting job. So let's think about this, everyday you have to come in here and be on your "A" game. So when Friday comes, everyone wants to be on their "A" game, no mistakes and flawless in everything."
For Adams, who came from a tough environment in his native Bradenton, FL., the stakes are high. If he can put together a solid campaign, he could move to the next level as NFL team's are always on the look out for speedy productive linebacker with range. With a background as a defensive back, if Adams can make a successful transition, he could be playing on Sunday's.
Adams says one thing is for sure, he will compete. "If I'm playing checkers with my three-year old niece, she's not going to beat me," joked Adams.