Michigan State Spring Recap Quotes: Defense
 
 
 
 
May 8, 2017

Junior safety Grayson Miller

On how the defense has evolved from last year…
Well, I think what we said coming into the spring was that there was a lot of growing up that had to be done. We had a lot of guys back, not necessarily with game time experience, but guys that have been here for a long time, know what to do, know how to play, and know how we play. And the coaches, too. They’ve grown up as well. Coach Barnett is going into his third year calling the defense. Everybody is kind of growing up together.

On guys to watch out for in the defensive backfield this fall…
I think somebody you have to watch out for this fall is Josiah Scott. I think he’s going to be a fantastic football player here. Really smart kid. I’ve never been around a freshman that has picked up a defense as fast as he has. And I like to think that as a freshman I picked it up pretty fast. Matt Morrissey and David Dowell had amazing springs. Look out for Khari Willis, he’s just going to continue to get better with me as well. Guys that have played a bit before. I think whoever is back is going to be a confident group.

On what specifically they are looking to improve on defense…
I think the defense as a whole is just looking to have fun. A lot of times you watch our defense last year, and we weren’t having fun. You could tell that the game just didn’t seem like fun to a lot of people. That was something that we focused on this spring, just to play fast, play confident, trust your teammates, trust yourself, trust your job. If I could just point to anything, it would be to just have fun again.

 

 

On using last year as a reminder to stay motivated…
Obviously it’s a very long season. Guys will have to stay healthy, but for me – I mean I was someone who played on the field against Alabama, against Ohio State in 2015 – I’ve experienced amazing times here. I just go back to that. I don’t want to remember myself as a 3-9 team. I hadn’t been on a losing team in my life before last season, and that was the case for most guys. It’s not as much using the 3-9 as motivation, because I think we’re a different team, but it’s more reflecting on what past leaders taught us from the Cotton Bowl team and other teams before that. Just keeping a positive outlook.

Junior linebacker Andrew Dowell

On spring practice…
Yeah, we’ve had a pretty good spring season. We’ve had a lot of player-led meetings where it would just be all of us players in there talking to each other about things that we feel we need to get better at. Whether it’s guys calling out other guys, it’s that competitive atmosphere that we have because we all want to be better and push ourselves to where we need to be and get that to where we need to be.

On the offseason…
It’s just about re-establishing, and it’s just through the coaches too. Coach Mannie is making a push for us re-establishing our Michigan State culture. It’s been a huge emphasis; it’s spring season. What Coach Mannie has been using a lot is re-affirmation into what Spartan football is and that’s how we get back to that culture.

On how quickly the rise back to the top can happen…
I think the rise can be very quick. You see teams like Penn State who were down my freshman year and they won the Big Ten Championship this past year. For us, I think it’s just about, because we have always had the talent, I think it’s just about getting guys to believe and buying into that we can really do this thing and turn around like a light switch.

On the humbling of the team last year…
I think the entire team was humbled, but those young guys (freshmen) have never gotten to experience what I got to experience my freshman year, just being a part of a culture and just being a part of the program. It’s our job and it’s everybody’s job to get back to where we were at previously so that everybody can experience it. It makes football fun.

On what culture means to him…
It’s a tough thing to put into words, but I’d say it’s just the atmosphere that you’re around. Through past guys, through present guys, it’s just a natural thing that you feel almost.

On the linebackers…
Definitely comfortable with Joe (Bachie) in the middle. One fact, me and him actually went to high school for a minute. He went to St. Eds (Edward) his freshman year then he transferred so I’ve known Joe for a minute. Joe is a great leader, good young guy. In the program, he is a guy, like Riley (Bullough), who is always in his playbook, always trying to learn more. Me and Chris (Frey), Chris coming back we have a full time starter, me having a lot of starts this year. We gel well on the football field. We all complement each other and have different strengths and look forward to a good year as linebackers.

Sophomore linebacker Joe Bachie

On Chris Frey and Brian Allen being leaders of the team…
Like Coach D says, senior year has to be your best year, so those are two of our big seniors and they’ve really stepped up to be leaders. As well as Gerald Holmes, he has been doing a great job. Those are two or three guys that we can really look up to.

On Lewerke as quarterback…
Brian looks good. I thought he had a really good spring. He is a tough guy to defend with his defense; he can do so many different things but I think he will have a great season.

On the linebackers…
I feel like we are kind of the leaders of the defense. The linebackers obviously have a lead and take control, but we have come together and gelled together. I believe our defense is coming along.

On team improvement this spring…
We talk about chemistry a lot and I believe this spring, we came together much more than we have been since I’ve been here and I think that’s a step in the right direction.

On what he saw this spring…
Different people stepping up. Different people have to take on leadership roles when you lose seniors and I believe a couple of seniors have stepped up as well as younger guys. That’s a big improvement as well.

On the summer…
No breaks. We can’t just take this time off. These five weeks are not discretionary or whatever, we just have to keep pushing, that’s one of our main goals.

On what he has learned in his time here…
Just from experience playing and practice, I had a great mentor in Riley, and just everybody who has kind of helped me along the way. That kind of taught me. The only experience I had was good.

On goals for the fall…
As a team, we should just come out there every day trying to get better and that obviously is an individual goal of mine. We talk about three percent every day, that’s our goal – get three percent better and if we can do that I really think we will have a great game.

On becoming a leader…
I believe we have taken a couple of steps forward just because I’ve seen myself, I’ve seen more guys in the film room, I’ve seen more guys come together so that’s a great step right there. We will continue that during the summer.

How the spring has been for him personally…
Personally, I took a step forward. I’m trying to step into a leader role and a stopper role.