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Football Media Day: Defense
 
 
 
Shilique Calhoun speaks to a reporter at media day inside the Huntington Club at Spartan Stadium.
 
Shilique Calhoun speaks to a reporter at media day inside the Huntington Club at Spartan Stadium.
 
 
Aug. 4, 2014

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State held its annual media day Monday afternoon in the Huntington Club at Spartan Stadium.

Below are quotes from the defensive and special teams players that spoke at media day.

Senior safety Kurtis Drummond

On being one of the leaders of the defensive backs...
I have to take a lot of pride, a lot of the guys are feeding off of me and how I perform in practice. So it just becomes more responsibility for me.

Playing with a chip on their shoulders...
We understand that we lost guys, but we also understand that we have guys to replace them. So we are just having fun this camp and this offseason. Just taking steps each day, we have things to prove this year.

Goals for the season...
Our first goal is to win the Big Ten championship. So we just are going to have to handle our business each week and go from there.

Thoughts on reaching the national championship...
I think that is everybody's dream and goal. But we understand the process it is going to take to get us to there. Like I said we are just going to have to handle our business each week and start with winning the Big Ten and going from there.

Favorite thing about game day in East Lansing...
Probably the walk to the stadium - just going through all the fans, pitching a penny at Sparty and feeling the atmosphere. That's probably my favorite, seeing Spartan Stadium fill up from the time you do the walk on the field until the time that you are out there for kickoff.

Junior defensive lineman Joel Heath

On moving through the defense...
I feel good because I can know the defensive ends and know the defensive tackles. It makes me versatile. Whatever happens later in life, it helps me understand every component of the defense instead of just one.


 

 

On playing against a high-tempo offense...
I don't worry about it. It really depends on the player. It depends on how much stamina a guy has, so for me or anyone else who comes in, they train us that way. We'll be ready. I would say it depends on a person's athletic ability.

On the biggest strength of the inside...
I could only really say that it would be the one with the most reps at the position. Right now, I would have to say me. I was playing in the speed package and I got at least 60 reps last year in the D tackle position. There were some times that they would run power at me. I can feel it and then (Brandon) Clemons had some opportunities in the Rose Bowl, so he's there too.

Junior defensive end Shilique Calhoun

About the team having a target on its back...
Competition brings out the best in me and I think in a lot of people. To have the target on us as a team is motivation and keeps us working hard and keeps the drive in us to get better and succeed.

About whether or not the National Championship is a team goal this season...
It is definitely one of our goals. Our main goal right now is Jacksonville State. We are taking everything day-by-day. We don't want to look too far ahead. We need to respect every team we play against.

On where the team finds the "chip on the shoulder" mentality...
We definitely still have that mentality. We don't like to dabble in what the critics say, but we see that we have a six percent chance to win the Big Ten, so the chip is still there. We want to earn respect nationally and also within the Big Ten. That is how Coach Dantonio has built this program, always feeling like we have to prove something.

On the expectations for this season...
The National Championship has been in a lot of the player's minds, but it hasn't been spoken about. We are trying to focus on the task at hand, and that is Jacksonville State. We have talked about winning a Big Ten Championship, because that could give us a spot in that four team playoff. We are going to dream big but we are going to take things one thing at a time and let that stuff work itself out.

On what makes this year's team better... Experience. Also, we have a lot of young guys that are athletic. We are doing some things different this year too. We are running a lot more and trying to be in better shape. Our mindset is that we are determined to be better. What legacy will this senior class leave? Our guys are unselfish and we want to leave a team legacy more than anything.

Junior cornerback Trae Waynes

On this year's defense...
I am really excited for this defense. I know it is crazy to say this, but it seems like we got faster. Hopefully we don't take any steps backwards and keep moving forward. I'm excited to take on the role of taking over for Darqueze (Dennard).

On playing for Mark Dantonio...
He is very persistent. He knows what he is doing and sticks to it. We do what we do and don't veer from that. He makes us work. If he doesn't like what he sees, he will make us work harder. Him being persistent and sticking to what he does has helped us a lot.

On taking over as the shutdown corner...
It is something I am working on in fall camp. It is a lot more responsibility and I have to step up my role in the leadership area. I am not thinking about it as my thing. It is a team and unit thing. I wouldn't be anywhere without the guys we play with and for, so it is definitely a unit thing.

Junior linebacker Darien Harris

On the growing strengths of his class...
That was the plan. Coming in, we had high aspirations and we bonded really quickly as a class from the first day we stepped on campus. We got really close and gradually learned about one another. Once that redshirt year went out of the way, we really decided that we were going to be that class to make a difference last season and come this season. It's great to see all the guys that I came in with to get the opportunity to be out there with me. We're just trying to make the best of our opportunities.

On his goals for the season...
For myself, it's just to be the best linebacker that I can be. Stepping into a starting role for the first time ever is huge for me. That's one my first accomplishments, was to be a starter on this team. Now I have higher goals, I have All-Big Ten and All-American aspirations and I know it's possible when I have guys around me who have done it. As for the defense, we just want to keep the train rolling as the best defense in the Big Ten. We've been that and one of the top defenses in the nation. We want to keep that going. Next man up - that's out philosophy. We know that there are some shoes ready to be filled and we're ready to do that.

On measuring their accomplishments...
I always think of something the great Ray Lewis said, which is that `it's impossible to play a perfect football game.' I think that really needs to be our focus and our mantra for this year. Somebody's always going to make some kind of mistake out there. It can be an inch mistake, but the fact that we have guys that will be rallying to the ball, flying full speed to make up for that mistake, that's what makes us a great defense. That's what we need to keep going - that effort, that toughness and that knowledge of the game. For us, that's key to keep going on that high level. The stakes have been raised since last year. We're trying to one-up what we did and that's difficult. We're really up for the task and we know that the Spartan Nation is behind us. Pressure is good. We feel like we have the key guys offensively and defensively to get the job done.

Senior punter Mike Sadler

On team chemistry...
We're super close. All the specialists are close, but it doesn't stop there, it's the whole team. That's what has made us special the last couple years. We may not be the most talented guys coming in here, but as we come together, that's what make the difference.

On the team's confidence...
There are definitely a lot fewer question marks than there were at this point last year. We don't have to worry about that. More than anything, we have the confidence that we finished No. 3 in the country last year and we were just a couple plays away from being in the national title game. We know we can be up there and compete with anybody, so now it's just a matter of going out and beating the country once again.

On staying motivated...
I think it goes back to the people we recruit here. There has never been any sense of entitlement and the people are always willing to come and work hard every day. When you have the right people in place, that's a pretty easy battle to win.

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