Football Media Day: Defense
 
 
 
Denicos Allen talks at MSU's media day on Monday at the Huntington Club in Spartan Stadium.
 
Denicos Allen talks at MSU's media day on Monday at the Huntington Club in Spartan Stadium.
 
 

Aug. 5, 2013

Complete Media Day Coverage | Video Recap: Defense

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 players that spoke at media day.

Senior linebacker Denicos Allen

On the role of the senior class...
It is very important. This is probably one of the biggest senior classes that we've had since I've been here. With this many seniors having such an important role, we have to make the most of it. We have to show the team that we're going to take them as far as we can and do whatever it takes to get there.

On the leadership in the locker room...
Everyone has their input. Sometimes it's Max (Bullough), sometimes it's me, sometimes it's Will (Gholston) or Johnny (Adams). Everyone's got to say something. We all felt like we needed to be a leader. We all stepped up. That's why I feel like the defense is so connected. We all respect each other, so we all listen to each other and what they have to say no matter who it is. That bond is what made us fight through games and close losses and get over those losses.

On learning from other linebackers...
I definitely see a lot of things like pass coverage skills, knowing the defense and each player style to see if I can benefit from it. I like to try new things; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

On personal goals for the season...
I definitely want to go to the Rose Bowl and I know the team does, too. That's our main goal. If you want to go there, you've got to go out and get it; it's not going to come to you. That's really our team goal.

Senior linebacker Max Bullough

 

 

On senior leadership...
Having 18 seniors is an incredible advantage. Even if you have nine and they are all great leaders, it's tough because you don't reach as many players. Having 18 seniors is an advantage because you have guys in every position room. There is more reach of leadership.

On how to fix coming up short last year...
It is tough to put a drill on the concepts of coming up just short. There are little situations in practice we can do to try and simulate that. We have added a little more focus on those and just putting ourselves in those situations more so that we can become more comfortable.

On team chemistry...
Chemistry is something that is built all year long. Each part is a phase and fall camp is just the fourth part of that phase. It has always been great. This is a great group of guys who love playing together.

On how similar the defense will be...
I think we are going to do our thing. We are going to run our pressure zone defense and play a lot of base. We have some new faces that will be great. I think everything will be pretty much the same.

Sophomore defensive end Shilique Calhoun

On the emotions of the team heading into the season...
I go into camp thinking that no spot is ever sewed-up for me. I'm just going to keep fighting hard to be the best. I'm going to keep striving and to keep working hard and push my teammates. I hope that they keep pushing me also.

On the pressure of living up to the legacy of MSU defenses...
There's a big role to fill at defensive end, and I hope my team relies on me and I'm going to try to make plays. I'm more focused on my own assignments than the pressure.

On his friendship with Taiwan Jones and working hard with him as a teammate...
As the days go on, you feel like you're worn down and things are dying out, me and Taiwan decided that we were going to make the commitment to keep pushing each other, even on the last day of camp. Keep motivating each other and don't be content with where you're at. Keep pushing and striving to be the best we can be to help the team. We want to be the best we can possible. So far it's been very productive.

Senior cornerback Darqueze Dennard

On the returning seniors on defense...
It helps a lot because we have nine guys that played the defense that last two years so we know everyone's tendencies and know what to expect, which is a great thing. It gives Coach Narduzzi a lot of room for his play calls because we all know the play book and what we should be doing because we're comfortable with it and been doing it for so long.

On the meaning of the twitter hashtag #NoFlyZone...
We started a little Twitter thing after we took it upon ourselves in the offseason to come up with a slogan. For the defensive backfield, we went with No Fly Zone. We can't let any passes go, we cannot let anybody catch passes and we just have to control the air basically. It wasn't only us, it's been the whole defense. We're all known as Spartan Dawgs. We all have made up our own names; the linebackers have "bomb squad" and the defensive line is called "A-Wall." We all take it personal this offseason to have a great year.

On what he's looking forward to this season...
We're just looking forward to getting back on the field with each other, having fun and flying around and making whole lot more plays than we did last year.

On the importance of team chemistry...
It's very important. Looking across the board, we're going to need everybody on the team to get where we want to go. We all came with the same mindset, which is we want to go to the Big Ten Championship game and win that and go to the Rose Bowl. We all just have the mindset this offseason to work hard.

Junior free safety Kurtis Drummond

On the differences in the team this year...
I don't think it feels much different. Guys are just as hungry. Guys realize what happened last year and are still coming to work with the confidence they had.

On whether or not he is worried about offense...
We have confidence that they will be real good this year. They have the privilege of going against a really good defense every day. I think everybody, as far of the defense, has all the confidence in the offense.

On having a swagger on defense...
Last year means nothing. Yeah we had a good year but it doesn't mean anything at all. We have confidence and swag just because of our coaches and current players. I don't think last year plays a factor in that.

Senior linebacker Kyler Elsworth

On his role this year...
As far as my role on the field, I try to do whatever I can where the coaches need me. I love playing out on the field. As far as my role as a leader, I feel like I am able to have more of a voice and a demeanor having been through good and bad times. I'm not as vocal as some of the other guys are, but I lead by example. The guys around me know I will push myself to do one more rep.

On losing five games by 13 points in 2012...
It was tough. We were so close in those games that it brought us down. We were right there and then it was gone. Our defense played well all year and our offense played well all year, but we were never able to put together a complete game where we got everyone playing well at once.

On how good the defense can be...
We saw times last year where the defense was playing great and going three and outs all the time. Then we saw times where we were losing games by just a margin of points. With that year under our belt of seeing those games we lost, we still have that bitter taste in our mouth. We go out every day and say we don't want that to happen again, and ask ourselves what we can do to make ourselves better.

Senior defensive tackle Tyler Hoover

On the younger players' strengths...
They've all kind of got their own things. Probably the easiest to pick out is (Demetrius) Cooper, his body frame and his speed. He's just got crazy athletic ability so that's a good thing. Devyn (Salmon), he's kind of got a natural feel for football. You can see that he feels pressure one way and starts going the other way.

On the Spartan defense...
I mean, we come out of every day stating our goal as to win the Big Ten Championship and go to the Rose Bowl, to keep that in our eyes everyday is a big part of getting through camp. Our defense, we want to be ranked number 1, ever at Michigan State and nationally. It's always in our heads. It's where we get our work ethic, where we want to get better. You keep thinking about it and see how close we would be.

Senior linebacker Jairus Jones

On being prepared for the competition at Sam linebacker...
It's all about technique. Like I said, I'm prepared for it for physical safeties when it comes to block shedding. I'm ready to stick my nose in there.

On changing to linebacker...
I just want a chance to compete. Regardless of whether I'm at safety or at linebacker, I want to compete.

On him and Taiwan Jones...
It could be like him playing more running downs and more passing teams but I really don't know. He can play against passing teams; he played extremely well against Indiana and they throw it all the time. So you never know what's going to happen.

Junior linebacker Taiwan Jones

On starting practice...
It's be going pretty well, I can't complain. We're just excited to finally be back out there with each other and having fun competing offense versus defense and position against position. We're pretty excited.

On what he's most looking forward to this season...
I'm trying to get to the Rose Bowl. We've got a nice team this year. We're humble, so I think that can get us pretty far.

On what to focus on this season...
Personally, I want to step in to any role I can to help out the team. For the team, if we keep the team chemistry that we've always had, I think we can get pretty far.

On the importance of team chemistry...
I feel like it's very important because every sports movie you see, the team comes together in the end and goes very far. I feel like that's not just fictional and can happen in real life.

On improvements from last year...
We just want to keep everybody's spirits up and take one day a time. We don't want to think too much about the future, just focus on one game at a time.

On what's on his mind heading into the first practice...
I couldn't wait to come back because I love football and I love the game, and I feel like I have a lot to prove to everybody. I feel like me and my teammate and best friend Shilique [Calhoun], we came in during the summer talking about we have a lot to prove and that we wanted to push each other and have a great year.

Junior nose tackle James Kittredge

On the competition between players...
Yeah, it's a grind and it's challenging competing against your friends and teammates, but we don't let that get in the way of keeping each other motivated. It's all about energy and encouraging words.

On the "edge" of the defensive line...
We're coming back from a season that we weren't exactly too happy with. We didn't want to be in that position, so no we want to come back bigger, stronger, faster.

Senior safety Isaiah Lewis

On if he feels anything about the NFL prospect talk about himself...
I never think about that. I just play the game. Whatever's going to happen is going to happen. I'll put that in God's hands.

On improving as a player...
What we do every day at camp is about being quicker. Once you know that, the game gets a lot easier. As long as I'm playing the game, I'm always going to be learning something. It's a continuous learning process.

Senior nose tackle Micajah Reynolds

On being a defensive tackle...
When I was playing guard, before I got switched back over, I was just getting comfortable. It's not a question of me knowing what to do, it is me naturally doing it. Now I can just work my moves. I just wanted to see if I could work to learn and figure this thing out. My mom always told me not to be afraid of work, so that is what I chose to do. I am glad I did it and am looking forward to the season.

On competition at defensive tackle...
We have always had great players. I think we are very deep right now with great leadership. This is going to be a great year for us and everything is jelling for us on defense right now, even early in camp. Normally it takes four or five practices, but we jumped right into it.

Junior defensive end Marcus Rush

On the emotions of the team heading into the season...
I think it's been real positive. I think there's something we need to accomplish this year. We realize last year was something we weren't really happy with and we're just going to use that to influence exactly what we want to accomplish this year.

On if the bowl victory in December changed the mentality heading into this season...
It makes us realize what kind of team we are. We weren't real happy with our season but then to come out to the bowl game and fight, that was huge for the program for our team, and it gives us the character of who we are.

Sophomore cornerback Trae Waynes

On expectations for this season...
They're pretty high, just building off of last year and the TCU game, filling the void Johnny (Adams) left. I mean, he was a great player. I've just got to play my game and do what I know how to do.

On learning from the bowl game...
I thought it was a big deal because it definitely helped me come into this season. It helped me get a lot of chemistry with some of the starters on the team.

On his track background...
Well, I was never really a track guy first. I was always a football guy first so I just did track to keep my speed after my injury. That's why I dropped out of baseball. I guess that's the big thing, I was never a track guy first.

On changing over to cornerback from safety...
It was pretty smooth. I mean, Coach Barnett is a good coach and he helped me out, so did Coach Narduzzi and Coach Dantonio. They all pulled me aside and helped me with it.

Sophomore safety R.J. Williamson

On practice...
Practice is going very well with the different timing that we've been going to practice. I think the early morning practices this year have really helped us. The offense and defense has been working extremely hard to get prepared and ready for the season.

On improvements from last year...
We've been working on technique. The ability to play, that takes care of itself. Everyone is here for a reason, because they have the ability to play. But you have to work on that technique, learn plays, get in the film room and know team's strengths and weaknesses. We've just been going out there and preparing for the season. We'll be ready.

On what he's most looking forward to...
I'm just looking forward to playing that first game, just looking out and seeing all those Spartan fans. There's no greater feeling. It's so surreal getting out there and seeing all those fans cheering for you to win the game. I'm excited about, I can't wait to get out there and play the game.

On describing the Spartan defense...
The first word that comes to mind is physical. This defense is very physical, just as we were last year. We're going to make big plays. We've got a lot of guys here that I can see playing at the next level, especially our seniors like Max Bullough, Darqueze Dennard and Marcus Rush as well. There are some young guys as well that are stepping up. It's going to be a fun season for us.