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Preseason Camp Update: Coordinator Quotes

Offensive coordinator Dan Roushar on junior right guard Chris McDonald: "He's playing as well as we've seen him play."

Aug. 17, 2011

Video Update | Preseason Camp Central

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Preseason camp continued for the Michigan State football team on Wednesday as the Spartans held their 13th practice on the grass fields behind the Duffy Daugherty Building.

Following practice, defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi and offensive coordinator Dan Roushar, along with several players, met with the media to talk about the progress of preseason camp.

Roushar talked about the position battles along the offensive line as well as having the luxury of three senior wide receivers with starting experience, while Narduzzi discussed the play of his linebackers and what he wants the defense to improve on during Saturday's second jersey scrimmage.

Offensive Coordinator Dan Roushar

On if he has a better idea on the starting five now than at the beginning of training camp...
"No question. Those guys have maybe started to separate themselves in some ways. The competition has been good and the attitude has been really good. We've had some really good moments where you look up and see the improvement, going back to the spring to where we're at today. It's been encouraging.

"But today was not a great day for us on the field, so I'm anxious to watch the tape and see the things we didn't do as well. But I think we're starting to come together and starting to gel with each other.

"I think we're getting closer (on knowing the starting five), but there's still a lot of football left in this training camp. I think we're starting to get a better idea. I think after this Saturday we'll have even a much better idea as we go into another key scrimmage."

On what has impressed him the most about the first 13 practices...
"I think the ability to take as much offense as we put in and execute it without a lot of mistakes. They don't look like they've been playing tentative because they're thinking. I've been pleased with the execution of our passing game. Our protection at times has been pretty solid, but then we came off the field today in a third-down situation and we didn't do as well as we would've liked. So we'll look at that and evaluate it. I'm feeling like we have a chance to be pretty good up there."

On the luxury of having seniors B.J. Cunningham, Keshawn Martin and Keith Nichol at wide receiver...
"It makes all the difference in the world. Those guys have been there, they understand our language, and they know what we're doing - and they're able to execute it. At the same time, they can make plays. Keshawn in space is a very good football player. B.J. catches just about everything that is thrown to him. And we've been impressed with Keith Nichol's improvement; he's been very physical as a run blocker and he's a much better route runner than he was a year ago. That just comes with experience. He's gotten more comfortable with himself, so that's been good."

On the position battles along the offensive line...
"I still think there's a lot of competition when you're looking at the center position in there. Travis Jackson has been doing a pretty good job, but we're seeing some other guys. Blake Treadwell is in there and he's battling. At moments, you think one guy has had a better day than the other.

"The right tackle position between Skyler Burkland and Fou (Fonoti), that goes back and forth, and you see some really good things from both of them. Over on the left side, Dan France and Jared McGaha continue to compete. Dan has had some good days, but today he wasn't very good. So we'll evaluate it and come back from there.

"Chris McDonald (right guard) is playing very, very well. He's playing as well as we've seen him play. He's improved an awful lot. And Joel Foreman has been very steady in there at left guard. I think that's where we're at. I think we still have competition at three positions of need, kind of figure that out as we go, but as I look at the other two inside guys right now we feel good about where they're at."

On Blake Treadwell's versatility...
"He can play center, he can play guard. He could possibly play both guards. That's part of our thought process as we go. We're trying to get the best five on the field and recognize that he has a lot to offer. As he continues to improve, he'll have a role. He's right in the thick of it. We'll figure out who's the starter I think after this weekend."

On working with the offense as a coordinator...
"It's a lot of fun to work with the entire group. That's what we enjoying doing out there this time of year. You hope those guys keep the fire and enjoy what they're doing. That's kind of the message today. We're in our 13th practice today and sometimes you get into those modes where it can be a little bit of a grind. We just hope they can appreciate what they have, where they're at, and where they're going, and enjoy it, particularly to those seniors. (They) only get to go through this one more time, and every day you have to make the best of it. So that's been our message and I think the guys have grabbed that. I hope they take a strong mindset that way and continue to enjoy it."

Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi

On the intensity at practice with a younger defense this season...
"It's up and down right now. We're trying to plug up some holes from some great players a year ago. The intensity is OK, but then there will be a period where it's off and they'll get down on themselves. We just have to pick it up and continue to fight every day in the dog days (of camp)."

On what he sees out of the linebackers...
"I see guys that can run. They're athletic. We just have to make sure they're in the right place. You can be a good athlete, but we've got to get you in the right spot."

On young linebackers that might see some time that he didn't expect at the onset of camp...
"I really think it's too early. Early (in camp) there was, but then you start to worry if they're ready to go. Right now at linebacker, Taiwan Jones is a guy that may be ahead of everybody. Ed Davis has a chance. So we're going to continue to keep those two linebackers right in there getting reps with the 2's. At this point, those are the two guys that may have the closest chance at playing."

On Max Bullough...
"Max is having a great camp. He's better than he was in the spring. He's a leader. He's being a lot more physical too, so that's a bonus for him."

On if he feels this is the most depth he's had at defensive line since he's been at MSU...
"Not the last few days, but we're banged up a little bit. That's a physical position. When you have 600 pounds trying to knock you back every down - and Coach Staten is doing a great job with the offensive line - I mean, nobody else on the football field has the punishment those guys can take. It's a pounding in there, we go hard. This is not Pee Wee football. This is Big Ten football, this is smash mouth football, so those guys take a beating. The depth will come when the season gets here."

On what he wants the defense to accomplish at this week's scrimmage...
"Consistency. We have to been consistent. We started off strong, then when they had the ball in the red zone, we didn't stop them in the red zone. When the ball was on our 25-yard line, that's where we lost it. It doesn't matter where the ball is, we have to be consistent and play good football throughout the field."



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