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Practice Update: Assistant Coaches Quotes

Defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi

Oct. 12, 2011

EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State football team continued its preparation for Saturday's game against Michigan with its second practice of the week on Wednesday.

In the afternoon, defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi and quarterbacks coach Dave Warner briefly met with reporters to discuss the upcoming matchup against the Wolverines.

The No. 23/19 Spartans (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten) and No. 11/10 Wolverines (6-0, 2-0) will meet Saturday, Oct. 15 at 12 p.m. in Spartan Stadium; the game will be televised on ESPN.

Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi

On Michigan junior quarterback Denard Robinson as a passer...
"They're using him the same way they have. What their offense is, is a combination of Michigan's last year and what they did at San Diego State, from all the tape we've watched. We watched about every one of their games last year. Slowly, it seems like they're bringing some of the San Diego (State) stuff back. So, I think they're just slowly integrating both offenses.

"I think he's passing better; he's throwing it down there, and they're catching it."

On the game plan similar this year compared to last year...
"No, because it's a combination. Really, you're facing two different offenses (Michigan and San Diego State from last year). They're getting quite a bit of two tight end, two back sets; they'll create a shotgun set and a spread formation out of that, so they're doing a little bit of everything. They do a nice job."

Going down the field more than before...
"They went down the field last year, too. They used to go four verticals a ton, Coach (Rich) Rodriguez's favorite package is to really go four verticals; they're not doing quite as much as that, but they're going down the field a little bit more on play-action pass, which is not what they used to do. But they are going down field. It's run, run, run - suck up on the run, and then throw it over your head. They do a good job of mixing it up.



"They have a lot more play-action pass than they've had in the past. We have to stop the run. Their quarterback is a runner, so you have to get an extra guy there somehow, and if you get him there, you could lose someplace else. That's why they're rushing and throwing for as many yards as they are."

On MSU's blitz success over Ohio State and if the defense will continue that for the Michigan game...
"I don't think anything changes. We had blitz success and four-man pressure success against them (Ohio State). I think you go with your game plan and do what you want to do. It's a little bit of everything. I don't think you can blitz every down because then they're going to mix it up with a screen or something else, or throw it deep and beat you. I think you just have to mix it up; it's got to be a good mixture of everything."

On the scout team giving MSU good looks last year and if they're doing the same this year...
"We sure have. Mitchell White is playing corner, and when he's not in at corner, he's playing quarterback. Same as Tony Lippett. I feel bad for Tony, he's playing offense, he's playing defense and he's playing scout cornerback. But he did such a great job a year ago, our kids trust in that and they're like `Coach, we need Tony Lippett.' They truly believe he was a key to the success a year ago and he will continue to do that."

On working on jump balls in the secondary this week...
"No doubt about it. We will work on it every day this week. That will be one of our first individual drills is to work deep balls and jump balls. It comes down to who's going to make a play on the ball. Whether they're better or worse or what we were doing that for, everyone can second-guess. The ball's going to go up and there's usually going to be one guy way down there and we're going to have one guy down there trying to make a play on that ball. Whoever makes that play, like (Darqueze) Dennard did against Ohio State, that's going to happen - you're going to get in those one-on-one situations and we have to make a play."

Quarterbacks Coach Dave Warner

On getting ready to play Michigan...
"During the open week, we got some guys healed up. It's good to finally be in game week, because waiting around to play Michigan is a little bit stressful. It will be a great challenge. Their record is not deceiving. They deserve to be where they're at. You can see the improvements they've made over a year, and it shows on the field. We're going to have to be ready to go."

On Michigan's defensive backfield...
"Last year they were playing some young guys back there; they still are playing some young guys, even though they have (Troy) Woolfolk back from injury. (J.T.) Floyd is back. I think they've made great improvement there...This year they're getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback, which makes that secondary a little better."

On the look of Michigan's defense and if it resembles more of an NFL-style defense...
"It probably is. They vary from week to week based on who they're going against and what they feel they can do to stop that offense. They're going to throw a lot of different looks at you. It might not be anything unconventional, but they're going to give you a lot of things to prepare for. It sort of seems like they have a theme of the week of what they're going to do to put some pressure on you."

On Kirk Cousins...
"I think he's playing well. He's led this team to a 4-1 record. Certainly there's been some plays that he'd like to have back, as there's probably some plays a lot of us would like to have back for various reasons. A lot of guys make mistakes on the football field. He's playing good. He's got a lot of football in front of him yet this year. We expect him to lead us to some good things."

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