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Player Quotes: Indiana

Oct. 18, 2017

Game Notes | Depth Chart

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Several Michigan State players met with the media on Tuesday to preview this Saturday's MSU Homecoming game against Indiana.

Michigan State welcomes Indiana to Spartan Stadium for Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 3:30 p.m. as the Spartans look to start 4-0 in Big Ten play for the fifth time under 11th-year head coach Mark Dantonio. The game will be broadcast nationally on ABC and will also be available via WatchESPN. MSU (5-1, 3-0 Big Ten) moved up three spots in both of the national polls this week (No. 18 Associated Press, No. 19 Coaches) following its 30-27 win at Minnesota last Saturday night. The Hoosiers dropped to 3-3 (0-3 Big Ten) after falling in overtime at home to No. 17/16 Michigan, 27-20.

This year’s theme for Michigan State’s 102nd Homecoming is “Uniquely Spartan.” The 2017 MSU Homecoming Parade begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 20; the parade starts at the Hannah Community Center, travels down Abbot to Grand River, and into campus at the Farm Lane entrance. For more information on Homecoming, please visit homecoming.msu.edu.

Below are quotes from the players that spoke to the media on Tuesday:

Junior running back L.J. Scott:

On being on the sideline during Michigan Game…
It wasn’t the feeling that I wanted to feel, but if I’m not going, then why not support the guys that are out there.

 

 

On relief of having a dominant performance at Minnesota...
Hopefully we can just keep this thing rolling and keep pushing.

On when he realized it was going to be a big game at Minnesota…
Going to the game I felt like that I was just excited. Whenever I’m at that level during pregame, I just feel like it’ll be a good night and a good day.

On Indiana doing whatever they can to make sure he doesn’t run the ball…
I definitely do (like that challenge), knowing that Indiana has a lot of guys back from previous years. Mostly all of those guys on that defense are seniors, I know they’re hard-nosed. It’s been like that since my freshman year and I’ve always said that, but as a power back, that’s definitely the types of games that I like. It’s a physical game.

On not wanting quarterback Brian Lewerke to be the team’s leading rusher…
Honestly it’s big, but with him running the ball that’s always a threat. Therefore everyone always has to take away a runner.

On being eligible for a bowl game with a win this weekend…
At the end of the day, we’re just here to exceed our goals, and the bowl game is definitely one of our goals since we didn’t make it last year. Like I said, continue to push forward and get better.

On if the team is ahead of where he thought it would be…
We knew if we kept working things would pay off. I’m not going to say we knew we were going to beat every team, but the way we played last year, that was not Michigan State football.

Junior tight end Chase Gianacakos:

On getting grief from the offensive line after switching to tight end…
They like to make fun of me saying I’ll probably never go out for a pass or something like that. I like to give them some grief as well, saying that I get to do what we all want to do. Every offensive lineman wants to be a tight end, every offensive lineman wants to go out for a pass. I think it’s pretty cool that I have that opportunity.

Redshirt freshman offensive tackle Luke Campbell:

On enjoying time in the film room…
I do for sure, I try to take as many notes as I can. I really stay in the film book and watch as much film as I can, because it’s a whole other aspect of the game that can give you an edge on the next guy.

On what stands out about Indiana on film…
They are physical and they play really hard. They’ve got a pretty solid defense, got some good linebackers and some good defensive linemen. It’ll be a good game, it will be a tough game.

On if throwing changes the mindset of the line…
I don’t mind throwing. It’s just working my technique each and every play. We throw the ball pretty well, we’ve got Brian (Lewerke) behind us, he’s an outstanding quarterback. We’ve got really good receivers to throw it to, we’ve got really good running backs to block for him and to throw to. We’re very versatile all around so it doesn’t really matter what we call as long as we get first downs.

Freshman running back Connor Heyward:

On getting respect from older players…
Yea for sure, you can’t take it for granted, because they don’t have to like you, they don’t, but they like us and that’s a good thing. I like all of our teammates, even the older guys. The younger guys, we have a special bond.

On what stands out on film about Indiana…
They’re very physical. Everybody has good experience. (Tegray) Scales is a really good player. I know two of their corners are from Georgia and they are really good players too. On film you can definitely see who the stars are.

Sophomore linebacker Joe Bachie:

On getting pressure in the backfield against Minnesota…
The passing game, we had to contain him more - he was able to step up into the pocket, which hurt us. We should have made some adjustments on the field seeing that, but moving forward we’re going to take it step-by-step. We’re going to keep doing what we’re doing up front. Hopefully our defensive backs - I know they will - are going to continue to put it down back there, so it’s a huge thing for us.

On being focused and stepping back to enjoy this season…
Yeah, I enjoy this whole thing, I enjoy football. There’s no time to step back, we have another opponent coming up this week, so you have to start breaking down Indiana. They’re a solid team, they’ve played pretty quality teams in the Big Ten. Their 0-3 record doesn’t really show that. We’re just going to move forward, and there’s no time to step back.

Sophomore quarterback Brian Lewerke:

On the other teams reading him on pass plays…
I think I’m getting there, there’s some times where I can see that. I’m not sure if I have the freedom to do that. I’d say that’s something you kind of get when you’re a little older. I am getting to the point where I realize stuff like that and try to check out.

On anything that surprises him this season about the Big Ten…
Every Big Ten game is big for the conference, for your individual season. Obviously the Big Ten schedule is one that you want to win out.

On playing in the rain the past couple of games…
It definitely hasn’t helped. It was worse during the Michigan game. The second half of the Minnesota game it wasn’t too bad - it was more dry. It definitely doesn’t help, but it’s something you have to get through if you want to succeed.

On running ball while ahead in Minnesota…
We were up in the second half, trying to be more conservative and be a little safer after the turnover in the first half that I threw. You definitely just want to run the ball out, and obviously our running game was working very well, so we just tried to continue to do that.

Senior offensive lineman Brian Allen:

On the young guys showing progress…
We’re all kind of at different stages in terms of playing time. Luke (Campbell) obviously has been starting the whole year. He’s further along than Kevin (Jarvis), who’s been in there the last couple of games. All of them are getting better each week. They’re learning from their mistakes, and very few mistakes are being repeated. They’re very coachable and they’re always asking for advice. It’s just good to have guys that really want to be good, and they’re showing that.

On how the coaching differs with such young guys on the line…
They’re just, not strict, but they’re just a little harder on guys just to make sure nothing slacks and just moving forward and we’re trying to get better every day.

On understanding that there will be mistakes made with a young team…
You always know, but at the same time having three or four freshmen that get in there, more (mistakes) happen, and our job as upperclassmen is to not get upset and coach it more than get aggravated. I think they’ve done a great job at taking it, whereas in the past guys would get upset and think people were coming at them. We’re just trying to help them out and they know that. Same with Coach (Staten), we’re just trying to make everyone better. It’s been a better growing environment, and people are willing to learn more.

Sophomore defensive end Kenny Willekes:

On putting pressure on himself to get sacks...
I just felt like I wasn’t playing well enough. I felt I had to elevate my play.

On what he did to earn the sacks at Minnesota…
Just getting experience, being out there, learning more and more each week. Then obviously there’s little tweaks each week, but the biggest one is that I had to get back to being more physical.

On having two sacks each against Michigan and Minnesota…
It’s obviously a pretty incredible feeling. I obviously had no sacks in the first four games, so getting two back-to-back is a good feeling; but it’s just a testament to the defense as well as my fellow defensive lineman Raequan (Williams) and Mike Panasiuk constantly getting the push up front and kicking the quarterback out to me. We’ve just been playing hard as a defense, so I’m not too worried about personal success. I’m just glad that we keep winning - we’re 5-1.

On letting up late in the fourth quarter at Minnesota…
We lost our focus a little bit. We got a little too relaxed. We were up 30-13, I believe, we got a little too relaxed. Number 11 (Demry Croft) came in and made some plays. I’ve got to give credit to Minnesota, but I felt like we got a little too relaxed and it’s unacceptable.

On earning the starting role…
It’s obviously a good feeling to be able to help out. After all the hard work we put in each and every day, it’s nice to finally get out there and play after not playing football for two years. I love playing football. It’s just a testament to my teammates, my roommates, my coaches for just being able to push me and help me develop so much as a player. Where I came in day one to where I’m at now - I’m leaps and bounds ahead.

On being a difference maker…
Obviously that’s my goal each and every game, each and every play, is to make a difference. Our defense has been playing well each and every player - all 11 have been playing fast and physical.

On becoming a defensive end in the Big Ten…
I think it’s just a lot of hard work and preparation. Listening to what the coaches say. Coach Snyder has taught me a great deal of technique over the last year. I’m using my hands a lot more, which I obviously didn’t do when I came in as a linebacker. I didn’t come in with a lot of technique. He’s obviously helped my technique a ton, and it’s helped me tremendously.

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