Media Briefing With Assistant Coaches - Part 1
 
 
 
Red-shirt freshman wide receiver Bennie Fowler catches a pass at practice.
 
Red-shirt freshman wide receiver Bennie Fowler catches a pass at practice.
 
 

Dec. 27, 2010

Video | Podcasts: Gill | Salem | Roushar

ORLANDO, Fla. - The Michigan State football team conducted its second bowl practice in Orlando at Freedom High School on Monday. Prior to practice, secondary coach Harlon Barnett, defensive line coach Ted Gill, offensive line coach Dan Roushar and running backs coach Brad Salem met with the media to talk about the matchup against Alabama.

Secondary Coach Harlon Barnett

On facing a receiver the caliber of Julio Jones...
(While at Cincinnati, we went against) Rodney White, who is with the Atlanta Falcons right now. He was a really good football player, and obviously you're seeing it. Nobody knew about him like they know about Julio (Jones), because he (White) was at UAB. But we knew about him when we were at Cincinnati playing against him, so it reminds me of that a little bit. A really good football player that we had to go out and play with good technique, go out and play and challenge him, compete, and see what happens.

On if MSU will change its technique against Jones...
(We have to) make sure we do our technique on what they've been taught and what they've been coached on, and execute. That's what it's all about. So we'll see what happens. He's (Jones) on scholarship just like we are, and I'm sure he'll make some plays, and we'll have a chance to make some plays as well.

On how Alabama uses Jones...
He's all over the place. It's a smart move on their part. You have to put your guys in a position to give them a chance to make plays. It will be a challenge, but we'll be up for it.

On putting too much emphasis on Jones...
You have to respect all of the other guys as well...It's a very talented offensive football team. We have a challenge ahead of us. We'll come out and compete and see what happens. I feel like we have a good plan. We just have to execute.

On the safeties helping out with the run...
It's very important. We count on our guys to be able to do that, week in and week out. In the conference that we play in, you have to get down and be able to stop the run, as well as the pass. It's about technique, eye control , those type of things. Execution. If we get that done, we should be all right.

Defensive Line Coach Ted Gill

On the challenge of facing Alabama...
Well, the biggest thing for us is to continue to do what we've been doing, and that's continue working on our techniques, stopping the run, and trying to adjust to what a team does best.

On Alabama's offensive line...
They're big, physical. I think Joe (Pendry) does a good job, I've worked with Joe (with the Carolina Panthers, 1996-97). Joe's a good technician. He has those guys playing real hard. I'm really pleased, as I look at them I see some similarities of when we worked together. He continues to really build on making those guys better every game.

On if Alabama's running game isn't as strong as last year's...
They're very capable. They're young in a lot of spots and they've had some injuries. I think when they keep their continuity, they're a pretty good offensive line.

On creating different looks, and how some teams have tried to stop the run with eight-man fronts...
Sometimes, you give a team different looks, that slows some things down, especially when you have a combination of young guys and old guys in there. Sometimes the youth doesn't have the experience...and they have trouble with those kinds of things. All in all, I think they've done a good job of really creating some opportunities for guys to play a lot. It gives them a lot of depth.

On the heavy rotation at defensive line...
I still think you have to do that in today's football because of the things that teams try to do. For a guy to play a whole game like that, really you tire him out, and he's not effective as he should be if he's rested. So we'll continue to rotate and play a lot of guys because that's been our success.

On the health of the defensive line...
After you're around for two weeks, you can get everybody healthy. I think that really helps our team to mold and get better. We'll get better at those little things, and I think guys are eager to play, so that will help us in practice situations and things like that.

On sending out Colin Neely a winner...
Colin has been in this program a long time. He's done a good job. You would like for a guy to end on a good note, and so we're excited about him being at this point in his career.

Offensive Line Coach Dan Roushar

On the challenges of facing Alabama...
As I look at Alabama, they're multiple with their three-down package and their four-down package. That strikes me first. Secondly, their personnel is exceptional. Those become real big challenges to us.

On if he thinks MSU is a typical, Big Ten "pound it" kind of line...
We're striving for that. That's what we've tried to do when we came in, be able to run the football, vertically. We continue to get better. I don't know if typical is the right word anymore with college football. Everybody's in one back, and in multiple sets. There's a little bit of two tight end stuff that we do. We were able to run the football pretty effectively for the most part of the season.

On Alabama's team speed...
That's a good question. I think we'll see that on game day, but they look to be like any one of the very good defenses in the Big Ten to me. They're very physical, extremely well-coached, fundamentally very sound. You look at the top of our league, and you see those kind of defenses in Ohio State and Iowa. Those guys play great defense. I think they're very similar.

On Alabama having different defensive looks...
You know Nick (Saban) and their defensive staff are going to have some adjustments for us. They've had a lot of time to prepare, so there will be things that we're not prepared for. You hope your schemes are strong enough to control those things. But he'll have some stuff ready for us, I'm sure of that.

On the health of the offensive line...
I think we're pretty solid. This time of year, had some time off. That's always your biggest concern. You're off for over a month, how you're going to line up and play. Even after a bye week, you're always worried. There's a one week time. Now you're talking 4-5 weeks. I'm anxious to find out what we're like on Saturday.

Running Backs Coach Brad Salem

On the keys of the game...
Obviously, any game you go into, whether it's a bowl game or just a regular season game, is can you control the line of scrimmage? That will dictate what's going to happen in the game, both sides of the football. (They're) very athletic on defense, very physical, and so we need to somewhat establish the line of scrimmage. The team that's going to be able to run is going to have success.

On comparing Alabama's defense to any in the Big Ten...
(They're) very reflective of Big Ten defenses. There's a physical component to them. Maybe bigger, I think, than some of the schools we've seen. They're big up front, but then have the ability to run. Very athletic. We definitely have a challenge in front of us.

On the rotation at running back, and if Edwin Baker will get a majority of the carries...
That's kind of how it's evolved. Edwin has kind of stepped up to be the front leader a little bit, and so he's gotten more plays. We're fortunate to have three backs that have the ability to run the ball and catch the ball, and block. We've been healthy with three running backs which has been nice, and the neat thing is that they compete every day and they make each other better out here at practice.

On Le'Veon Bell...
He's had a great attitude. Again, a first-year freshman straight out of high school, and we were fortunate to have him in the spring, got dinged up a little bit midseason, but he's just like he was in the spring, in fall camp and earlier in the season.

On people focusing on Alabama's rushing attack rather than Michigan State's...
They (MSU's running backs) haven't really brought that up. Those guys watch, they know the other team and the other opponent, not just defensively, but who are the other running backs, and I suppose they take that as a challenge. Again, they have to do what they do. They have to play hard and obviously give great effort on Saturday.