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ROSE BOWL GAME: MICHIGAN STATE v STANFORD


December 27, 2013


Shilique Calhoun

Pat Narduzzi

Marcus Rush


PASADENA, CALIFORNIA

THE MODERATOR:テつ Coach, if you would please make a quick opening statement.
PAT NARDUZZI:テつ Well, it's great to be in LA.テつ I want to thank the Rose Bowl for having us out here.テつ It's going to be a great experience for our kids this entire week.テつ We're looking forward to the weather and the game on January 1st.

Q.テつ Your thoughts on the curve ball you were dealt over the last 24 hours and the attention to detail and the ability of your other players to step up given the challenge of not having Max with you.
PAT NARDUZZI:テつ Well, that's kind of what we do as football coaches is move on and play the next, and that's what we'll do.テつ I recall a year ago we were dealt a Johnny Adams with a toe injury.テつ He hurt his toe in practice and we didn't have him for the bowl game, and as coaches I just remember a year ago about this time being anxious to see what Trae Waynes was going to do.テつ I haven't looked back since, and I'm anxious to see what Kyler Elsworth and Darien Harris can do at that Mike linebacker spot.テつ I'm actually anxious of seeing what No.40 has done for years and I don't remember the last game we had a different Mike in there, but I'm anxious to see what someone else can do at that position.テつ I think Coach Tressel has done a great job of coaching those guys, and I'm actually looking forward to it.

Q.テつ Following up on that, are you splitting the ones with those two?テつ Is it a competition this week to see who's going to start?テつ Is anyone else possibly going to get in there?
PAT NARDUZZI:テつ Well, you never know.テつ I mean, we've talked about a different goal‑line package with maybe somebody different in there.テつ Could be either one of these two guys.テつ Shilique is smiling.テつ He's been begging, coach, I can play linebacker.テつ There may be a surprise for you there, or two, but for the most part, it's those two guys splitting reps, and it is a competition.テつ We're going to find out really who's going to be the starter.テつ I feel great with either one of them to be honest with you.テつ If we had to flip a coin on Wednesday to see who's going to start, I'd be fine with that, too.テつ I really feel good with how they practiced yesterday and what they've done the entire year.テつ Some guys just don't get a shot.テつ Trae Waynes didn't have a shot a year ago to be a starter because of Johnny Adams, and he got his shot and like I said he played phenomenal in the bowl game and he played phenomenal last spring, all camp, and I don't know if he's had a bad day of practice.テつ I can't say that about either one of these two guys, because they've had bad practices.テつ Trae Waynes hasn't had a bad practice.テつ So, I mean, it's the same thing with those guys.テつ They just haven't had a shot to show that they can get it done and make those calls and be the leader of that defense.テつ It'll be fun.テつ So they are splitting reps, and I don't know who it'll be, but it is a competition because I think to have your name on the starting list, when Lewandowski asks us next Tuesday or Wednesday who is going to start, I think to have your name be a starter for the 100th Rose Bowl Game, I think that's a special moment, and those guys are going to work for it.

Q.テつ You just mentioned what a special thing it is to start a game in the Rose Bowl, and I wondered just what sort of feelings the players and the coaches have for Max, who's going to miss that opportunity after such a fine career?
PAT NARDUZZI:テつ Well, again, we'd like to start talking about the Rose Bowl and these guys up here, so probably like to just cut it on that.テつ But obviously I feel bad for the whole Bullough family.テつ But that's about all.テつ But I'm excited for these guys here.テつ I'm excited to coach.テつ I think our whole staff is excited to play here in Pasadena in the 100th Rose Bowl, and that's where the focus should be.
MARCUS RUSH:テつ I mean, it's a disappointing situation.テつ As far as the team goes, we've just got to stay focused.テつ We came for a reason.テつ We've got a big game to play, and he's part of the team.テつ He's a brother to us, and the game goes out to him.テつ We're going to play for him, and we're going to put all we've got for him.テつ He's a big part of this defense, and it's a big reason we're here is because of Max.
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:テつ Just to reiterate what Coach Narduzzi and Russ said.テつ Guys got to step up.テつ That's what this team is about.テつ He's a great contributor to this team and he's always going to be one of our brothers, but we're looking forward to the Rose Bowl.テつ I send my condolences out to him and his family, but we're focused on the goal at hand and that's accomplishing a win in the Rose Bowl.

Q.テつ What challenges does Stanford's running game and offense present to you guys?
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:テつ I mean, it's pretty on obvious.テつ They have a lot of big guys up front.テつ They're a very powerful team, heavy set team, they don't try to run things slow, and they are not going to hide anything that they're going to do, it's going to be right in front of you, and the biggest thing is you just have to stop them.テつ We pride ourselves on stopping the run.テつ We're really going to really get after it.テつ It's going to be a fun game for us, fun game for them, and it'll be one for the ages.
MARCUS RUSH:テつ Shilique said it all.テつ They bring in a couple guys, they're obviously not tight ends.テつ They've got a couple of big guys in there.テつ They're a power team like Shilique said.テつ They'll run down your throat.テつ We've been practicing all week for them, and pretty much all year because we've been‑‑ even in camp, spring ball, they've run the same type of kind of offense we run.

Q.テつ Pat, before the season you said that last year you didn't rotate enough, you thought maybe that was part of the frustration at times in games.テつ Did you feel like you were way different this year and did it pay off in the fourth quarter?
PAT NARDUZZI:テつ You know, good question.テつ I think we probably rotated maybe up front a little bit more than we have.テつ These guys can answer that.テつ I think up front maybe inside our D‑tack spot we had more rotation and more pressure guys inside than maybe D‑ends, but I've always been‑‑ I don't want to take our best guys out, and to take either one of these guys off the field is probably not a very smart coaching move.テつ The only time they really come off in the game is if they need a blow, and we may have to give them a new signal this week if Coach Burton wants to take them out just to rotate some guys to take a signal back like that, like ho, ho, ho, where they can stay in, we'll have to put a new signal in, but we like to keep our best guys out on the field, and they've earned coming to the Rose Bowl.テつ They got us here.テつ They put pressure on the quarterback, they put pressure on the run game, and they deserve to play every minute of the Rose Bowl.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
I think we did a little bit more inside.テつ We didn't rotate much at the linebacker spot.テつ The corners need a break.テつ You didn't see 31 or 15 come off the field very often.テつ No.9, No.27 didn't come off the field very often.テつ So I would say no.テつ We try to win football games.

Q.テつ (No microphone.)
PAT NARDUZZI:テつ Well, I guess we've got a pretty good defense because we're here in LA, so I guess we did.テつ If we'd have got a little bit more pass rush against Notre Dame they'd still be here a week later, then we could have enjoyed Christmas at home.テつ I didn't get to have Christmas dinner at my house, so that's kind of disappointing.テつ Next?

Q.テつ Stanford is obviously very big and physical up front.テつ Is this as physical as you've seen up front this year, or do they compare to anything you've seen in the Big Ten?
MARCUS RUSH:テつ I would say we've played a lot of great teams this year.テつ Ohio State was one of the best, and you could compare them sort of to them because they're big guys, they're going to try to push you around, they're going to want to get a hold of you and make sure you're unable to do your job.テつ I would say we've seen a team play in that manner, obviously like in weight‑wise, but they don't run the same plays, not at all.
PAT NARDUZZI:テつ He's basically saying that they're physically as good as Ohio State up front from what we've seen on tape.テつ You don't know until we get out there on the field.テつ Strategically, they run ‑‑ they're not a spread offense.テつ They're going to line up in two backs and try to pound it at you and line up in two tight ends and two backs.テつ But we faced that in the Big Ten, we face it with our offense, and personally I think they're very similar to what a Wisconsin was.テつ I've said this before, was a year ago.テつ I think their staff and Brett Bielema's staff have gotten together the last 10 years because I think it's very similar, and I think that's what we're going to face.

Q.テつ Shilique, when you get to a bowl situation you're looking at game tape of a team you really don't know that much about.テつ Can you talk about the difference between when you're in the Big Ten and you know the opponents so well after so many years and now you're looking at guys, and what jumps out at you about looking at that Stanford offense?
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:テつ I would say the biggest thing is that you have to study film.テつ You can learn a lot from it.テつ Even though you don't play the team, you haven't played them, you can find tendencies, you can understand what they do well, what they don't do so well.テつ You can understand where they're going just by their stance.テつ There's a lot of things you go to Stanford film.テつ It is a big difference from playing that team in the past year to not playing this team at all, being the first time playing them, but I would say that it helps a lot and it helps you understand what works well for you and what works well for the whole defense and what doesn't work so well for their offense.テつ It'll be a great challenge to get out there against those guys.テつ We're going to play hard like we always do.テつ We come out fired up.テつ You see our defensive coordinator.テつ It's going to be a rumble in the jungle for sure.
MARCUS RUSH:テつ Like Shilique said it's a whole new team, whole new personnel.テつ You see all new faces on the sheets.テつ A guy looks like Mike Sadler, there's a bunch of guys that look like us.テつ But I mean, watching the film, it's exciting because it's a whole new team and a whole new scheme.テつ They've got the big guys, and it's going to be fun to play against them because they have no idea what we do, and it's going to be‑‑ as far as defense, we're going to come out here and we're going to do what we do.

Q.テつ If you were an offensive coordinator looking at Michigan State, what would stand out?テつ What would be the things you'd try to avoid, try to shut down?
PAT NARDUZZI:テつ If I was the offensive coordinator playing us, I would say I'd find out if we could trade the game out.
No, I don't know.テつ If I was an offensive coordinator having to play our defense, I guess the only smart offensive and defensive coordinators would do what they do.テつ I guess that's why Stanford is so good.テつ You don't go in and say who's my opponent, it's more about who we are, not who they are.テつ I would say Stanford is going to look at it the same way I look at it and say what's got them to this game, and they're probably looking at us saying we're no different than seven or eight of their teams on their schedule already that they played, and they're going to go out and play with the best men that they've got and see what happens.

Q.テつ Dantonio said yesterday play the ball in the deep part of the field, the smashmouth element of Stanford.テつ Any comparisons to Notre Dame?テつ Brian Kelly make it no secret that he was going to isolate your DBs, throw the ball up and look to draw flags.テつ Do you sort of anticipate that out of Stanford?
PAT NARDUZZI:テつ If that was your game plan that's kind of a crazy game plan, but he's a good coach, so maybe it was.テつ I think we probably had as many in that game as we had the entire year after that.テつ I don't think that's a weakness at all for us.テつ I hope they throw the ball up in the air because hopefully it's a zero‑yard gain and a low‑percentage throw.テつ We invite that with Trae Waynes and Darqueze and Isaiah and Kurtis Drummond, you know that no‑fly zone.テつ We invite them to throw it up there, because I feel pretty good because what we've got back there.テつ I don't know what their game plan is.テつ If we knew that, we might play different coverage.

Q.テつ There's been so much talk about not to get specifically into Max, but when he was out there about making the calls and having everybody in the right position, that kind of stuff.テつ Does that take a hit in a game like this when it happens so quickly or do you limit yourself at all or does it help that Kyler is a senior?
PAT NARDUZZI:テつ We've got a lot of smart guys out there.テつ Coach Tressel sits in the linebacker room and it's not like he's just talking to one guy.テつ He's talking to everybody in there.テつ I just noticed Denicos Allen yesterday speaking more.テつ I think when you've got a guy in the middle that you trust, just like Geno or Marcus here, if I know what I'm doing, then these guys can be quiet, but if a guy in the middle is not there, I think Denicos could take over and make the calls.テつ He's been hearing it, but Denicos doesn't speak up a whole bunch, because he doesn't have to.テつ But now he maybe has to because he's been in the game situations, but I really trust Kyler Elsworth and Darien Harris to make those calls.テつ It's not very difficult.テつ They just haven't had the opportunity.テつ It's all about opportunity.テつ Max has had the opportunity and done it and done a great job throughout his career, and the other guys, it's why we practice.テつ If we didn't have any practice time and those guys didn't make any reps and they were on the IR then maybe I'd have concern, but I've got no fear those guys can do what they need to do.

Q.テつ Shilique and Marcus, when Coach Narduzzi's name came up for the UConn job and he was interviewing, can you talk about what it meant to you when he said he was coming back to Michigan State?
SHILIQUE CALHOUN:テつ I knew he was coming back.テつ I threatened him (laughter.)テつ No, it's great to have him on there, having him at practice, having him in the games, he's a brilliant man.テつ He's like a mad scientist when it comes to football.テつ That'll keep him here for another year.
No, it's nice to have him, especially because he pumps up the team, and if you're on the field or at practice and you see the passion within his eyes, you understand that you want to get the job done even more.テつ It's a complete let down to you and everyone else, and the worst thing is letting him down, so to have him there to keep pushing you, even when he doesn't have to say anything, even though he is going to say something, just to have him there to push you, it's great.テつ It makes you want to be a better player.テつ It makes you want to play harder every play.テつ It makes you want to give your all and make sure‑‑ he doesn't feel like you let him down because that's one the biggest things, you never want to let your coach down.
MARCUS RUSH:テつ Like Shilique said, I didn't hear about it until now, and it's huge.テつ That's good.テつ He's like my father.テつ I love him, and it's exciting.テつ You know, he's like the soul of our defense.テつ He's a huge‑‑ he's the reason we're here.テつ The fact that we're in Pasadena is because of him and his defensive schemes.テつ It's ridiculous.
I mean, I don't even know what to say.テつ Players make plays.テつ That's what I say.

Q.テつ Is Lawrence Thomas getting more work?テつ Is there a chance he might get a little more time?
PAT NARDUZZI:テつ We've moved Lawrence to defensive end and see enough of him inside.テつ I'm not sure if he's a D‑tackle or not, mentally, physically, he's a great athlete.テつ We've got to find a way to get him on the field for sure.テつ Again, it's hard when you've got these two guys next to you trying to get a rep, but like I said, I feel good if he had to go in at that position and that he knows what to do.テつ He obviously needs the opportunity to get out there, so we've kind of moved him a little bit more to defensive end to see if we can get him to be more productive there than he was inside.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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