A promising two years lie ahead for Marcus Rush, a sophomore who has already started at defensive end for two years. After a solid freshman campaign, Rush worked to build on his early success. In the process, the Cincinnati native developed leadership qualities and became more consistent. Though Rush had a stellar 2012 campaign, notching 35 tackles and 7 tackles for loss, the Spartans did not have the year they expected. Michigan State nevertheless earned a bid to play in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl against TCU. Before continuing his preparation for the exciting matchup on Dec. 29, Rush took a moment to talk with Hondo S. Carpenter Sr. and other members of the media on a variety of topics, including his improvement over the past year.
- Heading into the season, Rush realized that he needed to be a leader on the young defense. Though only a redshirt sophomore, he rose to the occasion to become a major presence in the locker room and the huddle. “You sit back and see that we were a young team and that there’s not too many seniors on the team…I realized that coming into the season and I just did my best to be a leader.” Rush also recognized that he needed to step up and be a key contributor. “Becoming a leader, you take bigger roles. You realize that you have Will [Gholston] on one side and you got me on the other, and they’re probably going to run away from Will since he’s 6’7, 290 [pounds].”
Though Rush started all 13 games for the Spartans last season, performing well in many of them, he was not a leader on defense. It boils down to one difference between the two seasons for Rush: “Consistency. Last year I had [a few] inconsistent games, and that comes with being young,” he said. “Coming into camp, I really wanted to emphasize being consistent.” Part of doing so rests on pushing harder to be the best. Realizing this truth, with a bit of encouragement from the coaches, Rush put extra emphasis on working hard in practice. Even though he has made great strides in this area, he is still not satisfied. “You talk to the coaches and they want you to practice harder, and it’s still not where I want it to be. That’s an area I want to work on, practicing harder like there’s a game every single day.”
With Michigan State’s Buffalo Wild Wings matchup against TCU just around the corner, the Spartans have worked hard in practice to insert new twists into the defensive game plan. “It’s always fun to do something different, and especially when it works, it’s a lot better,” Rush said. “That’s what bowl games are for: trying to work things around and move some guys around and see how things work out.”
- Spartan fans are hoping that the upcoming bowl game is not the last time they will see junior defensive end Will Gholston and defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi in the Green and White. Gholston is one of three MSU juniors (along with Dion Sims and LeVeon Bell) requesting the NFL advisory board to evaluate their draft status. He has not yet decided whether to stay with the Spartans for his senior season or depart for the NFL. As to the topic, Rush commented: “I don’t really say much about it [to him]. It’s up to him what he wants to do and whatever leads him to stay. I don’t have any persuasion for it.” As to Narduzzi, though the rumors that swirled in the past few weeks have died down, the possibility is always present that a head coaching job will lure the stellar defensive coordinator away from East Lansing. Rush handles the situation the same way he does for Gholston. “Sometimes we like to give him some grief, but, again, there’s nothing I can really say.” As far to whether the defensive players have any inkling of Narduzzi’s plans, Rush said: “I don’t really know what’s going on. We’re focusing on the bowl game right now.”
- As the offseason quickly approaches, Rush can’t believe how fast the past two years flew by. “You look back, just this past week, you realize, ‘Man, I’m going to be a senior in school and I still have two more seasons.’ But it’s crazy to think about it, and you just have to take every moment in and love every second of it.”