Q: How’s the defense looking so far?

A: Okay. Next?

Q: Talk to me about some of the young guys. Different dynamic with the quarterbacks being live? How good is it?

A: It’s really, it’s really good for them, fun for them to really turn loose and not have to stop their feet. Because it’s a bad habit to have to stop your feet anytime you’re going after a quarterback. You’re not doing it in a game, end up stopping cause that’s what you a habit of doing for whatever, a year, 2 years, for us it’s 6 years. So we have been live since we’ve been here. So it’s good for them.

Q: How does it bode well for the quarterbacks?

A: I don’t care. I don’t know. I haven’t asked them lately.

Q: Is that good? Some good repetitions to get them chasing live? It’s kind of like the Rocky movie chasing chickens around.

A: That’s right, no doubt about it. It’s good for them. It’s good for them.

Q: Have you seen some progress in Shilique Calhoun? He looked pretty good in the bowl game. I know he…

A: Yeah. He’s been good. He’s had six practices. We’re very, very pleased with the way he’s played. He’s played well for us. So we’re happy for him.

Q: Any other young guys stepping up?

A: Any other young guys… Trae Waynes had a great bowl game. He’s had six great days of practice. Excited about where he is. Demetrious Cox has shown some good things. We got a little play star at 3rd down at nickel back. I’ve seen some things I really like out of him. He’s smart. Ezra Robinson, Jermaine Edmondson, doing reps with the 2’s right now. Darqueze is hot and that’s been a bonus in the corner spot. So a lot of young DB work in there. And all those guys have done a nice job. Another guy that hasn’t played a whole lot is Arjen Colquhoun. Made some great plays today in practice. He’s just gotta keep progressing and being consistent. Linebacker spot Riley Bullough is backing up his brother Max right now in spring ball and really has done a nice job. Had a nice goal line pear down last practice so Riley’s doing well at the mike. All the other linebackers are pretty old. D line, Shilique’s not young but he is. It’s a work in progress for a lot of the D tackles.

Q: I saw Taiwan Jones and Darien Harris out there, those two guys playing outside linebacker. As those guys get older that might become more common place?

A: Oh there’s no doubt about it. They’re two good athletes. They like to be on the field at the same time.

Q: What did you see today? I know you haven’t seen film of today’s practice yet, but anything raise your eyebrows or just more of the same?

A: Jus the intensity and the attitude. I was just talking to a couple of coaches from Ohio. They said, I’ve never seen anything like that. There’s 11 guys on the ball every play. And just to hear a high school coach say that to me is impressive. That’s I guess what I saw. The kids got great attitude, they’re flying around after the football. That’s what it’s all about. They might make a mistake here or there but at least they’re getting after it.

Q: What about Riley Bullough, tell me a little bit more about him at linebacker?

A: Every day he gets better. He’s so green at the position. It’s the first time we’ve put him in the mike position and he’s really picking it up. Every day he gets better and we see progress with him in the mike position. Picking up right where his brother is, talking about Riley Bullough.

Q: Lyles’ playing mostly defensive end right now?

A: Yeah, he’s gonna….he’s played both but with just our depth at defensive end. He’s done a nice job. He’s getting better every day too. It’ll be interesting to see how he does today.

Q: What would you like to see in the scrimmages?

A: Dominance. I just wanna see guys execute. That’s all you can ask for as a coach is just execution. Just do what you’re supposed to do and make plays.

Q: What’s jumping out at you so far?

A: The big thing that jumps out at me is when I walk off the field and there’s four coaches from the state of Ohio, from probably one of the power schools in the state of Ohio, the head coach, defensive end and staff. Say, Coach I’ve never seen anybody run around like that with 11 guys in play. That’s what we did from inside all the way up until last training period. So that’s the biggest thing. Just our attitude in our kids and the way they fly around. They just got it. You don’t have to coach it as much anymore.

Q: Who’s spearheading it? Max? Is some other guys emerging as leaders?

A: Me?

Q: Well, yeah you.

A: It’s our attitude, it’s what we do. They’re all leaders. What I’m saying is it’s built and the kids are running the football. We think about it every day that they’re running the ball but then when you hear a high school coach say, Golly Coach that was unbelievable. I can’t believe what I saw. That’s when you go, Hmm I guess we’re doing okay. I wouldn’t have said that had a high school coach not said it to me. To me I get graded by what other people say when they watch. That’s the biggest compliment to me

Q: Has that gotten better over the years?

A: I think it has. I think it has. I don’t think the coaching’s hard. I think maybe it comes naturally and that’s what’s expected.

Q: What’s Coach Burton brought?

A: He’s brought a lot of enthusiasm. I think Coach Gill was a great coach and everything. But Ron Burton has a little more enthusiasm about it and I think the kids are really… Gholston comes up after practice and goes, Man, Coach I feel like I’m missing something. It’s good to hear him say that too.

Q: Cornerback Trae Waynes…

A: Trae Waynes is playing super. Darqueze is out, but we feel like we’ve got two topnotch corners that are quick with Darqueze and Trae out there. We’re really excited with what Trae’s done. He’s had six big practices. I don’t think he’s given up a pass over 10 yards in six practices so I think he’s a lockdown. He’s done that since TCU in our bowl game. He played unbelievable. I don’t think we’ve had a chance to talk since that bowl game, but he played great. Which is kind of what we expected of him but we weren’t sure what we were gonna get. He hasn’t had a chance to play much during the year, unfortunately. But he’s playing real well at the corner and we have Robinson and Jermaine Edmondson, Arjen and guys with the 2’s that are getting a lot of reps. We’ll find out. It’s a big spring for us.

Q: Demetrious Cox.

A: Demetrious Cox is doing good. He’s getting reps with the 2’s right now, getting full time reps with the 2s. And he’s also getting some reps in as our star on the 3rd down package. He’s done a nice job at it too. He’s shown some ability to go blitz the quarterback. He’s been great in coverage too.

Q: Jones working at star linebacker?

A: He’s playing star linebacker. He’s playing star linebacker, he’s playing safety as well. So he’s playing a little bit of both. Just with his athleticism… We’ve got pretty good depth in safety for spring. We’ll find out if he can do both and I think he can.

Q: There was a play in the bowl game, it was like a 3rd down, where Trae Wayne stuck his head in there and took on a run. Do you remember that?

A: Nope.

Q: But anyway, you might remember he showed he could play the run. No surprise?

A: No surprise. He’s a tough kid. He’s one of my better tacklers back there, he’s always been one of our better tacklers in practice. So that didn’t surprise me at all. He’ll hit ya.

Q: The back seven looks obviously loaded, maybe the front four a little bit of a question mark? Is that fair to say?

A: I would say the depth in the front four might be, but when you’re looking at defensive ends with Rush and Calhoun at the defensive end spot. Then you’ve got, Joel Heath has been playing well. The last two days he’s really turned it on and I think he’s just starting to come back to him a little bit. And then Denzel Drone, those are four pretty good ends. So I feel really good with the four ends you’re talking about there. I wish we had 10 more. Then inside, Tyler Hoover is having a good spring, and then Micajah Reynolds and Kittredge are playing well inside. A lot of those young guys, you know…Lawrence Thomas. He’s getting reps, he’s showing some good things. He’s been banged up a little bit, gotta keep him healthy. But Brandon Clemons, David Fennell, all those guys are getting reps and we’re gonna find out and see how they shake out.

Q: Anything that Marcus Rush, he’s a player. What do you want him to do to get to the next level? What does he need to polish up?

A: He needs to polish up his pass rushing skills. Coach Burton been working with him and has been identifying some things that we haven’t seen in the past. If we can just clean up his pass rushing I think that’ll make him a better football player. When we went back and watched all the cuts, Hoover was our best tackle. I love Rashad White, Rashad’s played well, but Hoover…as we went through all the cuts, we’re like Hoover was the best tackle we had on our team last year.

Q: Even in September?

A: All throughout the whole year. We looked at it fundamentally… Hoover’s doing what he’s supposed to do; Hoover’s doing what he’s supposed to do. That was a bonus. That’s not saying, Okay we don’t need Rashad. Rashad was a great player for us. But Hoover technically did the right things most of the time.

Q: Also, do you notice he’s stronger as far as double team, technique wise?

A: Yeah, a little bit. He should be. His second year in it. He’s only played D tackle for a year.

Q: He says he wants to be a dominant defensive tackle. Do you think that’s possible for him?

A: No doubt about it. 6’6”, 300 lbs.

About Hondo S. Carpenter Sr.

View all posts by Hondo S. Carpenter Sr.
Hondo S. Carpenter, Sr. is the founder and publisher of SpartanNation.com and all of the family of services. The idea was birthed when overseas he ran into a Spartan not native to the United States who was wearing his Green and White proudly. He is dedicated to bringing you the latest and greatest information about Michigan State and Detroit Sports News every day. He resides in the Mid Michigan area. Follow Hondo on twitter here: @hondocarpenter.

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