Darqueze Dennard said no to the NFL to come back to MSU & He Talks Spring Football with High Praise for QBs and Riley Bullough!
Q: Does it feel good to be playing?
A: Yeah, it’s good to be back out there with my teammates, running around a little bit.
Q: Let me ask you a very simple question. You could have left early for the NFL. They wanted you, they liked you. You chose to come back. That means something to you to hand a degree to grandma and family. People don’t know that side of you, DD.
A: Yeah, it means a lot. I did have the opportunity to leave. I sat down and talked to my mama and my grandparents. Basically, when I got my scholarship we all sat down and talked about it and the goal is to get a degree. Football is not going to be there forever. Always have a backup plan. That’s the major decision I had to make is to come back and get my degree and play for this wonderful University, of course.
Q: For somebody like me that’s known you since high school, there is nothing arrogant about you. You’re one of the most humble people I’ve ever met. But you’re different this year. You knew you could have went to the NFL, you know that your game is elite now, you got a chance to be an All American Cornerback. You’re still not arrogant, but you’re walking with an air of confidence that I haven’t seen before. Even when you had the yellow jersey on you’re coaching.
A: Yeah, I’d say that. I just feel like I stepped into the role, which is me being the older guy, me being the senior, me and Isaiah. We gotta take different roles. We can’t just sit back on the backburner like we did. I wouldn’t say sit on the backburner, but pretty much sit on the sideline, coaching up our guys. We also have to build the team. We can coach the linebackers a little bit because we know the defense. So, I say it’s just a confidence that we all had to take on and basically I just gotta be a bigger leader this year.
Q: I wanna go back to the first interview I ever did with you when you were in high school. I asked what is your definition of defense and you said to me, Dominate. This defense is dominating. Your offense has not looked great. You guys have done an excellent job. Are you enjoying that domination or does it bother you because it’s your guys?
A: It doesn’t bother me a little bit. I know that they’re great players on the offensive side. They don’t have me worried at all because I know…we are top defense in the nation. We know that. We have the talent to be the top five defense in the nation this upcoming year. With our offense playing against us and we’re just not dominating them all the time. Like the last scrimmage, they had a couple good plays, 2 minute drives.in the last scrimmage, which gave them that much confidence. Which they could play with us, which they can. All I say is, with us being that good that makes our offense that better.
Q: You’ve done reps against all three quarterbacks now, so let’s start with Andrew. What makes Andrew a good quarterback? When he’s on the field, what is DD looking at?
A: Andrew’s a smart player. He’s a very smart player. He’s been through it with Kirk Cousins. I’d have played against him too. He’s doing a good thing in the NFL. Pretty much got his against Kirk. I’d say Andrew’s a great quarterback. He’s got skills with the arm, he’s got a great arm, and he knows offense very well.
Q: A lot of cornerbacks though, DD, are guys who like to hit and will step up. So that brings us to Tyler O’Connor and Connor Cook. They love to use their legs. You’re like a linebacker at corner. You love to come up and hit, don’t you?
A: Yeah, I’d say I like to hit. It’s because that’s how our defense is. I’m not scared of nobody. I don’t think none of our defense is, especially playing with Coach Barnett. He don’t preach sacredness. With him being a player here, and watching his tape, just trying to live up to him.
Q: How about O’Connor now? You talked about Andrew. Break him down for us. What does he bring to the table when you see him?
A: He’s got a great arm. He throws a great deep ball. He extends the play a lot. He’s got nice running ability; he’s not afraid. Which can be dangerous. He’s got a lot of confidence to be that young.
Q: And then Connor Cook. Would you break him down for us?
A: Connor Cook is a great quarterback. People think that because he’s 6’ 6” that he’s not athletic at all. He can run the ball. He’s got great moxy in the pocket. He’s got a great arm too.
Q: Everybody knows about RJ, they know about Isaiah, they know about you and they know about Trae. Talk about that second string defensive backs. How good can they be and talk about those 2’s, would ya?
A: I’d say those guys compete. They’re really competing. We’ve got some great players. We’ve got the 2’s and the 3’s, some great players such as Mylan Hicks and Ezra Robinson. I could keep going on. Like the whole defense backfield, they’re really good. Real nice secondary for the years to come.
Q: Last one, talk about Riley Bullough at running back. Ooooh, your smile says it all, brother.
A: He’s the definition of pounding the pile. That’s all I’m gonna say. He run downhill.