Michigan State LB Riley Bullough Glad to Finally Be Home on Defense and Crooning for the Spartan Nation!
Q: Back on defense does that make you feel more comfortable?
Riley Bullough: Yeah, it does. Last year things were getting thrown at me really fast, whether it was on offense or defense. So being back on defense, having another off-season where I can learn the playbook more on defense, settling in to these last couple of weeks, I really am comfortable.
Q: Is the defense kind of taking it hard right now that theyâ€™ve lost two scrimmages in a row?
A: (PAUSE) Yeah, we definitely have a chip on our shoulder, which is kinda weird for our defense. Weâ€™re used to dominating the offense the last couple years. But weâ€™ve got a great offense, we really do. Theyâ€™ve got a bunch of playmakers. We just gotta get better on defense. Weâ€™ll get there. Weâ€™ve got the guys to do it and weâ€™ve got the mentality to do it.
Q: Do you think it has to do with you having to fill a lot of holes that were vacated from last year, or is it just the offense is getting that much better?
A: I think itâ€™s a combination of both. We lost some of the best defensive players Michigan Stateâ€™s ever had, so obviously weâ€™re trying to fill that void. But again, our offense is growing. Theyâ€™ve got some great, great players coming back from a Rose Bowl Champion team, so weâ€™re trying to defend them as best we can.
Q: Do you see a different look in the offense in terms of confidence?
A: Definitely. I think theyâ€™ve established an identity. They know what they want to do, and theyâ€™re gonna do it. Theyâ€™re gonna do everything they can to do it. I donâ€™t think thatâ€™s always been the case. I think The last couple of years theyâ€™ve been trying to do a million different things to figure out what works and what doesnâ€™t, but now I think theyâ€™ve found it. Theyâ€™re a tough offense to go against.
Q: Tell me about the pick 6 you had in the last scrimmage.
A: It was a screen, Connor called out the play and I heard it. It was really loud if I heard it. I kinda sat back and waited. I think he was trying to throw it away. I just came up and hid behind the offensive line and scooped in. There was no on there.
Q: So you cheated a little bit because you used to be on that side of the ball.
A: I just used my knowledge. I didnâ€™t cheat.
Q: Did you perform last night? What was that experience like? Do you play guitar and sing at the academic gala?
A: I do. Yeah, itâ€™s a country song. A â€œpop-pyâ€ country song. Me and a former teammate, Evan Fischer, performed. Heâ€™s a great singer. So both of us sang a little bit, I played. It was an original song that we wrote about 6 months ago. And we got the opportunity to play last night in front of almost 1,000 people. So it was an opportunityâ€¦first time Iâ€™ve played in front of people like that, so it was fun.
Q: Whatâ€™s tougher? Coming out of the tunnel and playing in front of 77,000, orâ€¦
A: Itâ€™s a similar feeling. You get that pit in your stomachâ€¦youâ€™re nervous. But itâ€™s the same in football or the same in performingâ€¦once you get on stage, once you get on the field, your nerves kind of go away and you perform to your best.
Q: How do you feel back on defense now? Are you feeling comfortable again?
A: Definitely. Once you can move back into a position and start making plays, thatâ€™s when you get your confidence. Thatâ€™s when you know you belong there, you can do it, you can play with these guys. I think thatâ€™s where Iâ€™m at right now; just trying every day to get better and learn from everything thatâ€™s going on.
Q: Are you glad to be back on defense?
A: Honestly, I am. What I said earlier is itâ€™s not about whether offense or defense. I iust wanna play, to be honest. But being back on defenseâ€¦Iâ€™ve played defense my whole life and Iâ€™m comfortable there. We have some of the smartest football players on the defensive side right now to go off of. So Iâ€™m glad to be back.
Q: How much are you looking forward to having Byron on campus in a few months?
A: Itâ€™s gonna be great to have him. Kinda like when I came and Max was here. He kinda showed me the ropes, everything about college reallyâ€¦not just football. So Iâ€™m excited to do that with Byron. Kinda like how it was in high school when I was a senior, so Iâ€™m looking forward to it.
Q: How long have you been playing guitar?
A: Pretty much since I was 9 years old.
Q: Are you trained, self-trained, lessonsâ€¦
A: Yeah, I was trained at guitar and I self-taught myself piano and drums.
Q: Has music always been a passion for you?
A: Oh yeah, always.
Q: Is that the sensitive side of you coming out?
A: I guess it is.
Q: Thatâ€™s your mom, isnâ€™t it?
A: Thatâ€™s my momâ€™s side coming out, yeah. Donâ€™t get it wrongâ€¦sheâ€™s a tough lady.
Q: What do you think youâ€™re doing best right now and what are you most disappointed with in your play?
A: I think what I need to get better at is recognizing plays. Once you can do that, thatâ€™s a big thing.
Q: Even though you know the playbook?
A: Itâ€™s tough. Iâ€™m telling you, itâ€™s tough. Itâ€™s fast. Just recognizing playsâ€¦ I think what Iâ€™m doing well is Iâ€™m filling fast I think. Iâ€™m not always in the right spot, but Iâ€™m just going. I just learn as I go and I think Iâ€™ve learned a lot so far.
Q: Which running backs are giving you the hardest time trying to bring down right now?
A: All of them are different. Jeremyâ€™s so fast. Once heâ€™s out on the edge Iâ€™m not gonna catch him. Nick Hill, heâ€™s so shifty back and forth. Geraldâ€™s more of a powerback. Heâ€™s gonna try and run you over. So thereâ€™s things that come with all of them. But obviously Jeremyâ€™s probably the hardest. Heâ€™s a great running back.
Q: How is Gerald (Holmes) in pass protection?
A: Heâ€™s good. Heâ€™s the biggest back they have. So, if you have size it does help you a ton in pass protection.
Q: Going back to the music, what was it you played last night?
A: Me and Evan Fischer played at the Academic Gala an original song that we wrote. I played guitar and we both sang.
Q: I saw you have a Sound Cloud page. When are you gonna start that and put songs up on that?
A: I started that last year. I think you can hear…probably 8 or 9 songs are on there right now you can listen to.
Q: Whatâ€™s your major?
A: Media and Information.
Q: So nothing music related?
A: No. Maybe one day Iâ€™ll work in the music industry, hopefully, But weâ€™ll see.