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 they’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. We’re used to dominating the offense the last couple years. But we’ve got a great offense, we really do. They’ve got a bunch of playmakers. We just gotta get better on defense. We’ll get there. We’ve got the guys to do it and we’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 it’s a combination of both. We lost some of the best defensive players Michigan State’s ever had, so obviously we’re trying to fill that void. But again, our offense is growing. They’ve got some great, great players coming back from a Rose Bowl Champion team, so we’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 they’ve established an identity. They know what they want to do, and they’re gonna do it. They’re gonna do everything they can to do it. I don’t think that’s always been the case. I think The last couple of years they’ve been trying to do a million different things to figure out what works and what doesn’t, but now I think they’ve found it. They’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 didn’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, it’s a country song. A “pop-py” country song. Me and a former teammate, Evan Fischer, performed. He’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 opportunity…first time I’ve played in front of people like that, so it was fun.
Q: What’s tougher? Coming out of the tunnel and playing in front of 77,000, or…
A: It’s a similar feeling. You get that pit in your stomach…you’re nervous. But it’s the same in football or the same in performing…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, that’s when you get your confidence. That’s when you know you belong there, you can do it, you can play with these guys. I think that’s where I’m at right now; just trying every day to get better and learn from everything that’s going on.
Q: Are you glad to be back on defense?
A: Honestly, I am. What I said earlier is it’s not about whether offense or defense. I iust wanna play, to be honest. But being back on defense…I’ve played defense my whole life and I’m comfortable there. We have some of the smartest football players on the defensive side right now to go off of. So I’m glad to be back.
Q: How much are you looking forward to having Byron on campus in a few months?
A: It’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 really…not just football. So I’m excited to do that with Byron. Kinda like how it was in high school when I was a senior, so I’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, lessons…
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: That’s your mom, isn’t it?
A: That’s my mom’s side coming out, yeah. Don’t get it wrong…she’s a tough lady.
Q: What do you think you’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, that’s a big thing.
Q: Even though you know the playbook?
A: It’s tough. I’m telling you, it’s tough. It’s fast. Just recognizing plays… I think what I’m doing well is I’m filling fast I think. I’m not always in the right spot, but I’m just going. I just learn as I go and I think I’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. Jeremy’s so fast. Once he’s out on the edge I’m not gonna catch him. Nick Hill, he’s so shifty back and forth. Gerald’s more of a powerback. He’s gonna try and run you over. So there’s things that come with all of them. But obviously Jeremy’s probably the hardest. He’s a great running back.
Q: How is Gerald (Holmes) in pass protection?
A: He’s good. He’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: What’s your major?
A: Media and Information.
Q: So nothing music related?
A: No. Maybe one day I’ll work in the music industry, hopefully, But we’ll see.