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September 14, 2011

MSU coordinators -- injuries, Waldo, stealing signals

Three quick injury updates from MSU coordinators Pat Narduzzi and Dan Roushar. Bennie Fowler (foot) practiced Tuesday and will be a game-time decision. Travis Jackson (ankle) also practiced, but Roushar said MSU is being cautious, it sounds like Saturday will be Blake Treadwell's game but the competition could resume this season. And Tyler Hoover (back) does not look good for Saturday's game, Narduzzi said.

    * Some of the most interesting stuff from Narduzzi was his speculation that Notre Dame may have been stealing sideline signals from MSU in last year's game. That's based on what he detected as a different approach at the line than in other games.

    “They’re not historically a fast tempo," Narduzzi said of Brian Kelly's no-huddle approach. "They want to get you lined up, kind of like Youngstown State did. They don’t look to the sidelines as much, but against us they did for some reason. Whether they’re stealing our signals, I don’t know. But we’ve got something on the signals too. You never know. Guys are thieves, you know.”
    So you really think that’s what it was?
    “Well, against everybody else they just kind of make checks. Well against us last year it seemed like he was looking to the sideline to see what they said. Well if they’re looking to the sideline, there’s a chance, you never know.”
    Do you guy steal signals?
    “No. We haven’t got time to steal signals.”
    How would they steal signals?
    “Well, what they do is they try to get you lined up quickly, OK, we’ve got to get our stuff in. And they look at that and all they’re doing is getting lined up in a formation and calling a dummy play and they look over and say, ‘Oh, looks like …’ you know. We’ve got four dummy signalers (this week) so we should be OK.”
     Four dummies and one real?
    “No, three dummies and one real. But there will be four dummies over there with one being a smart guy.”

    * Narduzzi is referring to Michael Floyd as "Waldo" this week because MSU's defense must be able to find him on every play, and he moves around a lot. MSU will try to get a Johnny Adams-Floyd matchup on certain downs and distances, Narduzzi said, but in other situations MSU will play boundary (Dennard) and field (Adams) as usual.

    Keith Mumphery, Tony Lippett and even B.J. Cunningham (when MSU goes 7 on 7) have been emulating Floyd for the MSU defense this week. Of course, Floyd isn't the only concern here.

    “I think they’ve got as talented a receiving crew as you’re gonna see," Narduzzi said. "I’d say Riddick and TJ are kind of like Keshawn Martin. Quick-twitch and, you know what, if you’re covering the other guys those guys are dangerous enough to hurt you.”

    Narduzzi said Notre Dame goes with its "11 personnel," or three wide receivers and one tight end, 82 percent of the time. A second tight end comes in occasionally to spell a wideout.

    * Narduzzi quick hits:

    On the Tommy Rees vs. Dayne Crist: "I think what you see on tape is Rees is a gamer. Maybe doesn’t get rattled. He just seems like a smooth guy out there, nothing gets him rattled. When he makes checks, he’s smooth. Crist the same but you see Crist get maybe a little more nervous when he’s making checks. Do I have enough time? But I think Crist has got a stronger arm, so he scares you, he’s got a stronger arm I think. And I walked off that field last year going, ‘That Crist will be an NFL quarterback,’ and I think he will be. I think that guy will be a first-round quarterback. So they’ve got two very good quarterbacks that are both dangerous.”

    On Steve Gardiner establishing himself as part of the nickel defense: “There’s no doubt about it, he’s done a nice job in there for us. He’s been a good pass coverage guy and, you know, he’s fresh out there as well. So we’re just gonna get fresh guys out there that can run.”

    On the game film confirming that MSU's defense played a great game last week: “We didn’t have anybody that played real bad. We didn’t even have anybody that played average, they all played pretty good. It was as good as I thought. I felt pretty good up there in the press box. I ate a hot dog after halftime, so that was pretty good. I never eat.”

    On Hoover for Saturday: “I don’t think so. He did a little bit yesterday but he’ll probably be ready next week. There’s a chance, you never know day by day. We’ll find out.”

    On Notre Dame's turnovers and hoping they'll continue:  “If they don’t make mistakes, I mean they’re a 2-0 football team and we’re talking about one of the top football games in the country this week. ... You know what, I think I look at it as both. It’s some bad decisions that I’d like to say we’re gonna continue to get them and they’re gonna keep making mistakes, but sooner or later you fix mistakes. I hope he waits one more week to fix it. We’ve got to force them, we’ve got to make it happen.”

    On what he was thinking as a defensive guy watching the end of that Notre Dame-Michigan game: “Where the brown paper bag is.”

    Request for MSU: Please make Pat Narduzzi available every week.

    * Dan Roushar was happy with Dan France's play at left tackle last week.

    "I thought he was pretty solid, and looked like he played better than the other guys," Roushar said. "So he's obviously gonna be the starter this week and hopefully he'll continue to do nothing but improve."

    Overall, Roushar said the line was better in terms of fundamentals and assignments in the first week vs. the second week.

    At center, Jackson could get back into the mix with Treadwell.

    "I think we'll be in a situation where they'll compete," Roushar said. "Travis was back on the field yesterday. Looked pretty good in a limited number of snaps he took, so that was encouraging. I think it'll be a day-to-day evaluation, but Blake has played pretty well the first two games."

    * On the Notre Dame secondary, Roushar was quick to caution about drawing conclusions from the end of the U-M game.

    "I think part of it was they got into a lot of man coverage or off coverage off that, playing cover one (also known as man free, man-t0-man with a safety deep) because of the threat of Denard Robinson as a runner," Roushar said. "I don't know that we pose that same threat, so I'm sure we'll get a mix like we did last year. We'll get some two deep with man under concepts, we'll get some two deep playing zone (at the second level) and we'll get our share of cover one where they're in man. And we've got a plan ready, we've just got to be able to execute. ... I think their secondary is much better than people think they are."

    Also today, Max Bullough's golden ties and other notes.




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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter

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