Behind Enemy Lines: Michigan State

Maryland hosts Michigan State Nov. 15 at 8 p.m., and in order to gain more insight into the Spartans, we spoke to publisher Mike Wilson. Here's our question and answer session with him:

Maryland hosts Michigan State Nov. 15 at 8 p.m., and in order to gain more insight into the Spartans, we spoke to publisher Mike Wilson. Here's our question and answer session with him:

Terrapin Times: What's the mindset of the MSU players and staff coming off the OSU loss? Are they eager to get back on the field and make a statement, or were they a little downtrodden following the home defeat?

Mike Wilson: The talk all week has been on the importance of not letting one loss turn into two. I think this team has to deal with the reality that the goals they had coming into the year are mostly gone now and they will have to settle for lesser goals – but those goals are only obtainable with three more wins to close the regular season. I definitely think there is a focus and desire to get back out and get the taste of a tough loss out of their mouths.

TT: Michigan State's defense is always strong, although last week Ohio State exposed the secondary a bit. How is defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi able to consistently assemble strong units, and what adjustments do you think he'll make going forward to help the defensive backs/pass coverage?

MW: What has helped make Michigan State’s defenses successful has been a combination of factors. It comes from recruiting players to fit a system, player development and playing gap-sound defense. It really is not a complicated defense by any means, but it is a defense that relies on everyone playing their role and not needing be the one to make a play (you don’t see many big numbers from players on Michigan State’s defense). As for adjustments, I think at this point it is what it is for Michigan State. They know Trae Waynes is as good a corner as there is out there and he is rarely thrown at. They know Kurtis Drummond is reliable, but will have moments where he gives up a play. And I think at this point they have realize Darian Hicks and R.J. Williamson are prone to giving up some big plays, which is something they did not have an issue with last year.

TT: How are Michigan State fans viewing this game? Are they inclined to come to College Park to see MSU play? Is there more interest in trekking to a place they haven't really seen before, or are they a little less enthused to travel coming off the OSU game?

MW: Personally, as a sports writer, I am excited to cover a game at a new stadium and in a new location. I think for Michigan State fans there is a degree of excitement to see a new team that is not familiar and see what the future will bring as these teams will play annually. Above all, seeing what Maryland brings to the conference certainly brings some excitement.

TT:Michigan State does have one former DMV star on its roster in Darien Harris (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.), and I know the Spartans are fairly active down here recruiting. What kind of emphasis does MSU place on recruiting in Maryland, and do you see that increasing moving forward now that Maryland is in the Big Ten?

MW:: Ever since defensive line coach Ron Burton was hired a couple years ago, Michigan State has placed an even bigger focus on the East Coast – Virginia, Maryland, etc. I do think it is an area Michigan State wants to recruit more, as the DMV puts out plenty of talent and the Spartans would be wise to take advantage of that. Playing in a game like this helps put the school name in headlines and make a presence known in the area, which only helps that. I do think Michigan State will look to expand their recruiting into that area more.

TT: Tell us something about Michigan State football that fans might not be able to pick up on film or by watching the team on TV. Any intangibles or behind the scenes stuff Terps fans should know about heading into this game?

MW:: Michigan State is a school that has been widely successful in the past few years in football, which has been really welcome for the school and fans after mostly being an average team at best for the greater part of 20-25 years. What makes the team successful now is the attitude brought in by Mark Dantonio, who founded an attitude of toughness and character in the program. It is a bit of a cliché, but the program really reflects the attitude of the head coach.

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