Bullough back home on defense

Michigan State sophomore linebacker working at multiple linebacker spots this preseason camp, but in it all, he is happy to be back where he can hit again.

When Michigan State kicked off the 2013 season, Riley Bullough was a running back. This time around, he is back on defense, where he feels he belongs.

“Honestly, I am more comfortable hitting people instead of getting hit,” he said. ”Being back on defense is good for me, it is what I’ve played my whole life.

”I think it’s just in my blood to be on the defensive side.”

The sophomore made the move last spring to running back, before shifting to fullback during the season and back to linebacker during bowl practices. That carried into the spring and Bullough said he has not missed a beat.

“I think I’m right where I’m should be right now,” he said. “I feel like everyday getting out here and getting reps, I get that much better and hope that continues to roll on as we get into the scrimmage and next week.

”I’m comfortable right now.”

As he has worked through this fall camp, his primary spot has been backing up junior Ed Davis at the SAM spot. While working at the same position vacated by Denicos Allen, they also bring slightly different skill sets to the table.

“Ed is little bit bigger than me, but he is a slippery kind of guy,” Bullough said. “He is a guy who can make a couple moves and get right around a blocker. I’m different. I like to take on the blockers as physically as I can.

That works well because he will go in and he will slip behind a blocker and I will come in and take it right on.”

He also has been getting more work lately at the STAR position with junior Darien Harris, which he said has been an adjustment at learning to play more in space. He is not alone in working multiple spots, as Harris, Davis and senior Mylan Hicks have been as well as the Spartans are looking to increase versatility across the linebacker corps.

”We are all moving around, but I think that’s a good thing,” he said. “I think that shows we can all get on the field and rotate, unlike the last couple years where we have stuck three guys in there and it has been that way the whole game.”

Bullough noted the versatility afforded by the linebackers will serve the Spartans well with the variety of teams on their schedule.

”We are going to go against so many different kinds of personnel, so we’ve just gotta see who can play well against certain positions that the offense puts out there,” he said. “We are all moving around, but we know where we fit in our defense and we are playing pretty well.”

But as he competes to start and fill a role defensively, Bullough said it just feels great to be back on that side of the ball.

”Moving back on defense, I was happy about that and now being able to push for that starting spot and really just getting on the field,” he said.


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