Another spring has brought another position change for Riley Bullough.
But this time, the Michigan State junior is headed to the spot with which he is most comfortable.
”I don’t look at it at all as playing an new position,” Bullough said. “I have been here a while and definitely MIKE is where I am most comfortable on defense.”
Two springs ago, Bullough moved from linebacker to running back as the Spartans looked for answers in the backfield. He was back at linebacker last spring, getting plenty of reps last season at the SAM position, while playing all three spots in special packages.
Now, Bullough is at the middle linebacker spot, which he likes the most because it gives him the change to be in charge of the defense.
”I feel like at MIKE you gotta prepare more,” he said. “So when you get on the field – a practice field or in the game – you just feel prepared the most because you got a lot on your shoulders and you gotta tell other guys what to do. I think that helps me prepare better and practice better.”
To prepare for the change, he has sought council from a logical place: His older brother, Max, who started for three years at MIKE for the Spartans. Taking a page right out of Max’s book, Riley has been deep in film study this spring – studying his brother’s reps.
”I’m actually going through and watching the 2012 season, so I can watch all of Max’s reps,” he said. “I have been going game by game by that. That is helping me out. I’m texting back and forth with him.”
Bullough plans to watch the 2013 season as well, as Max helped lead the Spartans to the Rose Bowl. He figures as much as he can study, the better off he will be moving forward.
“When I watch Max on film, I’m not necessarily looking at how physical he was on a play or anything like that because I know I have that,” he said. “He can go from boom the ball is snapped to know exactly where to go. That’s where I need to get better at.
”I need to prepare as best I can. If I can do that and bring the physical side to it, I think I’ll be set.”
And as he steps into a position that inherently involves leadership, he is ready to step up to it.
“I’ve always been a vocal guy – a guy that plays with passion on the field,” Bullough said. “It’s different now because I’m one of the older guys so I think people are looking at me more than they used to.”