Last season Michigan State Spartans linebacker Shane Jones stepped in for Riley Bullough when the Spartans linebacker was forced to sit out the first half of the Central Michigan game due to a targeting penalty the previous game.
Saturday, Jones again had to step in for Bullough when the Spartans senior linebacker was sidelined by an injury.
While the results were solid for Jones with six tackles with two for loss and a half sack, Jones knows playing the MIKE backer position in the Spartans defense makes him the groups quarterback.
“As the MIKE linebacker you’re the quarterback of the defense,” said Jones. “When things go wrong, you have to be the one that keeps everybody going and that is something I felt we did good against Wisconsin.”
With a career that had seen Jones play in 21 career games prior to this season, he knew going that while Bullough is considered the team’s leader, others can and must step forward and take the reins.
“Anybody can fill a leadership role,” he said. “It can’t be something that is designated for one person. Everybody has to do it when we’re out there on the field. I do feel we did do a good job of that.”
But Jones also knew Bullough wouldn’t be too far away during the day.
Riley was keeping us positive,” he said. “He talked with us about what he was seeing from the sidelines. He told us and we told him what we were seeing from the field. It’s kind of like having an extra coach out there in a sense with him not out there. So I had an extra coach beside me the whole day. He was very positive, very energetic. He always has his energy.”
It will be important for Jones to continue to grow as a player as some talk is out there that Bullough could be out three to four weeks with the undisclosed injury.
In the video below, Jones spoke with Spartan Digest following the loss to Wisconsin about going forward to Indiana and any issues he saw during the loss to Wisconsin.