MSU Captain Clifton Ryan: State of Team

With his final season winding down as a Spartan, MSU captain Clifton Ryan talked to GSN about his hopes for the team, his goal of sending the seniors - himself included - out as winners and getting to a bowl game. He also explains why he felt the thought of holding a "players only" meeting following the Northwestern loss was unnecessary.

Michigan State captain Clifton Ryan spoke to GSN on Monday and talked about the state of the MSU team, why a players only meeting was unnecessary, their faith in the coaching staff his hopes for sending the seniors out as winners and getting to a bowl game.

GSN: What are you emotions following Northwestern game, angry?
RYAN: ``I'm not angry, I'm disappointed in myself and the way we played, but that's part of life. Sometimes, the ball doesn't always bounce your way. We had glimpses of playing like a good team, the way we did in the first six ballgames. They out-executed us at times they outplayed us, but I'm not one to be disappointed in my teammates and my coaching staff. I'm going to keep believing in those guys, I know they're going to keep believing in me and we're going to get this thing turned around."

GSN: It appeared you guys were lacking of emotion or energy?
RYAN: `` I don't read too much into that. I'm not a 'rah-rah' guy and a lot of guys on this team are not 'rah-rah' guys, so I don't read too much into that. Like when we beat Notre Dame, we didn't have a lot of guys whooping and hollering in the room, its just going out there and doing your resposibilities and we weren't able to do that this past Saturday."

GSN: Coach Smith says the team needs to play at a high emotional level to succeed.
RYAN: ``The way you practice (determines how we play on Saturday). I know we didn't show it this past Saturday but we practiced hard. We had a great week of practice and coach was very confident of us going into the game and we were very confident in each other. We just want to keep practicing hard and have a high level of practice and it's going to carry over to the game."

GSN: Was their a different feeling after this loss as opposed to UM and OSU?
RYAN: ``I think we feel the same after every loss. I don't think we take one loss harder than another, we feel the same after every loss. We want to get back out there, get on the practice field, practice hard and get the things corrected and come out against our next opponent and win a ballgame. We're on a three-game losing streak, we want to get it corrected as soon as possible because we were on that emotional high after winning four games in a row after you come into the season and every one's counting you out. We want to get back into the win column

GSN: Is this game pivotal?
RYAN: ``Every game on schedule for the rest of the year is going to be pivotal. Like coach said yesterday in the meeting, 'this is a four-game season'and if we want to reach our goals we've got to play each game, one game at a time so we can accomplish our goals for the seniors and for this program."

GSN:After the NU loss did you guys think of holding a "players only" meeting?
RYAN: `` Not really, there's not a need for all that. We know what we need to do to go out and do get things corrected. We don't need to come together and call meetings with the seniors or for just the captains, we know what we've got to do. We know what we didn't do on Saturday, we know what we've got to do this week going going against Indiana. So I don't think there's a big need for that. Like I said before you whoop and holler and talk 'this and tha't that doesn't matter. At the end of the day all that matters is did you win the game or did you lose the game.

GSN: Why aren't you guys getting to the passer?
RYAN: ``We just need to be more sound in our technique getting at the quarterback. You guys don't see what we see out there a lot of times you get double teamed and max protection, but that's not an excuse, we've got to do whatever it takes to get back there to the quarterback and take some of the heat off the guys in the back row."

GSN: Why is Indiana different this season?
RYAN: ``They're a much more physical ballclub and a much more confident ballclub. They have the same offensive linemen that they had last year, but when you have a different coaching staff come in and a different regime, it does a lot for the players confidence as you've seen with Notre Dame and as you've seen with us in 2003.

It just does something to the players mindset that makes them want to sell out for the program and its shown they've won, what, four or five ball games this year? They have a great receiver in James Hardy , their quarterback is playing real well, he's the third leading rusher, Hardy has like eight touchdowns, so this is a different look. This is a different Indiana team from year's past.

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