Warrick, the cousin of NFL star Peter Warrick, has come on strong in spring practices, setting the tone for a more agressive physical presence by the Spartans defense. In Saturday's controlled scrimmage, Warrick recorded eight tackles, 1 interception and 1 pass defensed and only got beaten with a pass over his head once in the session.
"I wish everybody on defense played like Nehemiah Warrick," coach John L. Smith said. "He plays with an attitude and abandon. 'Nemo' has great range from the middle of the field, and he's always looking to make a hit. I hope his attitude becomes infectious."
In addition to Warrick, the entire MSU secondary appears bigger, faster and more physical. Senior Demond Williams at 5-foot-9, will be the smallest player lining up in the defensive backfield, but Greg Cooper, Otis Wiley, SirDarean Adams, Michael Bell all line up at over 6-foot.
But the defensive line play was worrisome.
While sophomore defensive end Brandon Long recorded five tackles, MSU was unable to mount any semblance of a pass rush against the offensive line unit and quarterback Drew Stanton and backup Brian Hoyer took advantage of the lack of pressure to play pitch and catch a lot of the game.
"Next Saturday, I expect to see the entire defense play with an attitude and abandon, not just one player," Smith said. "We have to develop that attitude because we simply aren't talented enough on defense to go through the motions. We have to play with abandon and start hitting and punishing people."
While the Spartans defense wasn't terrible against the run, the lack of a pass rush allowed the offense to complete a lot of passes between the linebackers and the secondary
Stanton completed 7-of-14 for 165 yards and two touchdowns both to sophomore wideout Terry Love, one a 48-yard touchdown pass, the other a 10-yard toss.
He might have had more if not for some drops by the wide receivers and tight ends. Hoyer connected with Matt Trannon on an eight-yard TD score. Freshman Domenic Natale went 6-for-11 but was unable to punch in a score.
One the ground, Javon Ringer had a two-yard touchdown run and 25 yards on just five carries. A.J. Jimmerson rushed for 41 yards on 17 carries, Brett Kahn had 37 yards on 13 carries. Jehuu Caulcrick had a 36-yard burst.