EAST LANSING - Spartan senior defensive end Ervin Baldwin took some time after practice this week to talk about Michigan State's game against Pittsburgh on Saturday (12pm EDT, ESPN)
"It's going to be a physical game, really our first test against the run because they are basically like our offense, they run the power, the stretch and zone. We are trying to get the recognition down and its going to be a smash mouth game," said Baldwin.
The MSU defensive line will have their hands full with a heavy veteran group of Pittsburgh offensive linemen that are all over 300 pounds.
"It's going to be a major challenge, those guys are big, especially their left tackle, Jeff Otah. He's 6-foot-6, 340-pounds. I remember playing against him last year. He's a beast," said Baldwin.
"The whole offensive line has gotten better but our front seven will come out and do what we need to, to get the job done."
Although they are not quite as large as the Panther linemen, the Spartan offensive linemen are just as experienced and give the defensive line a great look at what they will see from Pittsburghs line.
"Our offensive line, we go against them every day and they are one of the biggest lines in the Big Ten, so they get us ready. I'm going to have my guys ready and they are going to have me ready to go. We'll go out and play hard and give Pittsburgh a run for their money," said Baldwin.
Much like the Spartans, the Panthers offense relies heavily on the run, with junior LaRod Stephens-Howling and freshman LeSean McCoy being the feature backs.
McCoy made the start last week against Grambling State and ran for 107 yards and three touchdowns, all which came consecutively in the first half to start the game.
"I know Stephens-Howling from last year," said Baldwin.
"I have heard some great things from our coaches about McCoy. He's a pretty good tailback and its going to be a major challenge trying to stop them, but were going to come out and give it our best and play smash mouth football," he said.
After bolting from the NFL back to college, Dave Wannstedt enters his third year as Pitt's coach, and there is no doubt that his offense will incorporate a lot of different looks.
"Coach Wannstedt is a great coach coming from the NFL and they will be doing a lot of things to keep us off balanced, but we are going to stick with our basic techniques and do what it takes to win the game," said Baldwin.
Finally, Balwin spoke about Michigan State's offense mirroring that of Pittsburgh's.
"They run the power, run with the tight end, put the tight ends in motion, but we have been looking at them since spring so well come out ready to go," said Baldwin.
Looking At Pitt With DE Ervin Baldwin
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