"We've been very focused throughout the entire week, and we've had good practices," said MSU head coach Mark Dantonio. "By cancelling practice yesterday, the players had a chance to get off their feet, so they should have their legs back which is very important in a game like this because we have been working them extremely hard."
Dantonio believes one of the keys to tonight's game is to stop the screen play that the Red Raiders love to run.
"This is a huge 'screen team', so we've placed an emphasis there. We simply can't afford to allow 5-yard completions to turn into 20-yard gains. Equally important to tackling in space will be our ability to make stops in third-down situations."
Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said he thinks there might be some tweaking of the Tech offense without Mike Leach calling the plays.
"Obviously they're not going to change what they do since it's been so productive. What they'll do will be the same, what you don't know is what the (new) offensive coordinator and his staff, what they may change when they call a different play. "Maybe they won't adjust as well as they have in the past - I don't know that. You just don't know what they're going to do. We'll have to find out how it changes without Coach Leach being there."
Defensive end Trevor Anderson said MSU has put the adversity from the "dormgate" incident behind them and is ready to play football.
"We've pretty much being facing adversity all year long on the football team with stuff not going our way," said Anderson. "As far as the character of the team, we have a lot of good guys on this team. Every team in the country has its down moments, but this year, we really found out what kind of guys we have on this team. We came down here and acted with a lot of class. We were in our meetings on time, everybody showed up (on time) and did the right thing."
Junior linebacker Greg Jones, an early entry candidate for the NFL draft where he could be a first-round pick, said MSU is tired of all the talk about Tech's offense and wants to see what happens on the field.
"They can talk all they want about their offense, I don't think that's going to get you as a defense. We obviously know that we have to get better (against) the pass - that's been a focus for us. Just making sure that we tackle, trying to make things happen and just working together in communicating," said Jones.
Without arguably its best corner Chris L. Rucker (due to suspension) MSU will start Kendell Davis-Clark and Jeremy Ware at the corners and sophomore Trenton Robinson and senior Danny Fortener at the safeties.
Covering the deep ball has been a problem for MSU all year, they're hoping the extra two weeks they've had to prepare for the Red Raiders will cover their deficiencies.