Tressel Excited About Spartan Linebackers

For Michigan State linebackers coach Mike Tressel, there is more than just being excited about having All-American Greg Jones. SpartanDigest.com spoke with Tressel during the Spartans media day at Spartan Stadium.

Led by consensus first-team All-American Greg Jones, the Michigan State linebackers are considered to be one of the best groups in the country. Linebacker coach Mike Tressel knows having Jones is great, but is also excited about the other members of his crew.

"It's fun as a coach, not only is Greg Jones great football player, but other guys can watch him and say this is the type of things I want to do and this is the type of motor I must have to do it. We know him staying for his senior years was the biggest recruit we could have landed. I think Greg has been very focused during the off season not just replicating last year, but focused on some areas where he can get better. I know he's got some goals as a team first, but also as an individual and that's what neat about him."

While Jones has been the focal point of the Spartans defense, depth is starting to take shape and Tressel knows this will only help his star linebacker play better.

"I do think we are getting better around him. And the key for Greg is once the game starts flowing to trust the other guys around him are going to make plays and he does not have to make every play. This will allow him to attack the line of scrimmage faster."

While many have pegged the linebacker group for it's athletic ability, Tressel warns it is not all about being a great athlete.

"We have athleticism, but just because you are a great athlete, does not make you a great linebacker. What is really great is that we are no longer counting on one guy and if he does not develop you are in trouble. We have a great group of guys fighting to get on the field."

One player who showed in the spring he was serious about getting on the field early was Max Bullough. Did the Spartan legacy surprise the coaching staff?

"I would not say he was a surprise. Max is very passionate about football. Did he do a great job? Yes, can you expect out of an early grad what he did? No you can not expect that. But because he is so passionate about football it was no surprise."

While Tressel knows his main three linebackers, it's the ones that fall in behind he really wants to see step up.

"Guys I'm looking to see step up this fall are Chris Norman, Denicos Allen and Steve Gardiner. Of course it would be fantastic if Bullough and Will Gholston pick up on the college game quick and develop. We also have Jeremy Gainer and TyQuan Hammock who you hope take another step forward. We have Jon Misch, Eric Gordon and Jones who have all been working their tails off, but I want to see Norman, Allen and Gardiner step it up."

While much is expected out of the Spartan linebackers, Coach Tressel knows practice will soon turn to big crowds and game day. All eyes will be watching Greg Jones, but it might well be the other members of his linebacker core that make the 2010 season a total success.


Spartan Digest Top Stories