Defensive backs coach Bill Lewis talks about Michigan State in this Irish Eyes Video
We've also included a transcript of Lewis' comments on Tuesday for those that can't view the video clips.
Bill Lewis TranscriptOn the Michigan State offense:
"I see a quarterback right now, I don't care who's played, he's hot, he's productive, he's making plays. One of the most amazing statistics is their third down conversion rate is 67 percent, which means two out of every three third down plays they're converting. That's a really an amazing number. Offenses, if they're in the high 40 percent, feel real good. If they convert, they keep the ball. If we can stop them, we can get off the field. That's going to be an interesting situation to see how we handle that."
On how his corners have already matched up against some very top receivers:
"They've taken it as a challenge and they have to continue. One of the things, when you play at this level, every team we play will have skill at the receiver positions. This week is a great example. I don't know how many people are talking about the Michigan State receivers nationally, but when I look at them as a group, I think they're one of the most productive groups right now out there. If you look at their stats, their first five people as far as receptions are receivers. You don't see any tight ends in there and you don't see any backs in there. This group is really something special at this point in the season, and it's going to take a tremendous effort on our part to be able to contain them." On his impressions on Ambrose Wooden so far this year:
"I think he's had a great attitude about the work and the preparation. Ambrose was not on the field in spring practice as far as any kind of contact work. He was out there, able to go out through some of our individual drills, but he had really no work in our defensive package. When he came back, and we started training camp, from the very first minute he was very focused on what he was doing and he challenged for that starting spot from the very first day. He let everybody see that this guy was coming to work. His progress to this point has been very steady. He's got a lot ahead of him. What he's going to start to see is the challenges of a group like we're going to see with Michigan State. It will be interesting to see how responds." On the productivity of his secondary so far and why he feels he's been successful getting them ready to play:
"I think we've only played two games. There's a lot of playing time left. I think we've been fortunate that we've gotten good pressure on quarterbacks, last week was a great example. We played against a good quarterback, but (we) kind of never let him get set and find his spot in the field. We were always disrupting him in his drops, people in his face, and that makes it difficult on a quarterback. I hope we can continue to do that because I think when you see good secondaries, it starts with good pass rush."
On how MSU quarterback Drew Stanton can put a lot of pressure on his defensive backs if he gets outside the pocket:
"He's a heck of an athlete, he really is. Being new, coming back into the college game, a lot of these guys, I'm not aware of what they've done. I saw him last year on five games we broke down. Very athletic, and through two games (this year), he's been very productive. As you mentioned, he's not strictly a pocket quarterback. They use a lot of misdirection, what we call bootleg, where they're bringing him out on the corner, and then they just snap it to him and he comes hard, sprint out on the corner. If you let him get outside of contain, now that buys all kinds of extra time for him and his receivers to work on. One of our keys will be to try to contain him, keep him in the pocket and make him throw from the pocket as much as possible."
On if he's enjoyed building this unit with Zbikowski being the only starter returning:
"I haven't looked at that from that angle. I think we've all enjoyed it each other and working toward being the kind of secondary that we wanted to be. I wasn't concerned with what happened in the past. The reason I wasn't was I couldn't do anything about it. From the time we came in, we tried to move forward from that day. There was no sense in looking back. From day one, it was let's take the practice tape from today, look at it, and how can we get better. I think that all of together, we've enjoyed each other and we've enjoyed that challenge of putting this group together and moving forward and hopefully develop as a sound group."