Smith Talks Irish

Michigan State gets a chance to upset No. 12 Notre Dame and move to 4-0 on Saturday night while most of the nation watches on ABC. It's usually a spot that gets most players and coaches revved up.

Not Spartan head coach John L. Smith. The quirky Michigan State head coach has his own mannerisms and said at his Monday press conference that a night game on national television is the same as all the rest.

"Why is it bigger than any other week?" Smith asked in response to a question. "TV is TV. It's no different, in my opinion, than any other week. We coach the same every week on TV."

There will be something different about the contest. The Spartans are honoring Charles "Bubba" Smith before the game by retiring his number. For the ceremony, around 45 members from that team, which famously tied Notre Dame 10-10 that season in the "Game of the Century," will be back in East Lansing. Smith said if possible, he would like Smith to address the team at some point prior to Saturday night's contest.

"We want them to understand that it was the greatest game, the ‘Game of the Century,'" Smith said about his team. "They'll get more of a flavor of that and for the history and legacy as the week goes on. What we can't do is spend too much time on that and not enough time on playing the game at hand."

Here are some of the other items Smith touched on in his Monday press conference:

*On how Notre Dame will respond to the Michigan loss: "Oh, I'm sure they're going to be fired up. There's no doubt. They got good kids in that program. They've got good talent. They're probably going to take offense with the way they played last week. It would be the same for anyone. They're going to look at that film and come out fired up."

*On getting tips from watching the Irish-Wolverine game film: "You have to take a look at that game because it's the most recent. But it's going to go into a file with the rest of the games. Everything you derive, the cutups, come from that. We don't specifically look at that game as a whole. We look at all the games they've played. We have a plan from last year to look at and we can compare that to this year."

*On how good is Notre Dame: "They're talented. They have great talent. If you want to talk about talent, the quarterback is exceptional. They have a great running. Their front is good. Their receiver can do it all. He's a big target and can catch everything around him. On the other side of the ball, they're great as well. Both safeties are great. They have a great end. One of their interior kids is real, real good. They've stockpiled a good a group of players as anyone in the country."

*On using what Michigan did on both sides of the ball to be effective on Saturday night: "You look at it and you try to take some things from that. But are they going to give us the same stuff they gave them? Of course, it could be completely different. We're going to sit down and look at it. Some things may look good. Some things may not."

*On the lack of rushing yards for Notre Dame last week: "They had to change their plan. Once you get behind, you have to change your plan. You're not going to run the football. He's going to stand up and throw it every down to try to get back in it. But if you turn it over five times, you're not going to win. If they had been in the game and it had been tight all along, they would have rushed the football for more than four yards. But credit Michigan. Their front got after them."

*On how his team responded to being down 10-0 on the road last week at Pittsburgh and coming back to win 38-23: "They faced adversity well. You're always going to face adversity in every game and will continue to face it. From a defensive standpoint, they had to step up and help the offense and vice versa. We sputtered and things didn't click right away. The defense kept us in there." Top Stories