Bruton, Crum Ready for Spartans

Notre Dame defensive coordinator Corwin Brown was not using hyperbole when he said that Michigan State running back Javon Ringer could be up for the Heisman Trophy at the end of the year and his players know that.

Defensive captains Maurice Crum and David Bruton met with the media on Thursday afternoon and were asked how important it is for defenders to understand the style of opposing backs.

"That's like imperative," Crum said. "Week in and week out, every guy has something that he does extremely well. You try to get a beat on that so you don't make a mistake on him, so you can come to balance with him tackling. Know if he's a guy that likes to the run to the corner with power or whatever he is, so you know how to approach him when it comes time to tackle."

Coming from the secondary, it's important for guys like Bruton not to let backs get past them.

"You just have to know if he's a cut-back guy or if he's going to lower his shoulder on you. That kind of dictates how you'll tackle the guy," Bruton said. "And to expand further on what Mo said, if he's a guy who likes to go to the corner, you got to also be patient because he'll be the same guy who cuts back on you if you overpursue."

With Ringer, the Notre Dame defense will be facing the complete package this week.

"He has it all. I've seen him show speed. I've seen him show power, patience," said Crum. "He does a great job of staying behind his line, finding that hole. When it opens up, he has that burst to get through. He's been doing an excellent job in their scheme. We've definitely got to be ready because, again, he does it all. It's not like a change-up guy that comes in. It's just him because he can do it all."

One thing jumped out to Bruton on tape.

"He's a jump-cutter, as well. He's patient. But he'll take it to the corner any time if he has a chance," said Bruton. "We've all got to be prepared and ready for a stiff arm or a jump cut, you know, just so we're not out of whack and out of balance."

And Ringer is not the Spartans' only weapon.

"One of the things that I noticed was their quarterback (Brian Hoyer) throws a really, really good deep ball. Their offensive line are big and physical guys. You've got to be ready to come with it. If they get hold of you, it's over," Crum said. "That's where we've got to be on our A game and ready to come with it, because they're going to come hard and come at us all day."

As a safety, Bruton is especially interested in the passing game.

"With the receivers, they have (number) 2 (Mark) Dell and (number) 3 (B.J.) Cunningham. They're both real good receivers. They go after the ball. They catch it at the high points," said Bruton "Hoyer, the quarterback, he throws a real good deep ball. He also throws a real good intermediate ball as well. They show they've got timing and chemistry between the quarterback and the receivers. That makes us have to step up our A game in the defensive backfield to be aware of what we're getting."

Saturday is also the first road game of the season for Notre Dame, which is something that excites Bruton.

"I personally love playing on the road," he said. "Everybody is rooting against you. People don't like you. You just go in there and play, you know, and earn people's respect."

The players have responded well to Charlie Weis' call for them to be more emotional and they are starting to see that it has an impact on more than just Notre Dame.

"That passion is contagious toward the team and at times can be intimidating to an opponent," said Crum. "When they see 11 guys celebrating after a defense makes a play or there's a big run, the offensive linemen are still down the field picking the backs up, everybody is celebrating, high-fiving. I think at times that intimidates the opponent. It can kind of break their spirit."

The players have seen more passion in Weis and that has made it easier for them to adapt.

"This emotion that Coach Weis has driven into our head and into our heart, it's very beneficial to the team. It could, you know, hurt the spirit of the other team," Bruton said. "We're just feeding off Coach Weis' emotion, his energy, because he's shown that a lot. Especially Michigan, because we constantly talked about how he was before the game, how he was at halftime, how he was a soldier still out there coaching even on crutches. That just shows our team mentality, just how emotionally we are, how strong we feel about this game."

Bruton talked about the halftime speech that Weis delivered.

"He came in on the crutches, started off very calm, but just got real excited again, showed that emotion like twofold," he said. "It was just strong, you know. I know his knee had to be hurting, especially after what happened. Still to come up there and talk to us like grown men. 'C'mon, just lay it all out there,' showed his emotion on his sleeve, got us all riled up again to put the game away."

Crum said that those kind of talks can have on a positive impact on a team.

"Naturally guys are thrilled, you know, to play the game and happy to go out," he said. "But I think when it comes from the coach, that adds even more. That's that extra emotion we talk about that, letting it show, putting that emotion on your sleeve, just letting it show for everyone."

Crum got banged up a little bit in the Michigan game, but said that he is ready for the Spartans.

"I'm fine. I think it was one or two of the guys on their offensive line fell on my leg," he said. "It's just a small bruise. But it healed and stuff. It was just in a weird spot. So that's what it all was. But I'm fine now." Top Stories