Kevin Snyder will be ready if special teams coordinator Bob Fraser turns to him, but does not expect it to happen going into kickoff.
True freshman long snapper Alan Lucy remains in solid standing as the starter, but did not inspire confidence with multiple issues in the victory over Indiana. Coach Kyle Flood kept Lucy in his role this week, but said that the execution has to improve.
Snyder, the backup long snapper, said he saw that improvement on special teams in practice.
“I did a little bit more this week, and I worked a little bit at personal protector as well,” Snyder said. “But I think Alan had a great week. I was watching him snap in pre-practice and I think he’s been great this week.”
Snyder snapped in spring practice before Lucy’s enrollment, but it was the true freshman that quickly took over the job in training camp.
“I think a lot of times when you talk to specialists, less is more,” Snyder said. “I think with them, they know what they need to do. It’s just a matter of doing it. They don’t need to hear it from me, but I’m ready [if anything happens].”
Snyder’s true task Saturday comes as the starting middle linebacker. The banged up senior improved against Indiana, but his defense averages 300 rushing yards allowed per game in the last month.
Rutgers gave up 100.8 rushing yards per game in 2013.
“That’s the basis of everything we do,” Snyder said on stopping the run. “If we can stop the run, limit them to 3rd and 8, that allows your play-caller – coach [Joe] Rossi to open the playbook up a little bit. Give them different looks and get us off the field. Everything stems from that.”
Michigan State is the latest in a Big Ten lineup of impact running backs. The Spartans have a 1,000-yard rusher in Jeremy Langford (5.5 yards per carry) and one of the nation’s top senior quarterbacks in Connor Cook.
“They present a lot of challenges,” Snyder said. “They do a lot of things in the running game that you don’t see other teams do with their schemes and blocking. They’ve got talent all over. Up front, they’re physical and the quarterback is the whole package. He can run a little bit, and obviously their running back is very talented. We’ll do whatever we have to.”