April 27, 2011

Coordinator Six Pack: The latest on Gholston

EAST LANSING - Tuesday marked the first time that players and assistant coaches have been available to speak with media since last Thursday's Jersey Scrimmage. With offensive coordinator Dan Roushar and defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi having combed through the scrimmage film, SpartanMag.com today offers a Six Pack of the best quotes from each coach, with insight from the scrimmage and player performance in general:

1.Narduzzi on junior CB Johnny Adams:

"Johnny Adams is playing like an All-Big Ten first-team, maybe Defensive Player of the Year; he's playing great. He is at a totally new level. Last year he had probably an average to below-average spring, but he has turned it up. He is playing exceptionally well. He is a little bigger, more physical and he is just making plays. He knows what he is doing and he is playing with confidence. He is tough to throw against, period."

2.Narduzzi on sophomore Mike linebacker Max Bullough:

"Max Bullough is playing outstanding right now. No doubt about it. He is very intelligent. He doesn't quite have the athletic ability of a Greg Jones but he makes up for it with everything else, his leadership, getting everybody in control. He does a great job for us. He is a leader for us on defense."

3.More Narduzzi on Bullough:

"He has made a huge leap, leadership-wise. In the past we have had fronts kicked the wrong way and all that stuff, but I don't know that we have had a wrong kicked the front way this spring. He understands. We ask those guys to do a lot. Not that Greg Jones didn't do a good job kicking the front, but Max is doing an exceptional job, sometimes without us even saying it, he will see a formation and go, 'Oh, it goes this way because of this or that.' He understands how the pieces are all put together, from the secondary all the way to the defensive line."

4.Narduzzi on improvement in the pass rush, and across the board:

"Hoover, Gholston, Marcus Rush, Denzel Drone and Taylor Calero, I mean we feel like those guys are all starting to come along. If I were to say most improved, I would go with Dana Dixon as most improved in the secondary as a corner. I would say Jeremy Gainer is most improved as a linebacker and Taylor Calero is most improved as a defensive end right now, just based on where they have come from to now, where they could play for us."

5.Roushar on the progress of Andrew Maxwell in last week's Jersey Scrimmage and the toughness of the first-string defense:

"I thought Andrew Maxwell had a very good scrimmage. I thought he really threw the ball well. He is more decisive. He has a lot of confidence and he is throwing the ball on time and very accurate and making good decisions. One of the things that he has benefitted from to some degree is our first interior d-line, between Jerel Worthy and Rashad White, they have done a really good job, as have the two defensive ends. The No. 2 o-line has probably stayed in front of the (No. 2) d-line better, so the protection has been better for Maxwell. So he has been able to get back there and go to work whereas Kirk Cousins has been under a little more duress."

6.Roushar on the progress of the offensive line and running game:

"We didn't run the ball well enough, again, for the second major scrimmage in a row. I think you have to give our defense a lot of credit for how they are defending us, and there are things that we can do differently that will help us, but overall I think we are making progress. I thought overall there some positive things. We didn't hurt ourselves with pre-snap penalties. We continued to take care of the football, aside from a couple of interceptions that I think we can fix. We're still mixing and matching a little bit with Joel Foreman out. I thought we made some improvements. The centers continue to make progress and show good things."

Gholston, Sims Back In Action

Notable sophomores William Gholston and Dion Sims were back in full pads and on the practice field on Tuesday. Gholston - the first-string right defensive end - and Sims, a talented tight end, missed action last week. Gholston was out with an upper body ailment and Sims suffered from turf toe.

"Gholston did not play in the scrimmage last week, kind of saved his body, and played today, which was great," Narduzzi said. "He has had a great spring. He started off strong. He was back out there today and it looks like he will play Saturday for sure (in the Green-White Game). He missed two or three days, he didn't miss a week. He was good today.

"He wasn't happy with his pass rush today in practice, but he was rusty. He is too young to not practice for a couple of day without having some rust."

Sims impressed coaches and QB Kirk Cousins earlier in the spring, but has missed most of the second half of the spring with the toe problem. But those problems could be subsiding in time for Saturday's Green-White Game, at 1:30 p.m. at Spartan Stadium.

"Dion was out with a toe sprain last week but we had him back in practice today and he looks like he is back to normal," Roushar said. "He has a chance to be an outstanding player."

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