April 12, 2008

Video: Dantonio post-scrimmage interview

EAST LANSING - Michigan State's defense retained the right to wear green jerseys on Saturday after holding off the Spartan offense in a 100-play controlled scrimmage that started outdoors but moved inside because of inclement weather.

"You've got to play in the elements," explained Dantonio. "That is one thing I think we've missed this year so we were determined to go out there. We got about 50 plays out there."

Michigan State's defense had the upper hand outdoors. The offense did score on a 1-yard touchdown run by AJ Jimmerson before heading indoors. Inside, the play of the scrimmage on offense was turned in by Andre Anderson. The red-shirt freshman scored on a 91-yard run on 2nd-and-9. On the play he was run down from behind by true freshman Johnny Adams who should good speed in catching Anderson. But the former Barrington (Ill.) high standout showed the gains he has made in the weight room in the last year by breaking free from Adams' grasp and scampering 15 more yards for the score.

Both of Michigan State's touchdowns came on the ground. Michigan State quarterbacks looked good at times, but starter Brian Hoyer and his two understudies Nick Foles and Kirk Cousins had a difficult time establishing a rhythm against a stout Spartan defense.

"The defensive guys are quick to react," said Dantonio. "They are playing really well right now. Then we came inside and it was a little change of pace. We played fast and some guys made some plays. Andre Anderson had a big run. But again, there was some hitting and competitiveness."

Michigan State received strong defensive line play from both of its defensive ends, Brandon Long and Trevor Anderson. Long finished with a pair of sacks and two additional quarterback hurries. The match-up of Anderson against Jessie Miller was the best match-up of the day. Both players competed with a lot of pride and it was a battle whenever the two were on the field at the same time.

On the inside, Antonio Jeremiah was tough to stop. He routinely pushed controlled the middle allowing Justin Kershaw to make some nice plays.Tyler Hoover played well and forced Kirk Cousins and Nick Foles to get rid of the ball early on a couple of occasions. Ryan Wheat also had a strong scrimmage and pushed the pocket when he was with the two's.

In the secondary, senior Otis Wiley turned in the play of the scrimmage on defense. Wiley came out of nowhere to snatch a Hoyer pass from the hands of Carl Grimes who was wide open before Wiley took the ball away from him.
Linebackers coach Mike Tressel said last week that converted receiver Ryan Allison and walk-on Brandon Denson had shown potential at linebacker. Both Allison and Denson made plays at their respective Sam and Will linebacker positions.

"That third linebacker position is kind of up in the air right now," said Dantonio, "but I like the way our guys are playing."

Sophomore Greg Jones spent most of his time playing inside linebacker on Saturday.

"Greg Jones makes a lot of plays out there," said Dantonio. "We are putting him a position to make plays."

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