December 16, 2008

Video: Coordinators talk UGA, player development

EAST LANSING - While Michigan State assistant coaches were out on the road recruiting last week, Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio had his offensive coordinator Don Treadwell and his defensive coordinator [/db]Pat Narduzzi[/db] stay in East Lansing to work on their game plan for Georgia.

Whenever Big Ten teams play foes from the SEC, Big Ten coaches are always asked about their team speed. It matters little that teams from the SEC and in the south venture into Michigan, Ohio, and other Big Ten recruiting hotbeds for recruits. Georgia running back Knowshon Moreno, like a number players on Michigan State's roster, hail from New Jersey. Similarly, Alabama came into the Great Lakes State last year to sign Flint Southwestern Academy's Mark Ingram.

During his press conference on Tuesday, Dantonio brushed aside questions about team speed. When asked similar questions, Narduzzi said that he liked the speed of his defense and he was more concerned with making plays and keeping Georgia's playmakers in check.

Among the main concerns for Narduzzi are Moreno, an incredible athlete that has both speed, size, and a knack for making spectacular plays, quarterback Matthew Stafford, and Georgia's receiving corps which features two players with nearly 1,000 yards receiving apiece this fall.

"We have played some teams that had great speed," said Narduzzi. "Shonn Greene (Iowa) has great speed and he is huge. At the tailback position we have faced tailbacks that are as fast Moreno and I think that during the year we have faced receivers as fast as theirs but maybe not all in the same game. Penn State has fast receivers, there is no question about it. They have the No. 1 player in the country a couple years ago in recruiting. We've faced fast receivers, but these guys are also tall. They have speed, height, and the ability to catch the ball."

Michigan State's defensive backs have played the deep ball well in 2008. They will get tested deep a great deal Stafford, who could be the quarterback taken in the next NFL draft.

"They have a great offense, a great package," said Narduzzi. "And they have a quarterback that can deliver it."
Narduzzi is also impressed with the composure of Stafford, who threw for more than 3,000 yards this season.

Michigan State quarterback Brian Hoyer does not have a 1,000 yard receiver in 2008, but he does have a trio of accomplished pass catchers in Mark Dell, Blair White, and B.J. Cunningham.

Michigan State could also get a solid contribution from true freshmen Fred Smith and Keshawn Martin. Both Martin and Smith have been practicing well according to Treadwell, who has been impressed with the underclassmen as a whole through seven practices this December.

Treadwell would not confirm whether he has been contacted by his alma mater Miami (Ohio) University to fill the school's vacancy at head coach. Treadwell, who was an all-conference performer and a team captain for the Red Hawks is believed to be one of the frontrunners for the position.

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