Dan Roushar: As you watch them and you kind of start looking at them, I think they've got a lot of similarities to Ohio State in regards to their front four. They're very movement driven, a lot of slanting and angling, and when they're reading they move awfully well. So you see a lot of similarities there.
Their defensive ends are both very, very good. Stansly (Maponga), No. 90, you know, you watch game film against their opponents; he gets an awful lot of help. People get help to him with chips and those kind of things. So his numbers aren't quite as strong as Fields', but I think their defensive ends are going to be as good as we've played against, so it'll be a great challenge that way.
When you start looking at power football, the Big 12, you don't see a lot of it. You've got to look through a lot of games, but probably the first one you look at is Kansas State, and they did an awfully good job against Kansas State and holding them to I think it was about 120 yards rushing. They got a couple good big plays down the field and some play action stuff and beat them on a couple double moves.
But I think they're an awfully good defense. They remind me a lot of our defense in many ways, just with their activity, their ability to run to the football and get off blocks and make plays.
Q. What was it like this last week to have the quarterbacks live and how has Andrew responded to that?
Dan Roushar: I think the guys have actually embraced it. They had an opportunity to run the ball a little bit, and I think for everybody, including the quarterbacks, I think it's made us a little bit more game ready. We took quite a bit of time off, and it very quickly got everybody's attention. I think the tempo got picked up, and I think the quarterbacks did a nice job of handling contact. We took care of the football, and in some cases we made some positive yards with some of those guys running it. So you saw some really good things from all of them.
Q. Whether it's real or perceived, there seems to be a perception that the offense needed some fixing. If that's true, is any of that done in preparation for the bowl game or is that an off season question?
Dan Roushar: That's a great question. Certainly we're trying to be more efficient in the red zone, scoring points. That's probably an area as you look over the year we've certainly not been very good there. Some of it I think is going to happen as guys get a little bit more mature. I think that certainly will help create some explosive plays.
But you know, those things we've tried to work on in the limited practices we've had. We've worked down in there and we've had some good production.
At the end of the day I think it comes back to us being able to put together a scheme that gives our guys a chance, and then we've just got to execute at a higher level. You know, I think that some of the things that we've done this bowl preparation I think certainly you can see into the future, and I think that'll give us a dynamic right now that we have not had.
Q. Are you guys looking at putting any quarterback designed runs in for the bowl game, or is that something more for the spring?
Dan Roushar: I think Coach (Dantonio) mentioned that, and we certainly have done some things with that thought in mind. Whether we're good enough right now to go execute on a high level in a game like situation, I think that'll be determined by how we continue to practice down in Arizona.
But the guys, we've experimented with some things, and you're looking at a couple of our young quarterbacks and feeling like all of a sudden there's another dimension with us being able to spread the field, make them play coverage, and then add the element of being able to run the quarterback.
You know, those plays have been designed. We've repped them through this bowl preparation. Whether we carry them into the game or not, I think that's something we've still got to talk about as a staff and make a decision into game week.
Q. The perception of Andrew Maxwell late in the year is he wasn't playing as well as he did earlier mid part of the year. What was your evaluation of him at the end of the year, and what have you figured out and tried to do with him in the last few weeks?
Dan Roushar: I think with the culmination of the season, we went back through and tried to identify the things that we did well consistently throughout the year, and as we've set the game plan, try to take that into account, rather than creating new designs and getting further away from what we've done, see if we can put a premium on execution.
I think Andrew, like a lot of us, would probably say that he had some performances that we thought were very, very good, and then he had some that weren't nearly what we wanted or what he wanted. But I think he's remained very positive. I've watched him in these practices. He's working very hard with his fundamentals, and we're hoping that he continues to do nothing but improve with the competition that's around him at the quarterback position.
You know, at the end of the day, the thing that...even going back to the last game, I thought he did a tremendous job of getting us to a win. He did a lot of good things with run checks that go unnoticed. He didn't throw the ball as effectively as he would have liked, but he played with a pretty significant injury that game, and you've got to take your hat off to a guy that's going to fight and compete like he did. He continues to be our quarterback, and we want him to continue to improve for us to have an opportunity to get better.
Q. You mentioned their defensive ends. Against a team like TCU can you stay in the pocket a lot or is that more of an in game adjustment?
Dan Roushar: No, you go in with an idea that I think you've got to change the launch point a little bit. If this becomes a one dimensional game, and if we're sitting in the pocket 60, 70 percent of the time, I don't think that plays into our favor. We're going to have to move the pocket. We're going to have to have success on early downs to put us in situations where we can move the pocket effectively. But those certainly are things that we've talked a lot about as we've prepared for these guys.
Dan Roushar: I think those conversations begin with Coach Dantonio. There's a process for these guys to go through, and I think in both cases I think those guys will certainly go through the process of exploring where they may fit if they were to enter the NFL Draft. We've had conversation.
I think in those conversations really what you talk about is what's in the best interest for them, and you look at it from a perspective of your experiences of being around guys that have gone early and others that have waited. And then I think you just put some value on what's important for them and their families, and at the end of the day I think they'll gather all that information and they'll make great decisions that are best for them. Certainly they've got a high regard for this organization and the guys that they're playing with right now, so I'm sure all those things will factor in as they make that decision.
Q. What's TyQuan Hammock's future? Is it at fullback? Is he going to stay there?
Dan Roushar: As soon as the season ended and we began our bowl preparation, we moved him over with the opportunity to get back in there. A couple of years ago we played him in at the fullback position. Just looking at him right now with the depth of our linebackers, the reality is for him to get on the field and make a strong contribution, I think Coach Dantonio and the staff felt like this would be a very good move for him and we had some opportunities to get a little bit of work for him.
NOTE: Transcript provided by Michigan State department of athletic through FastScripts by ASAP Sports.