March 31, 2012

Narduzzi deems high energy first day in pads 'solid'

EAST LANSING - Sixth-year Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi described the performance of his defense as 'solid' when asked to sum the first practice in pads in a word during interviews Friday evening.

"The kids are intense, lot of flying around, a lot of contact today," said Narduzzi. "It will be good to see it on tape. We are still green, we have a lot of young guys out there and we are just trying to get back into the flow of things."

With the Michigan State defense returning most of its starters from a year ago, many of the mistakes that have occurred thus far have been on the interior defensive line. An area of strength a year ago with veterans like Jerel Worthy, Kevin Pickelman, and Johnathan Strayhorn, the interior defensive line is now an area heavy on potential, but light on experience outside of senior nose tackle Rashad White.

"Rashad White is doing good, (Tyler) Hoover is doing well," said Narduzzi. "We just have to find out who the depth guys are and who is going to come. But there will be some guys that appear, probably during the next five or six days. With a week to go in spring ball, we will probably have a good feel for who they are at this point."

White closed his junior season with the best performance of his Michigan State career in Outback Bowl against Georgia. Prior to clinching Michigan State's first bowl victory of the Mark Dantonio era with a field goal block in triple overtime, White piled up a career-best seven tackles, including three tackles for loss against Georgia.

"He is such a great kid," said Narduzzi. "He understands the defense. He has made big strides from his first spring here, to fall, to spring, to fall and now back to spring. He is a guy that you can count on as far as knowing what to do now. When he first got here, he didn't do anything right. Gradually, he has gotten a lot better. He is a guy you can count on."

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