Following a brutal overtime loss against Indiana, the Spartans are looking to bounce back this week in their game against BYU. They will take the field in East Lansing at 3:30pm. Yesterday, defensive line coach, Ron Burton, talked BYU’s offense, and what he’s seeing from the defensive line.
Coach Burton explained that growth is playing a huge role in the defensive line this season. There are a lot of young guys taking the field this year, and they’re using that to their advantage; for playing the young guys will only help them improve.
This experience is needed to help produce a lackluster up front attack. Similar to the offensive line, consistency is a factor that needs to become a higher priority. Burton said of his defensive lines consistency issues, “That is our focus and that is how we transition to getting a better pass rush, is being able to stop the run consistently.”
The challenge for the line against BYU will be their ability to stop the run game and shut down RB Jamal Williams. Williams is the nation’s number one running back with yards after contact, and he has a great stiff arm. Stopping Williams will be a great challenge for the Spartan defense.
For Saturday’s game Burton is looking at Kevin Williams, Gerald Owens, and Brandon Clemons to show up and to play some good ball. He expects to see Auston Robertson more and Mike Panasiuk should receive some more reps this week. Burton is seeing growth amongst Auston Robertson, Josh King, and Robert Bowers. All have great ability and are strong ball players, Burton would like to see them with more opportunities so he can evaluate their ability to create.
Burton did touch base on Malik McDowell, discussing his performance up to the targeting call and the targeting call itself. On his performance; “He was one of the keys to us being able to play as well as we played up to that point…His stats prove what he has been doing, so we just want to keep improving upon that and get more.”
As far as the targeting call, it’s up to interpretation and there’s nothing that can be done about the decision that’s been made expect to deal with the consequences and move on. McDowell will miss the first half of the BYU game, but will be eligible to play in the third and fourth quarters.