August 28, 2013

Narduzzi wishes he knew the subject, before the exam

EAST LANSING - The Michigan State defense is chomping at the bit to hit someone other than a teammate, and coordinator Pat Narduzzi is eager to see how his senior-laden outfit measures up against Western Michigan University.

"I think they are ready," said Narduzzi. "Ready to hit a different color jersey. I think they are sick of hitting each other, and it will be good to find out where we are. As players, as coaches you just want to get the thing going. Everybody is sick of camp."

Michigan State knows less about WMU than any team the Spartans have faced in an opener during Mark Dantonio's tenure. Preparing for PJ Fleck's offense has involved more guesswork than Narduzzi would care to admit.

"PJ has not really been an offensive coordinator," said Narduzzi. "He has been a receiver coach at Tampa Bay, a receiver coach with Rutgers, so he has never really called the plays. Who knows, who is really calling the plays, so it's tough."

Narduzzi expects the Broncos to play with the same chip on their shoulder that Fleck brought with him to practice each day as a wide receiver at Northern Illinois under head coach Joe Novak.

Narduzzi was linebackers coach at NIU when Fleck was a player.

"P.J. is an emotional guy," said Narduzzi. "He's an intense guy. I would say that he is kind of like me, and I think that is why we have stayed in touch since he was a player and I was a coach. He'll have his guys geeked up and ready for the game. They will be emotionally ready for the game. He is a great coach.

"I think he wears cleats."

Fleck's competitive nature fueled his success as a player. It should also serve him well as he works to rebuild Western Michigan into a MAC contender.

"When you looked at the kid, you knew he was going to be successful in whatever he did," said Narduzzi. "I didn't know at that time if he wanted to be a football coach. I don't think we ever had that conversation."

Michigan State has watched film of Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in preparation for Friday's game.

"I am really not going to get into details about what they do or what they did," said Narduzzi. "It is football, and football is very simple. Are they going to be a spread, or an I-Pro team? What's their personnel like? What can they do with the personnel?"

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