Coach Hazell's weekly press conference was yesterday and it was a much happier affair after a victory. Here is what he had to say:
On the status of Sean Robinson:
"Unfortunately Sean hurt his knee late in the football game. The MRI was not good, and we're going to try to take it week by week to see if we can get him back at all. We're sure we can or not but that's where we are with Sean. It's unfortunate because we are getting thin at that linebacker spot and we will have to do some juggling to move people around.
We're going to put Ja'Whaun Bentley in as the "Mike," we'll play Jimmy Herman's skill at the "Sam", move Danny E. to the "Will" backer, Andy Garcia to the "Will" backer and try to figure out which one of those guys can perform the best when we're in base package."
On Tony Lippett:
" He's got a little bit of everything, he really does. He's got patience in the route, you see him set defenders up, and he's got ability after the catch and he's a big guy that can run pretty well so we're going to have to do some things to stifle him a little bit."
On facing the Spartans' defense:
"I haven't studied all the defenses in the conference but I would be hard fought to find a defense as good as these guys, they're excellent, they play typical 4-coverage where they're going to play man-to-man, nine guys in the box, they have great eye discipline, typically you will see guys peeking to see what the play action is, they have unreal eye discipline and their safeties are linebackers, they're down in the box as soon as the quarterback takes the snap. This is a sound defense when they get you in third and long watch out because here comes something."
On offensive line improvement:
"I think that group really has probably been the best surprise as a position group through six games. They're really starting to gel. They did an unbelievable job on our zone scheme last week. We ran a lot of zone plays and they did a great job at the point of attack on the double teams, and then getting up to the second level and be able to hit those big runs was because the running backs only had to hit the safeties and the corners, had nothing to do with the linebacker and the front people so if they can continue to get better because they still have a lot of growth, a lot of things we need to do better but those guys need to continue and get better and they're going to be pretty good when it's all said and done."
On more Raheem Mostert:
" Akeem is running the ball pretty well right now and you only have one football so you try to give it to the guys that you can -- will make plays and Raheem obviously can play plays for us so we obviously like him to be ready to go and we'll see how many touches he gets on Saturday."
On why it is so hard to run on MSU:
"They have good personnel, very good personnel, but their scheme is we have nine guys to play the run and all their eyes are on -- when this ball is being handed off their eyes are glued on the running back and they're running to the ball. So you have to be able to do some things to take advantage of that."
On building off of the Illinois win:
"Like I said earlier, it's the energy on the sideline when the defense makes a play or the offense makes a play where there is so much support across the ball. I think that's the thing that's become very evident when you start to do those types of things, and I think that's where you gotta keep building and the special teams, that last punt by Thomas Meadows, that was such a big play that's sometimes overlooked but those are the plays that you have to make against good football teams."
On Austin Appleby making his second start:
"I think the big challenge for Austin this week is not to try to do too much and play within the scheme. There are some great things within the scheme that could perhaps take advantage of some of the things that you give -- they give to us, but he can't feel like he has to take the snap and try to run around and make a play like he did last week. He can't play that way, that will get him into trouble. As long as he stays within the scheme of the offense, he will have success."
On starting the second half of the season:
"I think it's continual improvement from each guy and I think that's happened pretty consistently. If you look back to - in my estimation you look back toward the Notre Dame game and how we started to play better and each week was better. Now, we were missing some plays here and there, Iowa was better, we were missing a couple of plays, but I think we're playing better football, more sound, I think we're playing with a greater intensity level and we just need to keep improving and things will take care of themselves."