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All-American Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones could pose the biggest challenge to
quarterback phenom Denard Robinson and the Wolverines in the Big House on Saturday.
The Michigan Daily: This might be the year of the running back
in the Big Ten with all of the guys coming back, as a linebacker do
you like that?
Greg Jones: I like that alot. Ilike it alot more than spreadingus
out and basically playing basketball on the football field. I think
when it comes down to putting the ball in the running back's
hands and going heads up, that's how football should be played.
The Big Ten model, I think it's hard-nosed. Linebackers, not just
at Michigan State, like that because it's kind of hard because
we're so used to playing the run and you spread us out and you
have to defend the pass more than you're used to. Linebackers
like to come down and make hits in the run. In the spread, we
like to go at the quarterbacks too.
TMD: You were the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year last sea-
son and you decided to come back. Why?
GJ: It was a true family decision. I wrote out all of the pros and
cons. Me getting a degree was at the top of the list. It's about
where I want to be at 10 years from now. The NFL stands for
"Not For Long." And I felt like that if I get hurt, at least I have
my degree. I wanted to come back for my teammates. Leaving
6-7 was not good enough. It left a really bad taste in my mouth
and my teammates mouth. So that was a lot of my motivation
to come back.
TMD: You seniors have a chance to be 3-1 against Michigan, how
special would that be for you guys?
GJ: It would be really, really special, especially for the Mich-
igan guys, because I'm from Ohio. I don't have to see those
guys when I go home. I remember one guy we had lastyear, his
brother was on (Michigan). It's hard. They've got to see those
guys all the time.
TMD:Since Mike Hart called Michigan State, "LittleBrother,"you
Spartans have been undefeated. Talk about that streak.
GJ: That 2-0 thing, that's just us taking the right mindset
to want to win. To want to be great. Especially in the state of
Michigan, we really wantto turn the tide green, so I think we're
doing the right thing. Guys are coming into the season work-
ing hard and appreciating it. And for a lot of guys, the Michigan
game is a big game. But at the same time, we take it one game at
a time. We know thatgame's coming up without a doubt. And by
the time we play that game, just let loose.
TMD: Disruption is a word that comes up with impact defensive
players, what does that mean to you?
GJ: Disruption a lot of times means stripping the quarterback,
getting in his face and making it really hard on him. When
we approach every game, we say you want to get in the quar-
terback's face, disrupt his passes, get to him. Because a lot of
times, with a quarterback that is not really on kilter, it affects
the whole team. And that what the goal of all time is: to affect
the offense and try to get to the player with the ball.
TMD:Is that the greatest feeling, knowing when you're about to
beat an offensive lineman and get to the quarterback?
GJ: A lot of times it's after the play. The guy gets up and you
can tell he's ready to go again. But if a guy gets up and he
seems like he doesn't really want to get back up again, he
doesn't want to be in the game anymore, you can kinda tell.
He's in that mindset, 'I just want this to be over with, soI can
go home.' I think that's when it starts to set in my mind, that
it's time to put the pressure on and make sure he goes home. I
think that's what we try and do on defense ... It's a great feel-
ing. Especially, for everybody, not just for me. We're working
hard and on the sidelines, we're saying to each other, 'These
guys want to go home.' And we want to do our best to make
sure they do.
TMD: Do you thrive is hostile environments when Michigan State
goes on the road, like the Big House?
GJ: Definitely, I feel that's something you play for. That's some-
thing, as a recruit, you look for every time. You want to play at
your best (in the Big House). Especially, some of our guys from
Michigan, it means so much more to them. That's what they
dream about, being in the rivalry, their individual rivalry, in
their own state.
DA LE YOUNG/AP PHOTO,
Senior linebacker Greg Jones is
one of the top defensive players
in the Big Ten and the nation.
$A FootballSaturday, October 9, 2010