Max Bullough is natural leader. Born into a renowned Spartan football family, the senior linebacker seemed destined from birth to be a captain at Michigan State. Since arriving in East Lansing, Bullough has lived up to his name, leading at first by his actions, and now by his words.
Since Michigan State football was founded in 1896, there have been exactly nine players to be named captain twice. Max Bullough became the tenth on Wednesday. The team elected Blake Treadwell, Darqueze Dennard, and Bullough to serve as the squadâ€™s captains for the upcoming season.
â€œIâ€™m honored. Iâ€™m honored to be a captain again,â€ Bullough said. â€œItâ€™s one thing to have the opportunity to do it once, but to do it twice is almost unheard of. Iâ€™m honored to be in front of this team, in front of my peers.â€
Last season was not a successful one for the Spartans. The offensive woes were well documented, as the squad repeatedly lost by slim margins and lost the â€œgame of inchesâ€ Dantonio often references. Michigan State still managed to finish with a 7-6 record, but few on the team were satisfied with the result.
â€œWe werenâ€™t good enough last year, our team knows that,â€ Bullough said.
During the offseason, Bullough placed the onus on himself to ensure that the same would not occur in 2013. So far, the rest of the team has reacted well, showing a fire and energy that suggests the Spartans are a reinvigorated team.
As the teamâ€™s mentality evolved, Bullough has realized that his leadership role has grown significantly this season.
â€œThereâ€™s some more accountability, responsibility. Itâ€™s that much more hard work, itâ€™s that much more taking the team on your own shoulders,â€ Bullough said. â€œIf the teamâ€™s not doing well, itâ€™s your job to make sure theyâ€™re doing better.â€
Thanks to his leadership experience last year, Bullough is well equipped to handle the load this season.
â€œI canâ€™t even put it into words,â€ Bullough said of what he has learned. â€œItâ€™s that extra experience, what to say, when to say it, how to say it, things like that. What to say to a guy whoâ€™s down, what to say to a guy whoâ€™s on a roll, whatever it is. I learned all of those little intricacies of the trade and I think Iâ€™ll do better at it.â€
Bullough has already done an admirable job of bringing the team through a tough fall camp without any major injuries or mishaps. Thanks to his leadership, the Spartans have already made great strides in making improvements from last year.
â€œThis is a long camp, this is a hard camp. There were some battles we had going on the offensive side of the ball,â€ Bullough explained. â€œIt forced us to play a lot of live football, a lot of hard hitting football late into camp, something that we donâ€™t usually do. We took advantage of that: we got better on defense because of that and it made us better. It made us better, it made them [the offense] better.â€
With August 31 quickly approaching, the Spartans are almost ready for battle. Bullough is psyched to start the season, and feels optimistic about the team as a whole.
â€œI feel really excited. Thereâ€™s still some question marks. There always is on any football team, but Iâ€™m excited,â€ Bullough said. â€œI think thereâ€™s a huge upside to this team on offense and on defense, and I think the only way to go is up from last year, honestly. Considering our expectations, I really, honestly feel excited about this team as a whole.
â€œI think we have a lot of upside on both sides of the ball. I think thereâ€™s a lot of combinations we can use, be it on offense or defense. I think weâ€™re going to be explosive. I think weâ€™re going to be dominating on offense and defense,â€ Bullough continued. â€œThereâ€™s a good feeling, you canâ€™t really explain it, but I really have a good feeling coming up from this camp.â€
A true Spartan man, Max Bullough is a perfect leader for a team ready to quiet the critics and avenge a disappointing season. Thanks to a yearâ€™s worth of experience, Bullough is all the more prepared for the job.
â€œIâ€™m looking forward to leading this team,â€ Bullough said. â€œAnd I think Iâ€™m going to do a better job than I did last year.â€