Tyler Hoover says Spartans' defensive line is anchor of defense



Tyler Hoover is poised for a big year in 2011.  Photo courtesy of Troy Benoit.
Tyler Hoover is poised for a big year in 2011. Photo courtesy of Troy Benoit.




Tyler Hoover, the 6-foot-7, 274-pound junior and defensive end on the Spartans, recently talked to Spartans All-Access regarding the defensive unit's outlook on this upcoming season.


The team is still strong in key areas, such as safety, and players like Hoover, Jerel Worthy, Anthony Rashad White and William Gholston are anchoring the defensive line. Losing linebackers like Greg Jones and Eric Gordon is not a good proposition for any defense to face, especially when said players were the level in between the defensive line and the secondary. But as Hoover said, the youthfulness of the team can be turned into a big positive for a program looking to garner its second straight Big Ten title.


“We’ve got a lot of young guys, they need to step up," Hoover explained. "The D-line’s looking the oldest out of the crew, so we’ve gotta step it up, we’ve gotta have leaders, and once we lead the young guys will step up (too)."


Hoover is technically in his second season after a 2008 freshman campaign which saw him suffer a shoulder injury and resulted in a medical redshirt.


However, he has made some big plays in the last two seasons, some of which include breaking up a pass and getting a tackle in the dramatic overtime victory over Notre Dame in 2010 and earning Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week honors after having nine tackles and two sacks against Northwestern — not to mention a forced fumble at MSU's own goal line.


Hoover has become a mainstay on Pat Narduzzi's defensive unit, playing in all 26 games of the past two seasons. He understands his responsibility as a strong defensive player — and, more importantly, a leader — now more than ever. He wants to bring the younger players up at a solid pace and not let them get too complacent.


"We try to increase intensity every year and every practice," he said. "The biggest jump our young guys gotta do is get used to the speed of the game. Once they can play fast, I think everyone’s gonna be playing fast."


But even as head coach Mark Dantonio alluded to a few days ago, he knows it is a marathon and not a sprint. Player progression is the number one thing on his mind at this point of the year, but he seems relatively happy with how his team has performed so far.


“I think as a coach you always want more,” Dantonio said. “You’re always looking for this guy to play a little bit better or that unit to play better, but our guys are coming out here every day with a purpose and that’s what we’ve asked them to do. They’re trying to grow daily and I think if you do that, as a coach you’ve got to be excited about that.”


Hoover is one of those guys playing with an even bigger chip on his shoulder, ready to have a monster season as one of the team’s defensive veterans. 



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