Coming off of a breakout sophomore season in 2017, #5 Michigan State and their junior superstar MLB Joe Bachieenters 2018 with lofty expectations as he is regarded as one of the country’s top linebackers on one of the nation’s top defensive units.
Spartan Nation recently caught up with Bachie to discuss the upcoming season and the fall camp so far and Bachie said that he’s been impressed with the defense so far in practices and scrimmages so far this fall.
“We don’t hold anything back, a lot of guys got reps, 1s, 2s, 3s, they all played well,” he said. “I maybe didn’t get as many reps as I would have liked, I’d like to get more comfortable just being out for a while. But we played well as a team and as a defense.”
After recording a team-high 100 tackles a season ago, Bachie was named to the preseason award watch lists for the Bednarik Award, for the defensive player of the year, the Nagurski Trophy, for the nation’s most outstanding defensive player, and the Butkus Award, for the nation’s most outstanding linebacker.
With all of the recognition that he has received since the end of last season, Bachie understands the pressures and the expectations of being the latest Spartan linebacker to emerge as a star in the Michigan State defense.
Bachie noted that he often talks with current Michigan State defensive ends coach Chuck Bullough, whose 175 tackles in 1991 is the Michigan State single-season tackles record, about stepping into the spotlight and added they also joke around about Bullough’s record as well.
“It’s exciting, I love the challenge,” he said. “He (Bullough) kind of messes with me about trying to get 175 tackles, but it’s not the game anymore, we’re not running power 40 times. But he messes with me, he’s like, ‘Yeah, it’s getting passed down, Greg Jones, Max (Bullough), Riley (Bullough) and now it’s you, what are you going to do?’ and I’m just like ‘Whatever’.”
While Bullough’s 175 tackles is a mark that likely won’t be broken anytime soon, Bachie said that he’d like to improve his tackles total from a year ago, but outside of that, he doesn’t get too caught up in statistics.
“Anywhere over 100,” he said. “I’ve got to be better than last year, but I could really care less about the tackles.”
But as he looks to build off of last season, Bachie has worked on one specific area of his game throughout the offseason and now the fall, his blitzing, and said that the linebacking group as a whole has also put in plenty of time and effort working to improve in that regard.
“I want to become a better Blitzer I wasn’t very good at that last year, I thought,” he said. “I need to use my hands a little more when I’m blitzing, so that’s something I’ve been working on and something the whole L-B group has been working on. We’re trying to become the best blitzing group that he’s had - coach Dantonio - in the time that he’s had, he’s had some great linebackers who can blitz.”
Remember to check back to Spartan Nation for all of the latest news on Bachie and the Spartans!
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