MSU football: Adams takes serious tone
Cornerback leads Spartan secondary
EAST LANSING — There was a scowl on Johnny Adams’ face, and Pat Narduzzi was glad to see it.
After briefly considering an early jump to the NFL, Adams decided to return to Michigan State for his senior season. The 2011 All-Big Ten first team cornerback is an offseason subject of prominence on preseason All-America lists and 2013 NFL mock drafts.
He’s also less prone to care, from what Narduzzi has seen.
“He’s just so much more mature — I think on the field and off the field,” Narduzzi said of Adams. “He’s a different character than he has been. A lot of times he’d come in and smile and kid around. He’s got a serious attitude now.
“I saw him in the weight room (a couple weeks ago) and said, ‘What’s wrong, Johnny?’ He looked mad. I just think he’s focused on what he needs to do.”
After a terrific 2011 season, the MSU secondary faces the task in 2012 of replacing free safety Trenton Robinson. Sophomore Kurtis Drummond will enter preseason camp with a slight edge on redshirt freshman RJ Williamson — with others, such as incoming freshman Demetrious Cox, expected to compete.
“It’s gonna come down to who gets it done in games, really,” Narduzzi said of the lone open spot.
Everything else is spoken for and in good hands as long as injuries don’t hit. Isaiah Lewis returns at strong safety, where he will take over some of Robinson’s communication duties as a junior.
“He’s so steady in everything he does,” Narduzzi said of Lewis, an All-Big Ten second team pick as a sophomore. “He’s done everything we’ve asked him to do, and I just think he’s gonna continue to get better, too.”
Darqueze Dennard will start again at the field corner as a junior, opposite Adams at the boundary corner. Dennard is coming off two critical interceptions to help MSU beat his home-state Georgia Bulldogs in the Outback Bowl, after he received All-Big Ten honorable mention.
This defense starts with those cornerbacks, Narduzzi said.
“Those guys, being able to lock people down and us being able to play the coverages we like to play with those two, they’re great players,” Narduzzi said. “They’re the key to our defense, quite honestly. I think we all know that.
“When those guys play like they can, it gives our safeties the ability to do things we like to do with our defense. Isaiah Lewis and those other guys, we can turn them loose a little bit. Honestly, when you have a guy out there that can cover a No. 1 receiver, you’ve got yourself a pretty good defense.”
Preseason camp will be about depth development at the position. Senior Mitchell White is the No. 3 cornerback, but redshirt freshmen Trae Waynes and Arjen Colquhoun are progressing.
return2glory comment: With dominating D-ends and LBs, confidence in both returning cornerbacks, look for safety and LB blitz packages (some with Golhston dropping into coverage). I think there is a chance that Adams could reap the benefits of QB hurries and bad decisions with record breaking interceptions. As a bonus, Adams can rack up the return yards too.