Thursday, December 26, 2013
Well, with Max Bullough suspended for the Rose Bowl, his career at Michigan State is over. Is this a blow to Michigan State? Absolutely - Bullough has been among the most consistently GREAT defensive players this season for the nation's best defense. He has been the quarterback of this defense, making key reads at key times to shut down opponents. Bullough is arguably the Spartans' best player. And, he comes from a long lineage of Bullough's who have played for the Spartans dating back to the 1950s.
It's a big loss. One that MSU can overcome, and it is a loss of which the Big Green will prepare for with a very deep and talented linebacking bunch... but Bullough was the best of that bunch. The loss is significant - Graham Couch's article does a nice job laying out the impact of the loss of Bullough with respect to his incredible effort for the Spartans in big games this season.
Will it make a difference? Yes - if you've seen Bullough, the guy makes split second reads and adjusts this talented defense on the fly, better than any other LB in the nation. Noone - NOONE - can lead a defense as well as Mad Max, and as such, his will be a tough replacement - Stanford's offense likely will take advantage in a few key moments in the game if MSU's new defensive leader does not adjust as fast. This is a big hole to fill. But, MSU has lots of talent at linebacker, and whomever takes the place of Bullough will have a lot of homework, and will miss a trip or three to Disneyland and the beach.
Whatever Bullough did, it is disappointing that it cost him the biggest game for the Spartans in a generation. I have every confidence that Coach Dantonio made the right decision, and it must have been an agonizing one considering the stakes. Bullough, however, doesn't owe us or anyone an explanation other than his teammates. Here is where the ES disagrees with Graham Couch's article - the punishment is severe and unless you are on the team, what he did really is none of your business (unless Bullough broke the law, in which case we will learn eventually).
Coach Dantonio has overcome huge obstacles... and here is yet another. He never said it would be easy. And, it just got harder.
Regardless of the loss, the Spartan Nation will prepare for battle! Go STATE!