3 Keys To The Season, Defense: #2, Joe Bachie And His Pals

3 Keys To The Season, Defense: #2, Joe Bachie And His Pals

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3 Keys To The Season, Defense: #2, Joe Bachie And His Pals

Continuing with our breakdown of The 3 Keys To The Season on defense, Michigan State’s linebackers might form one of the best linebacking units in the Big Ten.  Maybe the nation.  These guys can – and must – create havoc for opponents all season.

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Let’s calm any fears that may be in the back of the minds of Spartans – the injuries that kept Joe Bachie, Antjuan Simmons, and Andrew Dowell out of Spring practice are in the rearview mirror and all reports suggest that these guys are at 100% today.

Joe Bachie at 46% is comparable to most starting linebackers across the nation at 134%.

Joe Bachie at 100% is a lot like Dick Butkus at 100%.

Don’t laugh.

When all is said and done, Joe Bachie will be yet another Spartan linebacker that people didn’t know about as a recruit who will have been named to all sorts of All America lists and will be earning a paycheck in the NFL.

But it isn’t just The Joe Bachie Show.

Although that would be a wonderful show.

Andrew Dowell – the 6’1″, 225 pound senior – is fast, strong, tough, and experienced.

He’s ready to pick right back up where he left things off last season and that’s bad news for opponents.

Dowell started all 13 games at Star linebacker and finished the season second on the team with a career-high 74 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack.

Dowell had four pass break-ups, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery and had five or more stops in 10 of the 13 games.

He’s good at football.

At 6’0″ and 221 pounds, sophomore Antjuan Simmons is looking to build on a very productive freshman season.

Simmons played in all 13 games, recorded 34 tackles, including a team-leading 10 on special teams (all on kickoffs), along with 1.5 tackles for loss.

Byron Bullough, Tyriq Thompson, and Brandon Randle are all experienced Spartans ready to contribute all season in whatever linebacker slot needs help.

And how about Jon Reschke?

We offered commentary on the overall meaning and significance of Reschke’s return here last week –

https://spartanswire.com/2018/07/28/the-return-of-jon-reschke-what-does-it-mean/

….but how about his ability to return to the form that he was illustrating the last time he was on the field in Green & White?

Reschke, of course, is a bit of a question mark simply because it’s been a long time since he’s been out there (and healthy).

However, this unit was recognized as probably the Big Ten’s strongest linebacking units – from top to bottom – even before Reschke was welcomed back to the team.

Reschke as a meaningful contributor would be icing on the cake – and Spartans shouldn’t be surprised if he ends up being one of the best overall stories of the 2018 season.

Michigan State’s linebackers might not get the publicity comparable to linebackers at other programs that are circus-ey.

But these guys are prepared to tackle people, run around the field in extremely speedy and focused manners, be strong and mean and tough, blitz with a maniacal approach when the defensive play requires them to blitz maniacally, intercept mid-range passes when the passes are close enough to their bodies to intercept the passes, recover fumbles, and keep other teams from moving the football down the field and into the endzone.

Michigan State’s linebackers are very good.

That will be clear to anyone that watches Michigan State play this season.

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