Monday, August 24, 2009
MSU's Anderson stays for summer and steps up
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
EAST LANSING -- Trevor Anderson was nearly out the door this summer.
In an effort to elevate his game before his senior season at Michigan State, Anderson logged onto YouTube and researched available instruction for defensive linemen. He soon came upon Defensive Line Inc., a training center for defensive linemen and outside linebackers run by former Atlanta Falcons standout Chuck Smith in Suwanee, Ga.
Cliff Welch/Icon SMI Michigan State defensive lineman Trevor Anderson honed his craft, with his teammates, in the offseason.
Anderson got in touch with one of the directors of the center through Facebook and received information about the program. He'd be able to rub elbows with NFL pass rushers and other college standouts, and get the instruction to elevate his game before a season that largely will determine his draft status.
The prospect of spending the summer in Georgia intrigued Anderson, who led Michigan State with eight sacks last fall.
"I thought about doing it," Anderson said. "But it would be kind of selfish for me to leave and not be with the team, not be sweating with them. Here, it was a little bit more structured. I went through the summer grind, as we call it, not being able to pay for food all the time, being able to bond with the players. It's a part of college, man, a college experience, and I really enjoyed it."
Anderson discussed the possibility of going through the program with his coaches, who were pleased to see him ultimately stick around.
"We had one guy a year ago go do [a program] at a different position," defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said, "and I'm not sure his teammates looked at it as real fair, as far as, 'Hey, where's he at? Why isn't he with us? Is he something special?' It's important that those guys be together because they grow together during the summer.
"Everybody says, 'You don't have experience coming back [on the defensive line].' It doesn't matter how good you are. It matters how well you jell together."
Anderson is determined to unite the defensive line, which returns only two starters but has stood out so far in camp.
"One of the things I share with the younger players is, 'You need to decide what type of player you are,'" he said. "'Are you a run stopper? Are you a pass rusher? Are you a power rusher? Are you a finesse rusher?' You need to decide and work on getting yourself better at that and work on your weaknesses.
"I'm pretty much trying to be a player first, and then a coach, for our team."