Back in the early 90's Pat Narduzzi was a young graduate assistant at Miami of Ohio, while down in Florida, "The U" was dominating the college football landscape.
As Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com points out, Narduzzi and the Miami (OH) staff went down to Coral Gables to visit with the Miami staff, and Narduzzi came away with the brand of defense that he wanted to run.
"Miami of Ohio visited Miami. That's really where we got the defense from. I've been running the same defense since then...4-3"
Last season, the Spartans held Youngstown State, Florida Atlantic, Central Michigan, Ohio State, and Indiana at or below the 7 point mark on their way to solidifying themselves as one of the stingiest, fundamentally sound units in the country.
After their game against Florida Atlantic Narduzzi recalls that the Owls quarterback was asked the difference between Florida (FAU's week one opponent) and Michigan State, and his answer was music to Narduzzi and the defensive staff's ears.
"One of the greatest compliments. Their quarterback was asked, 'What's the difference between Florida and Michigan State?' He said, 'Florida is more athletic and runs a little better. Michigan State is sound and doesn't give you a thing.' "
Narduzzi likes to keep his foot on the gas, noting that he calls dozens of blitzes every game and while looking back at his play calls from last season, noticed that one blitz in particular was ran more than 100 times in 2011.
When your play calling is as aggressive as Narduzzi's, you've modeled your defense after one of the most memorable defensive units of the past few decades, and you surround yourself with a defensive staff that works as tirelessly as you do, and understands your expectations because you've managed to stay together since 2004, chances are your on the right path to success.