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Pat Narduzzi says Ohio State "stole our defense"

Pat Narduzzi

In an appearance on Lansing's 92.1 the Team, former Michigan State defensive coordinator and current Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi said Ohio State's defensive staff, ahem, borrowed some ideas from their foes up north en route to winning last season's national championship.

"We're all fighting the same disease ... you're facing the spread wherever you go," Narduzzi said, via MLive. "We saw last year about 80 percent spread at Michigan State, and I think we're expecting to see about 85 percent spread (at Pitt), just as far as one-back (sets) and playing with a lot of 11 personnel (one back, one tight end, three receivers) or 10 personnel (one back, four receivers) type people.

"Ohio State is facing the same problem because they stole our (press quarters) defense, so there's a lot of teams throughout the country, you go watch them, they are exactly us, whether they admit it or not, they are exactly us and they weren't before. So, they won a national championship with the defense, so it's the same disease, it's the same stuff you are looking at, and it's run-pass conflicts, but everyone does that, whether it's Purdue or Baylor, that's what people want to try to do to you."

I came away very impressed with Narduzzi's scheme at the Angelo Football Clinic last summer and, apparently, so too did many of his peers. While the language Narduzzi uses is strong, the indictment is not. Coaches steal, beg and borrow from each other constantly, and have since the game was invented. It's how the game has advanced from the rugby-inspired trench warfare it was at its origins into what it is today. I'm pretty sure the third chapter of Genesis describes Adam inventing the triple option with Eve and a particularly upright chimpanzee.

Speaking of Baylor, Narduzzi listed the Spartans' 42-41 Cotton Bowl victory over the Bears as one of the program's very best since Dantonio's arrival. The Spartans, rallying from a 20-point deficit entering the fourth quarter, allowed 603 passing yards but held Baylor to minus-20 on the ground.

"In the end your philosophy is to stop the run," Narduzzi said. "Baylor was lined up and they could throw it all they wanted, and do all the run-pass conflicts. But really, it was run conflicts that weren't runs, and they were minus-20 yards rushing.

"When you make a team one dimensional, as I've said for eight years, you have a chance to win."