MSU's Pat Narduzzi wants the refs to police his defense for him

Defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi on Wednesday called for officials to take control early during Saturday's Michigan-Michigan State game to reduce the potential for dirty play.

"It's an emotional game played by emotional players," Narduzzi said. "It is a concern. We can't have penalties, but we don't want to take the physicality out the game. And Michigan is physical, too. Both teams will come out and play hard and I think it's up to officials to control it early. I think if they take care of the nitpicky stuff early it will be a good game."
Wow. I don't even...

First of all, this.

If Narduzzi wants a clean game, start with telling that to your players in practice today. Don't put the blame on the refs for the dirty play of your defense. It's not the refs job to police your thugs. That's on you, Pat.

There's certainly doesn't seem to be as much buzz out of East Lansing about this game as in recent years when Michigan State has been undefeated in B1G play coming into this game. It would seem like Narduzzi is downplaying expectations already, doing his best John Cooper impression...
"It's no different than any other game," he said. "We are not approaching it any differently than any other game. Kids will be a little bit more excited but (preparation) is the same as it was last week and the week before."

Narduzzi was then challenged by a reporter.

"It's really another game," he shot back. "I don't treat it any differently. I get nervous when we play Indiana. I get nervous when we play everybody. It's no different, no bigger deal.
Don't tell that to Mark Dantonio. He's made it clear from the start that the Michigan game is the most important game on the schedule, hands down, every year. He's made it his goal in life to beat Michigan. And that's fine, I think it's great. It's good for the rivalry. What's not good is when your defensive coordinator comes out a few days before the game and downplays the rivalry and lowers expectations.

It's things like this that just seem to make the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry less of a rivalry and more of just another game. If Sparty is only confident coming into this game when they're good, then what fun is that? It's cheap. It lessens the significance for everyone. And it's why Michigan State gets the label as "Little Brother".