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Big Ten One-On-One: Michigan State Linebacker Max Bullough Talks Playoffs & Defines Spartan Dawg
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17 Dec 2013 05:03 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Linebacker Max Bullough pressures Michigan quarterback Devin Garner. (Image Source: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

New York, NY—Senior linebacker Max Bullough of Michigan State finished this season with 76 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss and 10 quarterback hurries on his way to first-team All-Big Ten honors. He’s also a standout off the field and in the classroom for which he was honored by the National Football Foundation as a national scholar athlete, as well as a William V. Campbell finalist. I was able to speak to the linebacker when he was in New York to participate in the NFF’s award events. Scroll down to listen to the audio interview. 

How’s it going today?

It’s going great. It’s been a fascinating couple of days. It’s been a great time meeting all the people, meeting all the student athletes and meeting all the people that put this on. The National Football Foundation is unbelievable, an unbelievable organization.

Is this your first trip to my grand City?

It’s the first time I’ve been here, yeah. My buddy lives in New Jersey so I’ve been there but never to the City. It’s been fun. It’s busy here. A lot more busy than where I live.

Especially coming from your family (he’s a third generation football player at Michigan State) I’m sure you’ve been recognized as a football player most of your life. How cool is it to be recognized as more than that?

It’s cool because I don’t think a lot of people see that side of football, especially college football, especially at the highest level. It’s fun for me to have people see that and know that we experience things outside the football field. When we’re not on the football field we’re trying to get our degree. We know that football is not going to last forever and academics is what is going to allow us to be successful in the future.

Make your case…Michigan State is 12-1 and a conference champ just like Auburn, does the Big Ten not get enough respect?

That’s a tough question to answer just because there are so many unknowns that go into it. Especially for me, I don’t really know exactly how it all plays out. The way I look it at is, we’re 12-1, there’s not any other undefeated team other than Florida State in the country, at least in the FBS, so it’s what Coach D (HC Mark Dantonio) has been saying, ‘why not us?’ Why is it the other team that’s 12-1? There’s a couple other teams that have the same argument. But like I’ve been saying, I control what I can control. We won the Big Ten Championship. We’re playing the Rose Bowl against Stanford and that ain’t a bad gig either.

Do you feel like the playoff is coming a year too late?

I thought about that. You know, I forgot about that whole thing, but I thought about that a couple of days ago, I said we’d be in the playoffs, number four. That’d be fun, but like I said, worry about what we can control.

How fun would it be? As a player do you believe the time has come for a playoff?

Oh absolutely. It’d be fun. It’d be a lot of fun. See where you can take it.

Do you follow the bowls? Root for the other Big Ten teams?

Yeah I watch the bowls. I always root for other Big Ten teams. I think it’s fun, just as much as anything to see the guys you’ve played against, you’ve competed against for so long to see them competing in a different environment against different teams. But also to try to gain that respect that we have for ourselves, our teams in the Big Ten, each other. One bowl, people judge a whole conference by one game, a couple games, that are halfway across the country playing a team that’s 60 miles away in different weather. It’s tough but it’s also fun, it’s also an opportunity for us to show how good the Big Ten is.

What’s your definition of a Spartan Dawg?

A Spartan Dawg is a guy that is a relentless football player. He’s a smart football player. He’s a guy that has passion for the game. Not only for the game but for his teammates and wants to do well just because that’s the kind of person he is and because he doesn’t want to let his teammates down. That last thing that comes into that is smart. A football player that can play at a controlled rage throughout a football game and they can also sit back and dissect a defense or dissect an offense and be able to come off the field and say, ‘this is what they’re doing. This is what we need to do.’ All those things add up to being a great football player.

Big Ten Links:

Legends Division Team-By-Team Offensive MVPs

Leaders Division Team-By-Team Offensive MVPs

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. 

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