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December 31, 2013

Rose Bowl Media Day: Mike Bloomgren

Stanford's offense will face its stiffest test of the season in the 100th Rose Bowl in the form of Michigan State's top-ranked defense. The Spartans haven't allowed an opponent to gain as many as 400 total yards or score 30 points all season. Cardinal Sports Report caught up with Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren at Rose Bowl Media Day to discuss the challenges the Spartan defense presents.

Cardinal Sports Report: Does Michigan State have any weaknesses on defense? They're ranked No. 1 in rush defense, No. 2 in pass efficiency defense nationally…

Mike Bloomgren: I don't know that they have any weaknesses. Luckily I feel like we've got some strengths. So it's going to be a good battle of strength on strength. I wouldn't be scared to take our kids against anybody. That's the good news. The bad news is, at least from my vantage point, yeah, they're really salty. They do a great job playing that college 4-3 with very, very active safeties that are unbelievable at stopping the run. And then the other thing they do that's so incredible is everything looks the same pre-snap on first and second down and them boom, here's a 'cross dog'. Boom, here's a defensive end digging across the tight end's face. And then on third down they're pretty exciting.

is there anything you can do to counter a defense that doesn't tip its hand?

MB: Yeah, you have plays that you feel good about vs. No. 1 their base or versus movement. That's what you have to do. You have to hang your hat on those plays and train our kids to do a great job with their eyes.

CSR: Coach Shaw and you guys talk about how the audibles and pre-snap reads are such a big part of what Kevin Hogan does, what makes the offense go. How much is facing a defense that doesn't tip it hand make life difficult in that aspect?

MB: It does to some degree. But again, there are also things that because of the way they play they're going to have trouble just by alignment maybe covering if we do a good job with our part.

CSR: Finally, have any of the young linemen taken a step forward for you during bowl practices?

MB: You know what, it's always great work, it's so exciting during the bowl practice to get those guys on the field and doing some tackle football that you haven't done since training camp with those guys. And yeah, there have been guys who have taken great steps. The three that are just amazing in what they do right now, and it's hard to call Andrus (Peat) young anymore, but he is in that class of 2012. Kyle (Murphy) and Josh (Garnett as well). And then Graham Shuler had some great snaps. Johnny Capsers had some great snaps. Nick Davidson is doing things better than he has. And again, those aren't the only guys in our program. They're the only ones that get attention because of that class but we've got other guys that did some great things during bowl prep.

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