Big Ten looking at Spartan LB
Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis acknowledged Tuesday that the school had been notified by the Big Ten Conference of a possible violation of the league’s sportsmanship code.
Hollis did not mention Gholston, a sophomore defensive end, by name. However, Gholston was assessed two personal fouls in the Spartans’ victory over Michigan last week, with one of the penalties for punching a Michigan offensive lineman, and faces a suspension.
“We are thoroughly reviewing the entire game and utilizing all of the available resources: coaches’ video from midfield and end zone cameras, TV copy as well as still photographs,” Hollis said in a university release. “Once the internal review is completed, we will forward a written report on to the Big Ten.”
UW (6-0, 2-0) faces Michigan State (5-1, 2-0) at 7 p.m. Saturday in East Lansing, Mich.
According to the Big Ten handbook, Michigan State’s review must be finished by Wednesday. Regardless of what Michigan State officials conclude, the Big Ten can suspend Gholston.
Gholston was assessed two of the five personal fouls against the Spartans in their 28-14 victory over Michigan.
The first occurred when Gholston jumped on the back of quarterback Denard Robinson, who was on his stomach after running for a 5-yard gain.
Gholston grabbed the facemask of Robinson and twisted it violently.
Later, Gholston was engaged with left tackle Taylor Lewan on the backside of a play. Lewan had Gholston down on all fours and pushed with both hands on the back of his helmet to keep him down.
No flag was thrown, but Gholston stood up and punched Lewan just below the chin. That drew a 15-yard penalty.
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio declined to comment on the status of Gholston.
However, asked on the Big Ten coaches’ teleconference about the five personal fouls the Spartans were assessed, Dantonio made it clear he didn’t think the team’s play was dirty.
“I wouldn’t characterize it as dirty play,” Dantonio said. “I would characterize it as a game of reaction. Anybody who has ever played this game has to understand that we’re not dealing in seconds. We’re dealing in split-second decisions and reaction time.
“Some of the personal fouls are difficult to...they just sort of happen. Others are a lack of composure. We have to know the difference between the two and try to omit them.”
Dantonio went on to defend defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, whose comments after the victory sparked criticism from opposing fans.
“Obviously not happy with some of the penalties we had out there,” Narduzzi said. “But it’s a physical game. It’s for physical people. Probably the only disappointing thing was the penalties that we had.
“Unnecessary roughness? That guy’s squirming all over the place. I thought that’s what the game was, unnecessary roughness every play. That’s what we try do—60 minutes of unnecessary roughness. I’m just glad we didn’t get called every snap.”
On Tuesday, Dantonio said:
“I think first of all Coach Narduzzi’s comments were taken out of context in terms of his overall statements. You look at two sentences and you don’t look at the entire press conference.
“If you look at the entire press conference he talks about how we’re coaching them. I think when you evaluate our program you have to evaluate it over 50-plus games and not over one game.”
Butrym’s status uncertain
Wisconsin defensive tackle Patrick Butrym might not know until late in the week whether he will be healthy enough to play Saturday against Michigan State.
However, there is a good chance Butrym, who sprained his left ankle against Indiana, will try to play even if he doesn’t practice this week.
“He felt really tight on Sunday, but it was better today,” UW coach Bret Bielema said during his Monday news conference. “He’s got a goal in his mind to get out there and maybe run around a little bit Wednesday and hopefully practice Thursday.
“I think Patrick, because of the amount of reps he has gotten is so smart. I would really feel good about him playing even if he didn’t get any real (practice) time.”
Butrym has played in a team-high 45 games for UW, with 21 starts.
Sophomore Ethan Hemer has started all six games alongside Butrym this season and is set to make his 13th consecutive start overall on Saturday.
If Butrym can’t play, either Jordan Kohout or Beau Allen will start with Hemer.
“The difference among the big three is razor thin,” defensive line coach Charlie Partridge said before practice Sunday. “And all three of them are getting better in the process.”
If Butrym is out this week, the fourth tackle likely will be Bryce Gilbert, a redshirt freshman from Brookfield Central High School.
“He is doing a nice job at practice,” Partridge said. “ Eriks Breidis is still a little banged up and fighting through some things and lost some weight in the process of all that.
“Gilbert got about a dozen reps (Saturday) and looked like he belonged at this level. I’m excited about his future.”
Chryst not satisfied
UW offensive coordinator Paul Chryst doesn’t mince words and he wasn’t pleased with the play of the second-string offense, which produced 30 yards in 17 plays in the 59-7 victory over Indiana.
Quarterback Joe Brennan was sacked twice but the more disconcerting issue was that he completed just 1 of 4 passes for 1 yard. His first two throws, to wide receiver JeffDuckworth, sailed too high and had no hope of being caught.
“I can see you sailing one,” Chryst said. “But eventually you’ve got to adjust. I wasn’t real pleased.
“He’s got to find a way to play in a manner that isn’t a liability. It wasn’t real good.”
UW tight end Jacob Pedersen has extra incentive this week against Michigan State.
Pedersen, from Menominee, Mich., wants to be able to return home in the off-season without needing to wear headphones.
“I hear people back home all the time: ‘You can’t beat Michigan State,’?” he said, referring to UW’s 34-24 loss to the Spartans last season. “I’ve got to put this to rest. I think we’re going to prepare well this week.”