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Spartans lose QB coach to NFL

February 7, 2006

Quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier has left the MSU football team after three seasons to take the same job with the NFL's St. Louis Rams.

"It's an outstanding opportunity for my family obviously, but it's very difficult to leave a place that we love and those guys, those quarterbacks there, made it very difficult," he said Monday in a teleconference. "I want the people there to know that we had a wonderful time in East Lansing."

Nussmeier will be reunited with former MSU and current Rams backup quarterback Jeff Smoker. In 2003, Nussmeier guided Smoker to single-season MSU records in pass completions, pass attempts, touchdown passes and passing yards on his way to being named second-team All-Big Ten.

Scott Linehan — who became the Rams' head coach in January — served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Idaho during Nussmeier's junior and senior years of college and was a four-year starter at quarterback from 1990-93.

"When coach Linehan got the job, he contacted me and we discussed it — not in detail though," Nussmeier said. "I wasn't in any situation where I was going to leave Michigan State in the middle of recruiting."

Nussmeier was very active in securing recruits for the 2006 class, landing prospects from Canada all the way south to Florida. He said he waited until National Signing Day to discuss the job opportunity with Linehan so he could visit and be straight forward with the recruits he was responsible for.

Prior to joining the MSU staff, the 35-year-old coach spent two years as an assistant coach in the Canadian Football League. Nussmeier also played five years in the NFL as a quarterback for the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts.

While in college, Nussmeier also played under current Spartans head coach John L. Smith, who was head coach at Idaho from 1989-1994. As a senior, Nussmeier threw for 33 touchdowns and earned the Walter Payton Award, given annually to the Division I-AA player of the year.

"Coach (Smith) is one of the best people I've ever been around for a number of reasons, and probably the main one is he cares about people and he cares about his coaches and he cares about his players," Nussmeier said.

"He was very supportive, telling me I had to go, so obviously I owe a lot to him."

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