Tuesday, January 31, 2023

'My role is just whatever’s best for the team': Windmon's monster debut spurred by fall camp positional change

September 3, 2022
Senior defensive end Jacoby Windmon, 4, sneaks behind Jack Salopek, 6, during Michigan State’s home opener against Western Michigan at Spartan Stadium on Sept. 2, 2022.
Senior defensive end Jacoby Windmon, 4, sneaks behind Jack Salopek, 6, during Michigan State’s home opener against Western Michigan at Spartan Stadium on Sept. 2, 2022. —
Photo by Chloe Trofatter | The State News

Senior linebacker Jacoby Windmon left it all on the field in his first game as a Spartan. The transfer from the University of Nevada had a huge four sack game after switching positions to defensive end against Western Michigan.

Windmon showed off his defensive versatility through this positional change and made clear he did it for the good of the team.

“My role is just whatever’s best for the team,” Windmon said. “Coach made the adjustment for me to go right there and play the game and I was all for it. I just do what’s best for the team, whatever it takes to win and keep chopping.”

Windmon said the idea to switch to defensive end against Western was in the works for a few weeks.

“It happened closer to the game, like a week out and it was something I was gonna work on in fall camp because I knew one of my roles when I got here was to be a third down guy, and a few weeks before the game, you know, made the change for me to just play D-end and I just had that mindset to just go in there and dominate whatever position I’m out on the field,” Windmon said.

Three of Windmon's sacks came in the second half and were especially clutch to help set up multiple third-and-longs. Meanwhile, Michigan State's offense came to a screeching halt and WMU took advantage. The Broncos drove down the field numerous times and cut MSU's 21-3 halftime lead to 21-13 by the start of the fourth quarter.

However, not one sack was more important than Windmon's first half strip sack on third down, with Western Michigan possessing the ball on MSU's 13-yard line.

Head Coach Mel Tucker spoke to how his team is unselfish, and how Windmon agreed to switch to defensive end after the team studied the matchup and decided he would be the best man for the job.

“He was playing linebacker for us, and we asked if he would play defensive end a couple weeks ago,” Tucker said. “We thought he’d be able to get to the freshman quarterback, and he still plays linebacker as well, but this goes to show what type of team guy he is.”

The 35-13 victory over the Broncos required Mel Tucker’s squad to have some team players, and as redshirt sophomore Cal Haladay described, a “next man up mentality.”

Early switches also had to be made due to injuries to junior linebacker Darius Snow and fifth-year safety Xavier Henderson, both key components of MSU’s defense. There is currently no update on their injury status.

Haladay reinforced how important it is to have the second and third string players ready to come in at all times after they went down.

“We’re going to count on them as the games go on,” Haladay said. “We know injuries and stuff like that happen, everybody just has to be ready to play.”

Tucker expects all of his players to be ready to come into the game at all times.

“Play comes up, and guys are making calls in the meetings, it's not just to the starters, as to the twos and threes, everyone, because this next man mentality,” Tucker said. “You don’t know when your number’s gonna be called. You have to be prepared and ready to go.”

Depending on the severity of Snow and Henderson’s injuries, more defensive players, especially in the secondary, will likely get their number called and have to step up when the Spartans take on Akron in East Lansing next Saturday at 4 p.m.

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