Is this the weekend Pat Narduzzi becomes a head coach?
Heading into Saturday's Paul Bunyan Trophy tilt with No. 21 Michigan, the numbers of No. 22 Michigan State's defense are just flat-out ridiculous. Take a look:
Total Defense: 1st
Yards Per Play Allowed: 1st
Scoring Defense: 3rd
Touchdowns Allowed: t-4th
Rushing Defense: 1st
Yards Per Carry Allowed: 1st
Rushing Touchdowns Allowed: t-5th
Passing Defense: 3rd
Pass Efficiency Defense: 2nd
Yards Per Attempt Allowed: 1st
Opponent Completion Percentage: 4th
Opponent FIrst Downs Allowed: t-1st
Opponent Third Down Conversions: 3rd
Plays of 10+ Yards Allowed: 1st
Plays of 20+ Yards Allowed: t-2nd
Rushes of 10+ Yards Allowed: 1st
In case you weren't counting, the Spartans rank inside the top five in 16 separate defensive categories and lead the nation in eight of them.
This season, Michigan State defense has been a symphony, and Pat Narduzzi is the maestro. And people inside and outside of East Lansing are taking notice of the sweet music the Spartans are playing every Saturday.
"My hope is that he'll be here for a long time," Michigan State athletics director Mark Hollis told USA Today on the possibility of Narduzzi succeeding current Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio. "But there's no question, I wouldn't hesitate to have Pat in that mix. We sit down and think of things at the end of every year, that's not a decision we would make at midseason. But I have the highest confidence in Pat's ability to be a head coach at Michigan State, or somewhere else."
A 23-year coaching veteran, the 47-year-old Narduzzi knows he's ready for his first head coaching job.
"There's no question about it, and I feel like I'm ready," Narduzzi told the Detroit Free Press. "But I'm not taking a head coaching job just to take one. I would never leave Michigan State and coach (Mark) Dantonio for anything but the right job."
With a nationally-televised game ahead, without much in the way of competition on an otherwise weak Saturday slate, this could be the Saturday the Pat Narduzzi fan club membership stretches outside the coaching profession and onto the private jets of athletic directors across the country. For Narduzzi, the right job may be at his doorstep sooner rather than later.