Michigan State Football: 3 things to know about new DC Joe Rossi

What do you need to know about Michigan State's new defensive coordinator?

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2. Rossi's defense is elite in different ways

When one thinks about a good defense, it usually involves sacks and turnovers. Joe Rossi's defense was not tops in the Big Ten in either of those categories the last three years.

So what was the secret to success in his two best years at Minnesota?

The main statistic was defensive third-down conversions. In 2021, Minnesota's defense only allowed a first down on 34 percent of an opponent's third downs. The next year was even better, only allowing offenses to covert on 27.9%, the best in the Big Ten. This led to more stalled-out drives, fewer red zone attempts, only 26 total red zone trips in 2022 and only allowing 16 touchdowns and seven field goals in those 26 attempts.

The Spartans were allowing over 40 percent conversion on opponent's third-down attempts in 2022 and 2021 and while they were statistically better in 2023, it sure seemed like the opposing offense never got to third down and went whole drives never even getting to third or fourth down.

On paper, Rossi should have the front-seven to make a jump in just his first season given the talent at linebacker and the defensive line. Defensive backs coach Blue Adams should help the back end improve which is quite a low bar given how many passing yards Scottie Hazelton's defenses have given up.