EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Michigan State defensive end Jeff Pietrowski made his presence known early in the opener against the Western Michigan Broncos.

Pietrowski played a part in the Spartans 11 tackles for loss in the game, and as an elder statesman of the group, he’s ready for the added responsibility this year.

Last season, he had 5.5 sacks and 37 tackles, but he plans to top that this year.

“I think it’s just every day in the off-season. You’re always looking to get a little bit better,” said Pietrowski. “We talk about stacking days here and that’s as a team and that’s individually.”

Pietrowski said he closely watched how he played on tape and asked himself how he could get better, smarter and be a better teammate to his fellow Spartans.

“It’s not looking at it last year and say, man, it’d be tough to beat that,” continued Pietrowski.

MSU has had some great recent history on the defensive side of the ball, particularly on the defensive line.

“There is some pressures, big names. Those are a lot of great friends of mine. I mean, Kuba [Jakub Panasiuk] was someone that I came in and day one he was one of my best friends and taught me so much about the position. Kenny’s [Willekes] was someone else,” said Pietrowski.

The defensive end says he has learned different things from every teammate.

“When I look at his [Kenny’s] game, I remember when I was getting recruited here. That was the guy that I wanted to be. That’s what got me here. Kuba was a guy, I think, such a technician. So another intense guy and someone who every day worked with me and helped me and Beesley did his job so well, Jordan was a good player. So, you know, you could take things from each guy. Think that’s what I tried to do,” said Pietrowski.

“So you’re saying we’re gonna get a combination of all of those guys in this season with you?” asked 6 Sports Reporter Nick Mantas.

“I hope so. I hope the best of all of them. Right? That’s the goal,” said Pietrowski.

When he’s not sacking quarterbacks, Pietrowski likes to go back to his roots of Medina, Ohio.

For the country boy, he favors the tune of the classic Luke Combs song “When It Rains It Pours”, as well as anything Toby Keith.