Michigan State defensive end Greg Taplin has been suspended from Saturday’s game against Michigan for violating team rules, coach Bobby Williams announced yesterday.

Williams didn’t say what rules Taplin violated or whether the suspension was related to the indefinite suspension of quarterback Jeff Smoker.

Smoker was suspended from last week’s game against Wisconsin and won’t start this Saturday. Smoker was widely considered the top quarterback in the Big Ten coming into the season

“It was a very tough decision, very disappointing, but it was the best decision for him and the program,” Williams said of Smoker’s suspension.

Taplin, a 6-foot-5, 258-pound junior from Hollywood, Fla., has started in six of Michigan State’s first eight games in 2002. He has recorded 27 tackles and one sack.

Williams said he will announce Taplin’s replacement following pre-game warm-ups tomorrow.

On Tuesday, Williams confirmed that two redshirt sophomores, fullback Jason Bradley and linebacker James Cooper, voluntarily left the team.

Bradley, who hails from Sarasota, Fla., played mostly on special teams for the Spartans. Cooper, a St. Louis native, played two games this season and recorded three tackles in limited duty.

– Staff and wire reports

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