Spring training inspires eternal hope for college football fans. Optimism is at an all-time high. Last season’s disappointment has been wiped from memory and fan boys across the country have their eyes locked into their favorite squad’s progress in the off season. At this point, everyone’s undefeated, everyone still has a shot, and there are no losers. Not yet. In part 5 of our B1G spring preview, we take a look at the Michigan State Spartans.
Camp Opens: March 19th
Spring Game: April 20th
Is this still Andrew Maxwell’s team? The senior quarter back started all 13 games last season but the last time the Spartans took the field, Maxwell was pulled in favor of freshman Connor Cook in what became the deciding drive in the 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Maxwell has to control the inside track to that job because of the experience he gained last season but his play was pedestrian at the most. Cook, sophomore Tyler O’Conner and eventually incoming freshman Damion Terry will vie for the starting job that will be under the biggest microscope this spring.
How the Spartans replace the early departing Le’Veon Bell will go a long ways in deciding how 2013 will go for Michigan State. To say their offense leaned on Bell is an understatement. Bell carried the rock 382 times last season (the most in college football) and gained 1,793 yards. The work load for Bell in 2012 leaves very little experience for the Spartans in 2013. The leading returning rusher Nick Hill had just 21 attempts last season. The Spartans will rely on new comers and running backs by committee, at least in the early goings of 2013, until someone establishes himself in the role.
Much like last season, Michigan State comes into 2013 with very few questions on defense. The defense finished ranked in the top 10 in nearly every category in 2012, but it also gave up the lead in 4 of Michigan State’s 6 losses. Even with the departures off the defensive line in end Will Gholston and tackle Anthony Rashad White, most expect The Spartans to be solid again in 2013.
All eyes will be on the offensive scheme and style this spring, which is bound to be different with the off-season departure of offensive coordinator Dan Rousher. Dave Warner and new hire Jim Bollman will share the duties of trying to fix an offense that sputtered more than it clicked in 2012 and was the main scapegoat for the disappointing season.
Up Next: Minnesota
BY RYAN OSBAHR ON APRIL 2, 2013