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It was really cold on Saturday; we sat through snow flurries for most of the afternoon. All in all, it was a pretty entertaining spring game and there was some clarity. Position by position:
QB: It's Maxwell vs. Cook. Cook made the bigger plays more consistently, but made a couple of questionable decisions (including channeling his inner-Devin Gardner on a Yakkity Saks sack). Maxwell made the game winning throw, but could not get anything going downfield aside from that. For what it's worth, Maxwell had 1 starting WR and a pair of walk-ons going up against the 2 active members of the starting secondary (Waynes and Drummond). It's his own fault, but I think whatever QB had Burbridge was going to have the better day. Maxwell starts vs. WMU, but this race won't be decided until the ND game.
WR: Burbridge is good. Mumphery is solid. After that, I think Arnett showed the most out there, and make a K-mart-esque play on his 2nd reception. If I had to pick a starting line-up/formation, I'd put AB at the X, Mumphery at the Y and Arnett at Z (slot). Fowler will play; he just doesn't have the hands to be a top option though, and you can tell his foot injury has robbed him of some of his speed. Lippett looked worse than he did last year. I doubt the walk-ons see much time, despite Troup's performance. Biggest development to me was Arnett looking like he belonged out there.
RB: The starting RB isn't on campus, or, if he is, MSU's ground game will be beyond anemic. Bullough would be ok as a short yardage type back, but Hill and Langford aren't going to cut it; Hill's best plays were as a receiver. Tompkins looks like he has Baker's speed without Baker's power; he may get some carries as a change of pace RB, but he's not a 250 carry guy at this moment. Disappointed overall with the vision and cuts.
FB: LT is noticeably better at FB than Pendelton. It is what it is; if Palazeti continues to be banged up, this is going to be a "meh" position.
TE: QBs didn't look to the TEs much, and when they did it felt like a trick play . The RS FR TEs are still learning the ropes; Gleichert could end up as "ok". MSU is going to miss Sims.
OL: I was pleasantly surprised by the OL, especially with 2 starters and the 6th man (Allen) out. Fonoti is going to be solid at LT, and the interior pass-blocking looked good. Conklin held his own; Donovan Clark got worked by Shilique Calhoun. That's not shocking; Clark is an OG who was playing OT only because France and Burkland were out. It was nice to see Hank Conway out there; he's enormous. He was actually playing OG next to Clark. I think if the OL stays relatively healthy, they could be a very good pass-blocking unit. Run-blocking . . . there were some holes, but not consistently (no surprise given that the team is split up). Wait and see on that one, and it highlights even more the weakness at RB.
DE: MSU is thin here. If Calhoun goes down, I don't see anyone on the roster capable of producing a consistent edge rush. Lyles could end up o.k. by the end of the year, but I think he's a full year away. Heath is Gholston-lite; big, strong, can hold the point of attack but has a limited pass-rush skill set and isn't particularly fast off the line. Drone will be fine in small doses; 15 snaps/game-ish. Rush is Rush; solid, not spectacular. Insert gym rat/student of the game comment in here.
DT: LT was the only DT that seemed to be able to beat the OGs/Cs inside. Saw very little from Hoover, Reynolds or Kittredge, other than they looked like last year; good enough to keep the LBs clean, but not good enough to make plays on their own. I do think MSU's OL is better than last year, but they aren't an elite unit. Unless some significant strides are made over the summer, I doubt MSU gets much of a push up the middle this year.
LBs: Very few complaints, though they did lose contain on Tompkins' big run. Taiwan Jones is going to contend for All-Big 10 honors and I really like Darien Harris and Elsworth as back-ups. The starting unit should be the best group in the conference.
CBs: I thought Ezra Robinson was the star of the game until he got injured. Waynes was doing a great job; my friend who was sitting next to me asked if Waynes was even playing halfway through the 2nd Q. He had been playing the whole game; that's a testament to a CB locking up his man. Edmondson looked a little behind those two, but given another year of development and he'll be a player. IMHO, Dantonio has carte blanche when it comes to CB recruiting.
S: Safeties were pretty quiet and allowed some bigger passes downfield. There was a breakdown on Fowler's big catch. They weren't needed much in run-support (though they did move to the ball well), which is a testament to the front-7s. Cox and Williamson were surprisingly quiet, given the talk surrounding them this spring.
K: Well, MSU can hit 30 yard FGs . Would have liked to see a KO that actually made it to the EZ; MSU's KO coverage was poor last year and need to limit returns. I think Geiger gets every chance to earn the starting K job. Sadler is going to be great. Snapping looked pretty good, but it's not like there was a ton of heat.
Recruiting: 2 big commits yesterday. Burton in IL is clearly a great combination. This could very well prove to be MSU's highest rated class since 2009, for those of you that care about such things.
Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.
Good summary, but somehow you neglected to mention Mylan Hicks who was the best player on defense for either team.
Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity. - Frank Leahy.-- If you're going to be stupid, be smart about it. - Mike Milbury
agree...Hicks was all over the field yesterday and was very impressive. Hope to hell Robinson is OK...I know Coach D' said he was, but he probly had no way of KNOWING for sure. Same with Calhoun who got nicked.
Great summary. The RB situation is scary.
Probably shows my complete ignorance, but I felt decent about the Rb's yesterday. Riley is solid but won't be asked to do too much IMO(his fumble when Ellsworth lit him up is proof of this btw)...he's a short yardage and goal line guy MOSTLY.
Tompkins showed flashes..enough that he'll get more reps now. Langford didn't show too much honestly. Of course we have 3 very talented kids showing up in a few months: Williams, Shelton and Holmes so I'm confident they'll figure it out because IF the Oline can stay healthy they will be better IMO..possibly MUCH better.
...FWIW: I'm more concerned about the TE's than the RB's. Cousins: "With the loss of Dion Sims, you lose alot of production at that position. Jones and Lang have to step up and try to shore up that area"..........yup
This post has been edited 3 times, most recently by spartyon1 12 months ago
Glad I wasn't the only one who saw more promise in Cook than Maxwell. Low completion percentage, but seems more comfortable running the O, and actually moves the O better.
TE and RB are major concerns right now. WR will probably be ok. Just need one out the five or so contenders to develop consistency and compliment Burbridge.
Looks like so much last year will be back this year. Great defense and a really lousy offense, low scoring grudge matches decided in last few min.
This post was edited by john winger 12 months ago
i only care about spartans --> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqsAJQc-NCY
buck up winger....or Sgt. Hulka's big toe is gonna go straight up your ass
I am confident in the passing game. People are underestimating this RB situation. The game, particularly MDs game, has not changed that much over the years.
Like spartyon1 says maybe its one of the three new guys. I keep thinking of Williams as a defender not a RB but he did get plenty of carries in high school.
Did Fennel play at all?
I thought RB production was one of the positives out of the spring game.
"RCMB: You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainry." - some dude from MgoBlog
I'm driving back to Chicago now; at.the Starbucks on Grand River waiting for my coffee. I want to respond to everyone, but in short.
Cook is.higher reward, but.higher risk. Not sure if that's what the staff wants.
Tompkins had.1 big run and averaged 1.3 YPC on his other 3 runs. Again, could be fine in small doses, but he seems boom.or.bust.
I think a healthy OL makes.the.O.better automatically.
Hicks showed.great speed because the safeties let a.guy get behind them. Not sure that qualifies as great D play.
The staff expects the defense to be great. Because of that I think they'll decide against the high-risk guy and go with Maxwell, at least early in the season.
At WR, I was hoping to see more of Madaris, but he gets an incomplete for the day. I know he played, but I didn't see any passes go his way, although I read that he had a good block on Tompkins big run. If he can consistently block downfield I expect he'll get some snaps next year since that was an issue last year, and the staff has shown a willingness to play a guy that can block but isn't as good in other areas (see: Keith Nichol).
We are not the same, I am a Spartan
I'll tell you what I liked - that wing T or wishbone set that nick hill scored his touchdown on. I don't think there will be much running the ball from the QB under center, but a formation like that utilizes our strengths in the run game - basically, LT being a beast of a lead blocker.
Rocky remarked about the fullback position - it's not going to matter. We're going to be in shotgun, 4 wide, most of the game, with Maxwell throwing hitchs and slants to whoever the presnap hot read is.
How can you even have that expectation with a split up OL with 2 (possibly 3) starters not even playing due to injury?
I don't want to say this the wrong way, but our offense sounds terrible again
I was surprised we didn't see much from McG. Kings. That might go down as the worst redshirt burn of all time.
Looks to me like Thompkins ran for 43 yards, w/ a 30 yd run and 3 other carries for another 13 yds (4.3 ypc). Not sure why Rocky is saying 1.3 ypc on the other three carries.
I love our defense, and am cautiously optimistic about the offense. If we somehow manage 14-21 points a game* I feel like we'll have a good chance to win all of our games.
*by the offense. Although I guess having the defense score all of our points works too.
wrapping several posters thoughts together here, and not trying to claim that max is the answer, but he did make the big play when it was needed. Had he done that last year it would have been a much better outcome in a few games at least. I wanted to see him come out slinging a little bit this year, with a nothing to lose attitude. Does not look like that is in his personality. If he can manage games AND make the big plays when they are needed, with our D and punter, that should be good enough.
I was ok with RBs, not a lit of bad decisions, found lanes, made some good Plays. Nowhere near great, but against an elite D, they showed something. Between them and the 3 frosh, this position will produce.
TE, looks like a blocking unit, really hope Mills makes it back.
I know the defense is deep but half the best defensive players were out. The offense should have done a lot more. Maxwell looked exactly how he always looks and the WRs are still dropping balls and Bell and Sims are gone. I am very discouraged about the offense. I was never one to think Damion Terry was a legit option for the Fall, but now I think he is.
I doubt Dantonio and staff are going to drive him to be a gunslinger. They have one in Cook. Maxwell is the "safe" pick - with a god surrounding cast he will do enough to win you the game. But it can't be like last year where the WRs and OL are shit and try to make Maxwell win the game regardless. For those situations, you put in Cook who can improvise and try to give the offense an identity. This comes at the risk of more turnovers.
Burkland and France were both out, as was Jack Allen.
Plus the OL was split up between the two teams.
I don't have any expectations. Just commenting on what I saw yesterday. That's what this thread is about... "musings, observations."
Actually that's my fault - misread your statement, I thought you said "I had though RB production would be a positive", implying that it didn't live up to what you thought it would be. My mistake.
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