News and Notes from Spartan Football Camp Edition
Fou Fonoti’s injury at the RT is interesting. They won’t even try to test his health until game week. He will be a game week decision. I expect him to play, but I look for no new information at all this week.
There was a lot of back biting and complaining in the Spartan Nation last year about Macgarrett Kings not redshirting. The problem is that physically he was the MOST talented WR on the team last year. That isn’t me guessing, that is from the program. The issues were with the mental part of the game. I was thrilled to hear him this past week talking about growing up and maturing. Kings has an NFL upside and if he can grasp the mental part of the game there is NO ceiling. Remember that he was ONLY a true freshman last year. I don’t expect ANY significant contribution from a player until year three in the program. Although Spartan Nation wanted more from the talented Florida youngster, that is a testimony to his talent more than an indictment on his season.
Tyler O’Connor has had a superb summer. I have said since last year ended that I have no doubts Andrew Maxwell is your starting QB when WMU kicks off. I stand by that. What I will say is the battle is for #2 and ultimately that person will get the first shot if Maxwell stumbles.
Mark Dantonio is NOT going to start a true freshman QB with no game experience. He has said that. I understand the excitement because Terry is a great player, but some people are getting awfully worked up about something that isn’t going to happen. Play? Maybe. Redshirt? Probably.
Conventional wisdom prior to camp was that Connor Cook would battle Maxwell for #1. That dynamic is not reality and his battle is with O’Connor and talking to those in the program the thing keeping O’Connor for seizing that #2 spot behind Maxwell is that he has no game experience. If Cook and O’Connor play the same way they have this camp when the games start, O’Connor will be your #2.
The official press release said that the offense won the last scrimmage. I want to emphasize to you that the information was the official press release. The media was not there and every person I have spoken with who was there, smirks when that is mentioned. Let’s just say the offense had some help with that win. Nothing wrong with that, but it is exactly why press releases are to be taken with some reservation.
Starting in game one, the Michigan State defensive lines and offensive lines will be improved. I can’t tell you how big of an influence Coach Bollman and Coach Burton have made. I also do not want to minimize the job Coach Staten has done. I mentioned before that he has been able to spend a ton of time teaching instead of coaching and it is showing.
I do not expect Jack Allen or Lawrence Thomas to take the field and play in a game before the Spartans kick off in South Bend.
We live in a society that when someone succeeds the perception by many is that either they did something wrong to get there or the person they stepped over failed. That may be a popular school of thought in today’s America, but it is not reality with the battle for the MSU kicker job. Michael Geiger is a super kid and the nation’s #1 kicker for the 2013 recruiting class for a reason. He has performed very well. The fact is that Kevin Muma has simply out-performed him. Muma is one of the most genuine people you will ever meet and something clicked between the end of spring and now. I am still and old fashion American capitalist and I love what competition does. The battle with Geiger has made both young men better. Who knows how this turns out, but if MSU can redshirt Geiger (like they did with Sadler when they had Bates) that could be one of Muma’s lasting gifts.
Since I have not mentioned it I would like to inform you that I hate the NCAA.
Darqueze Dennard has had an amazing camp. If he plays like he is in camp this season I have no doubt he is a #1 NFL draft pick.
The RB spot is a battle for the #3 spot. Gerald Holmes and Jeremy Langford are going at it. Riley has the #1 spot and Delton Williams the #2. Williams and Riley are very young, but they are punishing backs.
Coming into camp the coaches had Jairus Jones tied with Taiwan Jones on the depth chart. Mike Tressel, the MSU LB coach, admitted it was to motivate Taiwan. He took it personal. REAL personal. He is getting all the #1 reps and making plays. The Spartans LB core is sick and I don’t mean terrible. That little bit of kid lingo is just another name for “DYNAMITE” in the words of J.J. from Good Times.
Here is what I expect your OL to look like when the Spartans lineup against WMU in 10 days: LT Conklin LG Treadwell C Travis Jackson RG France RT Fonoti.
It is not uncommon for the Spartans to have four captains. Usually they elect three and have one that alternates. I am not saying this will happen, but I can see a scenario this year that only two get elected captain and they add the others via rotation. I know they prefer to have three or four elected, and they probably still will, but this is the year they could have only two. That will be interesting to watch on Thursday.
Speaking of captains we know Max Bullough will be. I will be stunned if Darqueze Dennard isn’t either. Who else is ANYONES guess and there doesn’t seem to be any consensus.