A quarterbackâ€™s best weapon is a good running game, but a solid offensive doesnâ€™t hurt, either.
Michigan Stateâ€™s offensive line is one of the biggest areas of concern due to newcomers like Dan France and Blake Treadwell coming over from the defensive side of the ball. How these guys handle the move to the other side of ball will have a lot to do with MSU's success this fall. Â There is a reason the aforementioned guys were brought over to that side of the ball: they have the skill and athleticism to become great.
Kirk Cousins talked about his offensive line following the spring game. Â He mentioned that Treadwell and Ethan Ruhland were switching spots on the offensive each quarter. He also praised Travis Jackson for showing up as a freshman and contributing right away.
Cousins also mentioned how things have been different this spring as opposed to previous ones because of these injuries and position switches.
One huge example is senior offensive guard Joel Foreman, who has started in 22 consecutive games on the offensive line and is arguably the top lineman on the entire team. It puts added pressure on the other players to step up and prove their worth.
â€œWell, when you have injuries like Joel Foreman and (center) Nate Klatt, youâ€™re pretty thin and going down to the last guys in your offense,â€ Cousins said. â€œWe had freshmen, non-scholarship guys playing the entire game today and did a tremendous job. It was fun to get them out there, and when they play like that I think it gives them confidence going forward and itâ€™s great for them and our team.â€
It also provides the offense the opportunity to continue the success it has had the past couple seasons without completely changing around the gameplan. Whenever a Big Ten championship-winning team loses a guy like Foreman the entire spring, or has big position battles to determine integral cogs of the offense, things are going to feel awkward.
Luckily for the Spartans, they have the depth to plug guys into different spots and convert them to new positions altogether. France, for example, said he was recruited by many college coaches to actually be an offensive lineman. Itâ€™s a unique aspect of collegiate football as opposed to the NFL as players are still trying to determine where they are best fit to play, and coaches and teammates notice that.
â€œAlthough weâ€™re young at the offensive line and inexperienced with guys like Dan France and (right guard) Zach Hueter -- who havenâ€™t played a whole lot of football for us due to injuries or position switch -- I really like the attitude we have, the work ethic we have, and weâ€™re gonna need those guys on their own accord, individually, to work out this summer and get a lot of work in and push themselves so that come August it will be open training camp and theyâ€™ll be ready to go,â€ Cousins said.
The fall is when the skill and knowledge levels of the newest group of offensive linemen will really meet their match.