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Notes from the First Week of Spartan Camp:

  1. Funniest moment of camp to me so far? At practice on Friday, I was standing next to the two man sled while Coach Narduzzi was working with the defensive lineman. Freshman Tyler Hoover was on the sled and Narduzzi yelled to Hoover, "Tyler, I love ya buddy, but you can't hit this like it's your sister. Hit is like it is Your enemy!" Hoover then rattled the sled. Those defensive players love Narduzzi as he does them and they work hard, but they enjoy being with each other also and that is huge.
  2. Ryan Allison has the inside track for the "other" starting OLB spot opposite of Eric Gordon and next to Greg Jones. He is very fast and has tremendous footwork. Add to his speed and footwork that he has exceptional vision and things look good for him. He has to work on the entire tackling process. Wrap up, hit and drive, but he is improving there. If his tackling improves (and we have no reason to think it won't) he could be special. LB Coach Mike Tressel summed it up best to me when he said, "What I would give to have had that kid his entire career."
  3. Fred Smith is a specimen. He has amazed his teammates with his ability. There has been speculation by the media that he may get a shot at TE (something that OC Coach Treadwell wouldn't rule out) and Smith doesn't care. In fact he told me when I asked him, "I will play anywhere that gets me on the field." The Spartans will have a tough time keeping him off of the field. Am I the only one that has a visual of this young man running a fade in the endzone? Any of the Spartans 2008 opponents better get that visual. WARNING: It may cause nightmares.
  4. Tyler Hoover enrolled early at MSU and he will figure in the playing rotation immediately. He has all the size and speed and you can see him already ahead of many of his teammates. He is a student of the game. The kid loves football and you can see it already. The coaches have high hopes for this youngster and they should.
  5. Keyshawn Martin is getting so much press and he should. One thing that sticks out with him is not only his physical condition, but he makes it look effortless. I AM IN NO WAY CALLING HIM CALVIN JOHNSON, but since I am the only media member that covers both of them regularly, I can point out that there is this one striking resemblance. When Calvin came to the Lions everyone raved (myself included) that he made it look effortless. Martin is the same. Twice I took a double take because it looked like he was dogging it, but he wasn't. He just makes it look easy.
  6. Chris L. Rucker is a full time CB now and the smile on the Da Bang Stick's face when he announced that said it all. They think he can be a special player and he will get his shot. One thing you should know about him is that he is an incredible competitor and loves to hit. That love of hitting would usually mean more of a safety and who knows. As of now he will have the chance to be a special CB at MSU and they expect that.
  7. Second funniest moment of camp: One of you emailed me about a comment a media member made on the radio about MSU football camp. The funny part? He hasn't even been to camp.  Like not at all. That is why I told the person who emailed me, "Maybe you should listen to people who actually go." I have to laugh sometimes at people and perceptions. 
  8. Rod Jenrette is a head hunter. That young man loves to hit. From his safety position he will get many chances. Jenrette has to learn that it isn't always about the hit. I watched Dantonio closely work with him in practice and trying to get him to keep his head up and watch the field.  He no doubt has the skills to play S and if he can improve the other parts than just hitting, he could get a shot at the next level.
  9. MLB Greg Jones says all of the right things and has done a very good job at being humble. That said, he has clearly taken over the leadership role on defense and he is constantly talking to the other backers and has clearly become another coach on the field.  When lining up he showed someone on his defense (at another position) that they were lined up wrong. Not only does he have a firm grasp of his role, but others. Something that clearly speaks of a special player. It has been years since the Spartan Nation has had such a young and mature leader in that spot and he turned out to be one of the best...Josh Thornhill. Jones is smart like Thornhill, but even more athletic and tough.
  10. Dave Rolf the freshman from Piqua, Ohio has made the staff take a look. Although no move is imminent, look for him when his career is over to have moved to DE. One coach told me, "I would be shocked if he didn't end up with his hand on the ground. With his speed and vision he could be a dominant DE."
  11. This group of CB's is perhaps the most physical and experienced that the Spartans have had since Dantonio was last here.
  12. Although national pundits are not impressed, the Spartan DL is the most experienced (albeit young) that they have had in a long time. Multiple players will get reps and with the attacking style that the Spartans employ, fresh legs can only help.
  13. Michael Jordan got a lot of love (even here at Spartan Nation) when he committed to the Spartans, but he is third on the depth chart. He will get reps, but his drop to third on the depth chart is a testament to the depth the Spartans now have.
  14. It amazes me (and others) how much better this team looks this season than last. Here is why. The practices are crisp, the players get it and you are seeing so many of the other (this includes under classmen with experience) coaching each other up. That one year under the system is huge. Ken Mannie's handiwork is evident with so many players in visible bigger and faster shape.
  15. Tim "Tool Time" Allen is a huge upgrade for the Spartans as the Director of Football Operations over Mike Vollmar. I wish Vollmar well with Satan Saban at Bama, but I wish that he would have left his IPOD. Some of the music this week has been less than stellar. Thanks Lunsford and Hoyer.
  16. AJ Jimmerson looks bigger.  I also noticed closely his picking up the rush and you can tell he has addressed that concern.
  17. RB Ashton Leggett struggled in the spring with holding onto the ball. I am not sure what he has done to fix it, but one week into fall camp it hasn't been an issue. I watched a tear drill with Coach Enos in which the RB's and QB's run through a tunnel of players trying to rip the ball out. He held the ball closer than a fat guy with a donut.

Speaking of fat guys and donuts, I am hungry. See ya!



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