Six Players To Watch as MSU Football Opens Spring Practice

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The Spartans open spring with some issues to address, but a solid 2011 team.  As with every spring, there will be some experiments, but that is what makes this time of year fun.  Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

The Spartans open spring with some issues to address, but a solid 2011 team. As with every spring, there will be some experiments, but that is what makes this time of year fun. Photo courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

 

 

  1. WILL linebacker is going to be interesting. Max Bullough will be the guy when fall comes at MIKE and Chris Norman at the STAR. Who wins this coveted spot? For sure there will be a few in the mix with Steve Gardiner and Denicos Allen at the top. Remember this: Jeremy Gainer. He came in the same class as Norman and many thought he was more suited to play right away instead of red shirt. That isn’t a slam on Norman; it is a compliment to how Gainer played. He is a very good athlete and can’t be counted out.
  2. Mike Sadler, the punter, has big shoes or should we say a big foot to fill. More than capable, will Sadler have a curve or step in from day one thanks to a calming red shirt and be ready to be the man? Unlike last year at kicker, I expect no drama and Sadler to be settled, but it is still critical to watch.
  3. Blake Treadwell was a very good DT and moving up with each game he played. Being switched to C shocked some, but remember he was highly regarded as an OL prior to MSU saying he was a DT. You wouldn’t move a qualified DT unless he clearly had a shot at the starters job, but watching what happens there will be interesting this spring.
  4. Expectations. It is one thing to win; it is another to maintain that. Last year this team had its own expectations of being Big Ten champs, but outside of the locker room they weren’t as prevalent. How does this team progress with a Big Ten championship under their belt? Are they hungry or complacent? With Ken Mannie having had them all winter I would assume they are glad to be rid of winter conditioning and excited to put the pads on. I realize this isn't exactly a player, but it is about all the players as a group. They have been hunters. Now they are the hunted. Tom Izzo has said many times and I agree with him that getting there is one thing, but winning brings expectations. I couldn't agree with him more.
  5. Brad Sonntag has wowed with his hands and speed in practice. At only 5’8” (and that could be generous) he couldn’t make the field. Anytime there is a coaching change some guys get a fresh look. With Sonntag the issue has never been ability it has been size. This is not a slam on former OC and WR Coach Don Treadwell, but it is a honest question. With a new WR coach and a new OC can Sonntag take that speed and ability and get in a game? He is one that could greatly benefit from the change in personnel on the staff of Mark Dantonio.
  6. Kirk Cousins is no secret in the Spartan Nation. Last season people knew it was his team and he was growing as a leader and young man. He now is in the discussion as one of the bests QBs in the nation. He went out West to work with the Elite 11 team this spring and what will be bring to his senior campaign. Can he continue to progress? His interceptions come when he throws away from his body. Can he fix that and can he go from a very good college QB to great? I have no doubts about his ability and I want to see without a Greg Jones, how he handled the mantle on his own as being the leader of this team. There are a lot of players that he needs to step up around him, but like Draymond next year in basketball, there is without a doubt no question: this is his team. 

Tonight on Spartan Nation Radio (6-9 PM EST) the entire show will be spring football as we discuss the entire spring depth chart with opinion and analysis. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN LIVE.