Spring Football Report

Hondo S. Carpenter

Spring Football Report

 

There have been numerous developments with the MSU football program as spring has evolved and here are some of them:

 

  1. Although Dantonio refused to call it disappointing, the offensive line is a source of concern. Rocco Cironi is out until fall recovering from shoulder surgery so he isn’t part of the mix, but as a whole the unit has not looked good. J’Michael Deane is stepping in for Jesse Miller at RT and even though he is making some mental errors Dantonio specifically said he felt good about his progress. There are still some holes and some guys that need to step up. They have been dominated at times by the DL and one could see the glass half full and assume the DL is that far along. Or you could realize that this is a power running team and that has to concern you!Â
  2. The Spartans are implementing some option game this spring. I was shocked when Coach D actually joked and hinted at it. I thought it would stay quiet at least until fall, but with his comment he let people know that he is going to find ways to advance his rushing game.Â
  3. At QB Dantonio said, “There may be a little separation at some point…” Both QB’s will get looks early in the season, but if the season was to start today Cousins is the leader. He is very protective of the ball and has made some great reads over the spring. He also had a defining point on a running play that made his entire team notice his toughness. Keith had to run scout team last year so there is a learning curve. Cousins’ play isn’t in any way a slam on Nichol, Keith is a great and talented kid, it is just early and at this point Cousins hasn’t done anything to lose his number one status and Nichol hasn’t taken it.
  4. Milton Colbert is a walk-on from Villa Park Illinois. He is a very big wide receiver at 6’5” with tremendous hands. Dantonio loves big-bodied receivers and this walk-on turned heads last year in practice and continues to do so this spring with some incredible catches. He is still young and has obvious parts of his game he has to develop, but Dantonio loves the tough walk-on type player that earns everything and with a stable of wide receivers that struggle to hold on to the ball last year, Colbert’s hands will certainly give him a shot at some playing time.  Â
  5.  Prior to the spring there was a lot of discussion about the running back situation. There was a lot of talk about Jimmerson, Leggett, and Anderson, but one person whose play is certainly improved is Caulton Ray from Southfield. At Saturday’s scrimmage he was clearly the best of the four and if his play continues like this through the spring we could very well have the emergence of a running back we have been discussing.Â
  6. Jerel Worthy has been a dominant force on the defensive line this spring. In fairness the defensive line has been dominant, as mentioned earlier, but Worthy at times has shown flashes of stardom.  Worthy has at times eaten up Spartan interior offensive lineman and spent more time in the Spartan backfield than quarterback coach Dave Warner. When Mark Dantonio came to MSU his defensive line was as anemic and depleted as any division one program. Although never satisfied this group has emerged as a definite source of strength.Â
  7. Kicker Brett Swenson is MSU’s do all and do everything guy. There is a reason he is considered among the best in the nation; it isn’t by accident. However, Dan Conroy from Illinois is going to get every chance this spring, as I have told you before, to compete for the kick off job. Conroy has a big gun for a leg and his length and accuracy of kicks can be measured by his day-to-day confidence. Conroy spurned college scholarships from other division one schools to walk on at MSU. He has the leg to compete and play. Now he has to develop the confidence.Â
  8. Safety Trenton Robinson is not the biggest player on the team at 5’10” but has tremendous speed, a nose for the ball, and an ability to lay the big hit similar to Nemo before him. He’ll see the field for sure this fall and keep your eye on him Spartan Nation; he could be a special player. Â
  9. Lastly if there is a MVP of the spring football it would clearly be Coach Mannie. The health of the team has been good and he delivered them to Coach Dantonio at the start of spring as a whole in the best shape they have been in since the arrival of the Dantonio regime. Taking Antonio Jeremiah out of the mix, he has motivated and gotten many of the players into the best shape of their lives to compete at almost every position in the depth chart.Â
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