Dan Roushar has made a dynamic impact on Spartan football both on and off the field.  Photo courtesy of Starr Portice.

Dan Roushar has made a dynamic impact on Spartan football both on and off the field. Photo courtesy of Starr Portice.

 

 

 

Dan Roushar, Michigan State’s former offensive line coach-turned-offensive coordinator, recently teased that he comes off the field after some practices and feels as if he didn’t do a thing.

 

But most of us realize how much he has done for the Spartans since he has been in East Lansing. As the team’s offensive coordinator the past four seasons, his linemen have earned All-Big Ten honors on eight different occasions. As a coach, it is difficult to ever be truly satisfied. After numerous practices and scrimmages, Roushar realizes that his offense is still a work in progress.

 

“We have to get more physical up front and we have to put a cohesive group together,” Roushar bluntly said. “There’s been a lot of positives and the guys are working very hard, so I’ve walked off the field every day and said, ‘Man, they are doing everything we’ve asked.’”

 

“But we have to, at some point, settle in and say, ‘Here they are: these are the five, these are the seven, these are the eight. They play this position, this position, this position,’ and we go to work and put the consistency in,” he said.

 

And while the offense still needs some fine tuning, the honest fact is that there is still plenty of time for that to occur between now and the first game in the fall. Sometimes times is truly of the essence, and that was the case with Arthur Ray Jr.

 

Ray, a fourth-year senior who has seen his fair share of ups and downs since enrolling at Michigan State, has recently returned to practice following a battle with cancer on which he came out on top. Ray is also an offensive lineman.

 

Roushar was the offensive line coach when Ray was set to arrive at MSU, but even though his position on the coaching staff has elevated to offensive coordinator, Roushar is still very close to Ray and has been next to him during his entire cancer struggle and eventual victory.

 

Roushar talked about accompanying Ray to a cancer meeting in Chicago, saying how Ray’s mother was in East Lansing for a women’s clinic to spread cancer awareness. He said the entire process from being diagnosed to beating the disease was “remarkable” for both Ray and his entire family.

 

That meeting was when Ray found out his prognosis, simultaneously becoming a moment Roushar would never forget.

 

“It was moving,” Roushar stated. “I don’t think I’ve ever walked out of a meeting more depressed and more determined to find the right people who could help us. You get into health care, you quickly find out what some people have and some people don’t. We were very lucky to find the very best (doctors) in Chicago.”

 

In terms of Ray playing, Roushar looks at the situation like this: “He’s a tough son of a gun, and you see it on the film. His feet aren’t up underneath him like they would be. He would have been a heck of a football player here, there’s no doubt in my mind.

“His backside leg doesn’t come like we’d like it, and that’s due in part to the variety of surgeries and the limitations that he’s still going through. I just watched a video of him working one year ago, and to watch him today and watch him twelve months ago, it’s night and day.”

Whether Ray plays is still up in the air, but what is certain is that Roushar will continue to have a special spot in his heart for the courageous young man. That is something which can’t be found on the gridiron.