KMart is ready to be a playmaker on the field and a leader off of it in 2011.  Photo courtesy of Bill Marklevits.

KMart is ready to be a playmaker on the field and a leader off of it in 2011. Photo courtesy of Bill Marklevits.

 

Spring ball is over and Keshawn Martin can’t wait to have the ball in his hands.

 

The senior receiver and punt returner talked all spring about his leadership role, which in his words is a role less defined by being vocal and more about proving his worth by example. He also seems ready to step up as a big-time player on offense, wanting more touches and more involvement in an offense chalked full of great athletes. Basically, he wants to be a big-time playmaker.

 

“I got a good sense of (being a playmaker in the spring game),” Martin said. “Just lining up in the Wildcat, catching the ball and stuff like that, I feel like I want the ball, so give me the ball and I’ll make a play.”

 

Speaking of the Wildcat, the Spartans’ offense used the formation in its annual spring game on April 30. Whether or not the formation — which takes versatile players and puts them under center to run with it or do some other form of trickery – will be used in actual offensive play-calling this upcoming season is still unknown.

 

I hope we run (the Wildcat) during the season,” Martin said. “I feel like we could have a couple big plays off that, but we’re gonna see how it goes and see what (the coaches) want to do with it.”

 

Adding a formation like that to an offense already complete with many different looks, such as the spread and taking snaps under center (among others), would no doubt be another issue for opponents to worry about in terms of possible defensive breakdowns.

 

But with the players the offense already boasts, as well as young guys stepping up and fighting for their own time in the light, the team seems ready to go out and not only want the ball, but demand it. The only drawback for the versatile offense is that there is only one pigskin to go around, yet Martin knows that whoever gets called upon to make a play will be there to make it.

 

“From the running backs to the wideouts, everybody wants the ball in their hands,” he said, confidently. “Everyone knows B.J. (Cunningham) can make that big catch. If you have five seconds left, B.J. can make that big end zone catch. Everybody feels that way and I think we’re gonna be good this year.”

 

While Martin is going all-or-nothing on a huge senior season, he is simultaneously being looked up to by the young crop of receivers.

 

One of those young guys in MSU’s offense is Tony Lippett, a player who coaches have compared to Martin in terms of athleticism and making big plays with the football. Whether or not Lippett will play like Martin or even exceed him down the line is uncertain, although Martin wants to help him grow. Luckily for Martin, Lippett is already off to a very strong start.

 

“I’m just gonna tell him to keep doing what he’s doing,” Martin said. “When he’s not doing something right or needs help with something, I’m always there for him. I look forward to Lippett making an impact in the Big Ten.”

 

Martin still has plenty left to say before Lippett takes over as one of the team’s top receiving threats, but putting the ball in anybody’s hands on the offense should always be a worthwhile decision.