St Louis, MO
The last time Michigan State went into a off season looking for a QB was 2012. Kirk Cousins had moved on to the Washington Redskins and MSU had a full stable of gunslingers and a full-fledged battle for the reins of the Spartan offseason.
Mark Dantonio kept a watchful eye and Andrew Maxwell to no one’s surprise emerged as the man. You may remember it was Connor Cook who came in to the bowl game to end the season (Buffalo Wild Wings Dec 20, 2012) and led the Spartans to a 17-16 comeback win over TCU.
That next off season MSU had a full-fledged QB controversy. Mark Dantonio went against conventional wisdom making his quarterbacks live all spring. That simply means they could get hit like any other position. It paid benefits according to Dantonio.
So as the Spartans enter another season looking for their next leader at what has been one of the steadiest in the nation how does Dantonio plan to deal with the process this spring? He talked about it ahead of spring football which opens within a week.
“Games are different than spring practice. Certainly Tyler O’Connor and Damion Terry have played in games; they performed well in games so we can see how everyone plays relative to everybody else as we go through spring practice. Brian Lewerke has shown some tremendous things and the week after the Ohio State game where he really took all the reps with the twos, looked very very good. Messiah DeWeaver’s a new freshman coming in so we’ll have an opportunity looking at him as well. So to me, you don’t name a starting quarterback until you get to September.”
Is there a possibility that Dantonio, who is known to prolong the process, could name his started during the spring? “I think there’s always possibilities, it just depends how — You know, I expect both those guys to play well, if only one of them is playing well, you’re going to have a defined starter. So I expect really, all four of them to do something and to have their moments .So we’re going to play the best player, I don’t really care what class they’re in. Certainly Tyler’s played well and he’ll start the process and he’s got great leadership skills. Our players have great respect for him, he’s going to be a fifth year senior, but sometimes that always — he’s gotta make plays. And Damion Terry’s gotta make plays. All of them have gotta make plays, and they’re going to have an opportunity to do that. As far as making them live or not during the season, I guess it depends on how practice is going. Sometimes it just sort of flips and changes. The intent right now is probably to make it active, not live. But who knows. You just go with the flow sometimes.”
Dantonio is known to favor age and I fully expect Tyler O’Connor to start the season as the Spartans number one quarterback. That is not a slam on Damion Terry, it is just making a rational opinion based on experience.
No matter who ends up the winner of the job long term, the battle starts in earnest Monday.
The Spartans will kick off spring football with their spring football media day on Monday. Of course Spartan Nation will be there with full coverage!