The War Room:  Go Inside #5 Michigan State Football

I get a lot of nuggets and information that alone are not big enough for a story.  When I have a few that I can assemble together I will, and when I only have one or two I will post them on our Phalanx Forum board.  So welcome to The War Room.

  • How good was Xavier Henderson this spring? Listen to what one of his teammates and a member of the Eagle Council said, “Xavier Henderson has been fantastic.” Grayson Miller said that and he has one of the best football brains on the team.  Miller doesn’t praise easily and that is about as good as Dantonio saying it.
  • Dantonio doesn’t lie. He said, “I think that what we’ve found is that we’ve got depth at wide receiver,” that should excite you.  A lot.
  • I have raved since he committed to MSU about Darrell Stewart and he said something after the spring game that a lot of people didn’t get. He said, “At the end of the day when you practice something one thousand times you make it easier to do some things. It was kind of hard but I felt like we practiced enough to make it easy for me.”  Stewart (Like L.J. Scott) is starting to realize how good he can be and that is really scary.
  • Speaking of Stewart, since the spring game according to more than one player, “He is working harder than ever.” Notice AFTER the spring game.

  • I thought that last year after the Northwestern game, that there wasn’t a better OC in the nation than Dave Warner. Not kissing his rear, because I have been a critic before.  But I have always liked him and that is the truth.
  • This one quote by Warner should keep opposing coaches up late at night this offseason. “We didn’t score enough points last year. We’ve had better years offensively than that.  We’ve got to get back to scoring points up in the 30s.”
  • This offseason he was “More demanding” than ever before according to several people. I think he has built off of the great 2017 and it is carrying into 2018.
  • Need proof of my above synopsis? He said “We’ve had some good scrimmages, had some good practices, but we have not been consistent offensively at getting the ball in the end zone.  And a lot of it has to do with youth, but we can’t use that as an excuse. We have to score points. We didn’t do enough last year, we’ve got to do more of it.”
  • With all of the talk about Brian Lewerke sliding more and losing his edge forget about it. He said about that, “If I’m near a first down or a touchdown, I’m diving head-first.”
  • Dantonio was very pleased with Brian Lewerke in the spring game and should have been. He said, “The only thing that happened to him was some drops. It’s a difficult situation out there, wind and things of that nature. I thought he was crisp. He knew where to go with the ball and did the things he had to.”
  • Jim Bollman was not happy with TE production in 2017 and he has harped on it all offseason. I expect the TE production to go way back up this year.
  • Boles admitted as much saying to Spartan Nation, “I guess the numbers of balls that were caught, I guess you would have to say there was a drop-off in that regard. But it’s got to be how it affects the whole offense. I think everyone’s done a good job of improving over the winter.”

  • Dantonio said of Don Treadwell being back that, “He was here in such a vital role for seven years with me as the offensive coordinator at Cincinnati and then offensive coordinator here and assistant head coach. There’s a lot of things he does. He’s working in the secondary now, and that’s a new situation for him a little bit, and that’s exciting, as well.”

  • Chuck Bullough tried to put into words about what it is like to play for him. Just listen and you will understand why his guys love him.  “They give you all they’ve got, even though if you talk to them, I’m on them all the time that I’m not getting enough from them. My expectations are way off the charts, so I always tell them, ‘I’m going to expect way more than you think. You think you might be going hard to the ball. My expectation is going to take it to another level, and I won’t let up and I’ll just keep on you.'”
  • Kenny Willekes told me of Chuck Bullough, “I love the guy. He brings energy and enthusiasm every day. No matter how you’re feeling, he’s going to make sure you’re ready to go, ready to practice.
  • Willekes had one quote that sums up the impact of Chuck Bullough, “Complacency kills.'”
  • Don Treadwell said something this offseason that showed me a part of his impact I hadn’t thought of. With his deep background in offense, his working with the defense is going to be able to help him evaluate defenders and teach that how he would exploit their weaknesses.  When you think of it, it is brilliant by Dantonio.
  • Treadwell told me about that, “That will be a fun part because you get to see them on the field to be able to share some things as we evaluate them.”
  • Matt Dotson played in 10 games last season. He is going to take a MAJOR jump in 2018.  He says that “Working extra in my off time, watching film and things like that, I’ve really learned most of the ins and outs of the playbook.   I’m definitely not getting thrown around as much, I’m kind of doing the throwing around.”
  • Lewerke loves Dotson and his talent, “He’s probably got some of the better hands out of all the tight ends. He’s very athletic, obviously tall, so you can just kind of throw the ball up to him in the red zone. That’s advantageous for him, for sure.”
  • The kickoffs in the spring game were NOTHING short of disappointing. Dantonio made that really clear after the game.  They have a gluttony of kickers on the roster and someone has to step up.  That was the biggest concern of the spring.
  • Mike Panasiuk and Raequan Williams, in my opinion, are the best 1-2 DT punch in the Big Ten. They are fired up to reach higher.  In fact, Panasiuk told me, “I feel like coming off being the second run defense in the country last year, we want to get that number one spot.”
  • Dantonio said of his tandem DT’s “(Mike Panasiuk) has played very, very well, as well as Raequan’s played much better as he’s gotten older.”
  • Panasiuk told me that this spring he really worked on specific parts of his game. “I feel like my hands are a lot better and my footwork and having that leverage against the offensive linemen.”
  • It was good to see AJ Arcuri working in the spring game at the right tackle with the second team. Great kid.
  • How much has Lewerke grown as a leader? Just listen to his backup Rocky Lombardi, “I really don’t think I would be to the point I’m at without him. “He’s done a really good job of getting me comfortable, to know in a game situation what I have to do to take to our team to the next level. Not every play is the same, you know? You have to look at a situation and say, ‘I need to get a guy out of bounds here or a guy to the sticks here.’ Brian’s been great with that.”
  • Dantonio declared after the spring game that, “I thought that we finished strong and that’s what I always want to try to do, is you always want to try and finish going forward and moving up the ladder and I think we did that.” That should fire up Spartan Nation.
  • We will have one more War Room soon. That will be on Monday morning, I hope you enjoy that.

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