THREE UP OR DOWN: #5 MICHIGAN STATE FOOTBALL After the Spring Game
Three up or down: the three Parts of the #5 Michigan State football that are trending up or down now after the spring game.
- UP QB Play Everyone knows that QB play defines a program. They also know that rarely does a team make it through an entire season with one QB, especially when the star (Brian Lewerke) is a runner. That is why so many think that the Spartans QB room may be as deep as the 2007 group that had Brian Hoyer, Kirk Cousins, and Nick Foles. Dantonio said, “I thought Lewerke was very spot on. Really the only thing that happened to him was he had 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, did the things he had to do. The other two guys had some great moments and had some other moments that were tough. You know, it’s the first time that Theo Day had an opportunity and (Rocky Lombardi) had an opportunity to play in spring games, play in front of a crowd of people and on TV and things of that nature, so they had some moments. I thought Rocky played pretty well as the game progressed on. I thought Theo came in in the second half and threw some good balls, just got to get the ball out a little quicker at times. It’s not a pass-fail type situation, it’s just a higher level of football being played than it is in high school. Remember, he should probably be going to the prom about today, so he’s got progress, too. He’s made a lot of progress. So both those guys have the ability and they have good arms and they’re major college quarterbacks and you’re going to see them continue to develop.”
- UP Mike Panasiuk & Raequan Williams I have said since before last season that these two young men would become the best DT tandem in the Big Ten and they have proven me smart. Dantonio said of the two, “Mike’s had a tremendous spring. He understands leverage better. He’s always been a very powerful guy. I think he’s in shape. He’s leaner. He should have a great future ahead of him. He’s played very, very well as well as Raequan (Williams)’s played much better as he’s gotten older. These guys are playing young. 2016, he was a freshman and Raequan was a redshirt freshman. These guys are now getting ready to go into their third year and they understand things and are playing at a much higher level.”
- UP Connor Heyward. Heyward showed flashes of the attacking style that made his father famous, while at the same time showing his own style. He will do a great job as the backup in 2018. But don’t label him as RB, he is a football player that can play a myriad of places. Dantonio said of Heyward, “He really can play a lot of positions for us. He can play on the defensive side of the ball, outside back, and probably is about 225 pounds. He catches the ball very effectively, can be a return guy. He does a lot of different things in the backfield for us. He played quarterback in high school. He does a lot of things, he’s a very good football player and he’s only a freshman. We’ve got some help coming at that position. We held LJ (Scott) out early, about the same quarter and a half or so, so I feel good about that position and with a couple younger guys coming. Alante Thomas had a big run in the game, had a run with the football. We’ll be okay there.”
EXTRA POINT: EXPECTATIONS!
MSU has them. They are a top-five team heading into next season and unlike last year the target is back. Dantonio doesn’t run from that, he loves it and said a lot about the expectations.
“We’ve always had the same goals. Our goals are always to win a championship here. Regardless of what the outcome of the season is, that’s our goal when we come into the season. The first thing we have to do is compete in the Eastside and win that. We were able to do that. Legends or East, however, you shake it out, three times in the last six or seven years. That’s the bar. The bar has been set around here. The standard has been set. This is what you have to do. We’ve won Big Ten Championships. The bar is set. That’s where our focus is at all times, and whether we get there or not depends on a lot of different things and a lot of different people in this conference. Everybody competes. At the same time, there’s a standard set and we’re going to try and hold to that standard and I think we have players that understand that and that’s exciting. That’s exciting for everybody and for Spartan Nation as well.”
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