Spartan Football Spring Preview, Pt. 1
March 12, 2008
Michigan State Offensive Coordinator Don Treadwell
On winter workouts...
On Mark Dell...
On Michigan State's offensive system...
On Deon Curry...
On the offensive line...
We've lost three or four guys that we would rotate in there as starters. Everything starts up front, there's no question about that. We were also very excited about the guys that were behind them last year that got a little playing time. Certainly we feel we've got a couple of the best offensive line coaches around in Coach Roushar and Coach Staten. Right now though, the system is in place, so now it's just a matter of developing.
We've basically lost two starters on our left side, so we've got to come in and look at some guys there. Rocco Cironi is a guy that played a little bit in a backup role last year. We look to incorporate him a little bit more in there.
At the guard position, Brandon Moss was a guy that got in somewhat last year, but certainly his role and his opportunity right now would be a little bit greater.
On the running backs...
On Brian Hoyer...
Michigan State Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi
On what coaches look for during the spring...
On Trevor Anderson...
On the defensive ends...
We've got Brandon Long who can compete for it. He started off last season as the starter at end and he'll start this spring off there. He's got a ton of potential, he's just got to continue to be consistent in his performance.
We've got Tyler Hoover who's an incoming freshman that we are very excited about. We're going from our workout phase, where you're just a workout guy and not necessarily a football player, to this phase where now you are a football player. He's a great athlete and he's exactly what we thought we recruited which isn't always the case, but if he plays football like he works out then we're going to be very happy with him after 15 days of spring ball.
The other guy there is Dwayne Holmes, who has made the transition from a tight end to a defensive end. Being a mid-year move from the tight end spot to the defensive end spot, it's tough to pick up mentally what you are doing and what Coach Gill is teaching, so you're always playing from behind. It's like getting switched from an algebra class to a geometry class, midway through school. So he's going to get a nice, fresh start at defensive end and we're happy we've got him on defense so we're excited for what he can bring to the table at defensive end.
Colin Neely is a guy that has been injured and will continue to work for us at defensive end. We're very excited about two defensive ends, Todd Anderson and Jonathon Strayhorn. They're two kids from Michigan that will play defensive end this spring and bring more athletic ability to that position so who knows what we'll find there.
On the linebackers...
At WILL linebacker, Eric Gordon is probably our best linebacker coming into spring ball I would say. He's probably the soundest guy and he had a very nice season there for us last year. (Gordon and Jones) were good players for us last year, but they can be so much better. We're trying to achieve perfection at outside linebacker there I guess. Brandon Denson is another guy that we're looking to get a lot of good play out of. He's athletic, he's exactly what we want out of an outside linebacker. He's physical and he's got a great motor. He's a guy that will be learning the defense, right now I'd say he's about halfway there. Marcus Webb is a walk-on safety. He's, again, another guy that we don't know an awful lot about because he's moved to linebacker.
At MIKE linebacker, Adam Decker will be the guy that starts out at starter; it'll be his to lose. I think he's made a lot of strides from last year to this year. He's gotten more athletic and we've got to keep him healthy. We think he can take over Kaleb Thornhill's job and do a sound job at it. Josh Rouse will be his backup, both of them will get a lot of playing time. Those two were kind of neck-and-neck last year, then Decker got hurt and kind of lost it to Rouse. Behind them we've got two guys in Kyle Smith and Andrew Pendy, they're two guys who have got to continue to work so we can find out what they've got. Kyle Smith is a senior and is a very good football player so it will be very interesting to see.
On the defensive tackles...
His backup right now is Kevin Pickelman. He's been a defensive end and could be a defensive end in the next day, but we think he's got enough toughness to play inside so that is where we kind of feel that he could be almost a young Kershaw. He's 250 pounds right now, I'd hope he'd be a 280-pound guy someday. We're just kind of grooming him to be Justin's backup right now and his future replacement because he's got the toughness and the ability that we want inside.
Ryan Wheat is a guy that is either going to play defensive tackle or nose tackle. He'll be the backup at either spot and not necessarily a three at this point. After the starters they're all fighting for the backup position and Ryan is right in the mix. We're expecting good things of him. We wanted to cut down a bit of his weight, and he's struggled to do that at 310. That looks good on a piece of paper, but we want guys that can run on the field so I'd like to see him at 295.
Oren Wilson, I think, has a lot of potential. He's got to be better than he was last year to be a starter for us and to take as many snaps as Ogemdi Nwagbuo did for us last year. We're expecting a lot of good things out of him and he's projected at that starting nose position right now.
Then "Big Daddy" Antonio Jeremiah is the other guy, that again, is a nose tackle because he's 324 pounds. He's another guy that we are trying to cut down. He's moving pretty good, and he still moves pretty good for 324 pounds. We'd like to see him a little lighter than that.
Looking at the boundary corner, Kendell Davis-Clark is a guy that has as much ability as any corner does. Our corners, as a whole, have got to make a lot more plays on the ball. Last year we saw 72 fades, so it's not like we don't know we're going to see fades. That's why we're in the stance that we're in. When we're in coverage we need to make plays on the ball. I think the goal for our corners is to use our hands better and make plays on the ball in the deep part of the field. We should have more interceptions at corner, and let them run those fades but they should be afraid to throw the ball up there.
Chris L. Rucker has got to become a better football player for us. He was great for a freshman but he's not a freshman anymore. He's got to become a sounder, better football player for us. We're excited about what he's got there.
Ross Weaver will not start out in the spring (shoulder). He may get into some seven-on-seven. He'll be out there but he won't necessarily be on the depth chart here. He got better as the season went on last year.
Ashton Henderson is probably our soundest corner. He's not the fastest corner that we have but he plays with great technique. If everybody played with as good technique as Ashton did last year at corner we'd have been in great shape. Ashton will be the guy starting at the field corner.
We've got Jeremy Ware, who will be fighting for reps there. A kid that will be starting from square one is Johnny Adams. He's a guy that's got great athletic ability and will be a punt returner. He's got great feet, and we're very excited about what he's done in workouts.
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