Spring Practice Blog
Follow the Spartans throughout their 15 practices this spring as they prepare for the upcoming season.
March 26, 2014
|Saturday, April 26|
The Green-White game marked the end of spring practice at Michigan State. It also served as "the beginning" for players as a crowd of 35,000 and thousands more via the Big Ten Network got to see really for the first time.
Darian Hicks introduced himself as a leading contender to replace All-American Darqueze Dennard at cornerback with a game-ending interception that preserved a 20-13 victory for the White Saturday afternoon in Spartan Stadium.
Damion Terry, who captivated the imagination of fans early last season as a true freshman quarterback despite the conspicuous absence of any publicly displayed visual evidence whatsoever, said hello with a 23-yard touchdown run that put the White ahead 7-0 in the first quarter.
Oft-mentioned Green safety Demetrious Cox validated some of the coach-talk that has swirled around him the past two seasons by picking off a pass thrown by No. 1 quarterback Connor Cook in the second quarter and Demetrius Cooper, a White defensive end, continued to "flash," according to head coach Mark Dantonio.
They are among the names of the future that will come for them as early as next fall when the Spartans begin the defense of their Big Ten Championship, and they will be counted on to contribute to the cause one way or another.
Read the rest of Steve Grinczel's column on the spring game here.
Earlier in the day, Michigan State Athletics announced that former Spartan All-American Flozell Adams will be donating $1.5 million to the north end zone project at Spartan Stadium. For complete details, click here.
|Wednesday, April 23|
Sides were chosen for the annual Green-White spring football game with a player draft Wednesday afternoon in the auditorium at the Clara Bell Smith Center. The seniors, who were selected earlier by the coaches, drafted the underclassmen position by position until the roster was completed.
Co-offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Jim Bollman leads the Green coaching staff, while defensive line coach Ron Burton heads the White.
The seniors drafting the Green team were James Bodanis, Andrew Gleichert, Taiwan Jones, James Kittredge, Connor Kruse, Jeremy Langford, Keith Mumphery and Mike Sadler.
The draft began with the White team selecting Connor Cook with the first pick at quarterback. The Green's first selection was junior cornerback Trae Waynes. The first picks at the other positions included Shilique Calhoun (Green/defensive ends), Jack Conklin (White/offensive tackles), Jack Allen (Green/centers and guards), Joel Heath (White/defensive tackles), Jalyn Powell (Green/safeties), Aaron Burbridge (White/wide receivers), Trevon Pendleton (Green/fullbacks), Jon Reschke (White/linebackers), Michael Geiger (Green/specialists), Gerald Holmes (White/running backs) and Jamal Lyles (Green/tight ends).
|Tuesday, April 22|
The Michigan State football team conducted its 13th practice of the spring Tuesday afternoon, splitting time between the outdoor fields behind the Duffy Daugherty Building and Spartan Stadium.
Prior to practice, Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio addressed the media to give an update on the team as it enters the final week of spring drills.
"I don't think you're ever satisfied," said Dantonio. "You're trying to get better, you're trying to continue to move forward. You see some good things, you see some things you want to get better. It really depends just on which room you're sitting in, to be honest with you. And that's usually a good thing. Our guys are playing hard, we've got numbers, and we've stayed pretty much healthy throughout the spring, so that's been a positive. We're looking forward to closing it out."
Michigan State will conclude spring practice with the Green-White game on Saturday at Spartan Stadium, beginning at 2 p.m. Admission is free. For more information on the spring game and youth clinic, click here.
|Tuesday, April 15|
The Michigan State football team held its 11th practice of the spring on Tuesday afternoon inside the Duffy Daugherty Football Building. Prior to practice, MSU head coach Mark Dantonio talked with reporters to provide an update on the Spartans.
|Saturday, April 12|
Nick Hill's 3-yard touchdown run on the final series pushed the offense past the defense, 38-37, as the Michigan State football team held its second spring jersey scrimmage Saturday on the outdoor practice fields behind the Duffy Daugherty Football Building.
Under sunny skies and temperatures reaching 70 degrees, the Spartans ran 157 total plays in the two-hour, 30-minute scrimmage, including special teams.
Connor Cook led the way for the offense, completing 24-of-38 passes for 361 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He connected on several big plays, including a 75-yard touchdown pass to R.J. Shelton and a 51-yard touchdown pass on a screen to Jeremy Langford.
In the afternoon, the Spartans hosted the annual women's clinic at the Skandalaris Center.
|Friday, April 11|
The Michigan State football team held a brief 90-minute practice outside on Friday in preparation for Saturday's second spring jersey scrimmage. The offense edged the defense in the first spring scrimmage, 27-25.
Prior to the team's ninth practice of the spring, MSU head coach Mark Dantonio met with the media to give an update on the Spartans. He opened his briefing by giving his condolences to the Holsworth family for the loss of Lacey Holsworth earlier this week.
"First of all, our heart goes out to Lacey (Holsworth) and her family with her passing," remarked Dantonio, who said that all proceeds from the women's football camp held on campus Saturday will go to Sparrow Hospital.
Dantonio also commented that although the Spartans are coming off a Rose Bowl victory last season, there's much work to be done during spring practice.
"When you're coaching, there's always some issues that you have to figure out and different people that you're trying to work through and get experience," he said. "While quarterback is a little bit settled, there's remains a question of who is going to be the backup. (Tyler) O'Connor is playing pretty well, and Damion Terry has a lot of talent. And there's other positions open on this football team right now.
"It's always nice to come off of a great year. There's a lot of excitement and anticipation. But you have to get back to the grind - that's the message today."
In the latest "Grinz on Green" blog, check out his feature on the depth and experience returning on the offensive line.
|Tuesday, April 8|
The Michigan State football team took advantage of the nice weather on Tuesday afternoon, going outside for a complete practice for the first time this spring. Under mostly sunny skies and temperatures reaching the low-60s, MSU head coach Mark Dantonio sent the Spartans through their seventh spring practice.
"This is our first day out here today for the full day," said Dantonio, who met with reporters before practice to give an update on the team. "We've got eight practices left after today, so we'll get a lot of them out here."
For complete comments from Dantonio, click here.
|Friday, April 4|
Tyler O'Connor's 9-yard touchdown pass to Aaron Burbridge in the second-to-final series lifted the offense past the defense, 27-25, Friday afternoon as the Michigan State football team held its first jersey scrimmage of spring practice inside the Duffy Daugherty Football Building.
The Spartans ran 125 total plays in the two-hour scrimmage, including special teams.
The defense was spotted 25 points in the scrimmage and nearly held on for the win until O'Connor directed a nine-play, 50-yard touchdown drive to put the offense on top. With the offense trailing 25-20, O'Connor's 5-yard run on third-and-3 from the 14-yard line set up the game-winning TD pass to Burbridge on first-and-goal.
The defense had one final chance to win the scrimmage, but Connor Cook's 15-yard pass to Trevon Pendleton sealed the victory, as the offense ran out the clock following the first down to clinch the victory.
Cook led the offense by completing 15-of-21 passes for 187 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, while O'Connor was 10-of-15 passing for 132 yards and one touchdown.
Click here for a complete recap.
|Thursday, April 3|
Michigan State finalized preparations for its first spring scrimmage on Friday afternoon with its fifth practice of the spring on Thursday.
In the latest "Grinz on Green" column, Steve Grinczel spotlights a healthy Lawrence Thomas as he gets ready to begin his junior season.
|Tuesday, April 1|
The Michigan State football team conducted its fourth spring practice and second in full pads Tuesday afternoon, splitting time inside the Duffy Daugherty Building and outside on the turf field.
Prior to practice, Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio provided an update on the team to reporters.
"There are perfect conditions when you go inside, and the game is not perfect," Dantonio said on why the team practiced outside for a portion of Tuesday's practice, despite temperatures in the low-40s with steady 25 mph winds. "We have to practice throwing into the wind, practice on catching the ball as it moves in flight with some wind, and we have to tackle. We've got to do the things we've got to do."
Dantonio also talked about why he looks forward to spring practice every year.
"I think it gets you back to your roots a little bit," said Dantonio. "The pressure is not on for you to play a game, the pressure is on to try and get better. I think that's what every football program does in America, they find out a little bit about their freshmen because they're freshmen when they come in; the transition is difficult for them to handle. So you have an opportunity now to see what they've got. You find out who your leaders are and what your senior class is going to be like a little bit. You set new goals for your program and try and move it forward.
"So it's always been a thing that we try and get better at. We've always tried to use the adage `get three percent better every practice.' That's what was told to me, way back when I was playing by my college coach."
SCHEDULE UPDATE: Michigan State's 2014 football season opener vs. Jacksonville State has been moved from Saturday, Aug. 30 to Friday, Aug. 29. Game time and TV network will be announced at a later date.
To read Dantonio's complete comments, click here.
|Tuesday, March 25|
Eighth-year Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio sent his team through a 2 1/2-hour workout in helmets, jerseys and shorts inside the Duffy Daugherty Football Building on Tuesday, March 25, as the Spartans completed the first of 15 allotted spring practices.
"It was the first day of spring practice and I thought the effort and energy levels were good," Dantonio said. "In the spring, the most important thing is not to get anybody hurt. The main point of emphasis today was to get the players moving around and accustomed to carrying a helmet and playing football again. It's a change of direction game, so we're going to be working the hamstrings and bending the knees. The guys are going to be sore after these first few days.
"The retention was good. When you look at (quarterback) Connor Cook, you could tell that he's played a lot of football for us. I thought he was sharp and the receivers caught the ball very well. The guys looked quick and athletic. We did a lot of work in the passing game against air because we didn't script many team periods today.
"We had a great Fourth Quarter conditioning program, with great team chemistry and a lot of enthusiasm. Our guys worked extremely hard during the winter and there was definitely some carryover into the first spring practice."
Check out the rest of the report here.
|Monday, March 24|
Michigan State, which won a school-record 13 games in 2013 including a 24-20 victory over No. 5 Stanford in the 2014 Rose Bowl Game, begins its eighth spring practice under head coach Mark Dantonio on Tuesday, March 25. The Spartans will conclude their 15 spring practices with the annual Green-White Spring Game on Saturday, April 26 at 2 p.m. in Spartan Stadium. The spring game will be televised on BTN.
Click here for a Spartan Spring Football Primer, with all of the latest news and notes on the team.
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio held a press conference Monday afternoon inside the Clara Bell Smith Center auditorium to preview spring practice. Following Dantonio, junior quarterback Connor Cook also answered questions from reporters.
In addition, several Spartans met with the media to talk about the upcoming season and how the team is handling success following a record-breaking campaign in 2013. Check out quotes from running back Jeremy Langford, defensive end Marcus Rush, safety Kurtis Drummond, defensive end Shilique Calhoun and offensive lineman Travis Jackson.
Also, check out Steve Grinczel's first column on spring football, as he writes that the Spartans remain "hungry and humble."