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Spartans Conclude Spring Practice

April 11, 2018

EAST LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State football team wrapped up spring ball with its 15th and final spring practice on Tuesday afternoon. MSU held its annual Green-White spring game last Saturday in Spartan Stadium, a close contest in which the offense rallied late to beat the defense, 32-30.

On Wednesday, 12th-year head coach Mark Dantonio gave his final thoughts on spring practice on the Big Ten spring football teleconference.

On the offensive line…
Our first offensive line is pretty much intact. We return a lot of starters, obviously, and we had a couple of guys who were out. Our number two’s were younger players.

What I saw was good snap, good power, especially from guys like Kevin Jarvis, I thought he played extremely well. You’ve got some other guys playing in there as well. Matt Allen did a nice job at the offensive center position. I thought that for a spring game, a spring situation they played pretty well on the one’s. The two’s have got some work to do.

On the defense…
We return 19 of our 22 starters and really 40 out of the 44 (two-deep). Now we had, not a lot, but we had players not playing in the (spring) game obviously. But our defense was No. 2 in the nation last year against the run. Our defense was No. 7 overall, so we’ve got good players up there. Mike Panasiuk has had a great spring along with Raequan Williams. Kenny Willekes continues to be a force, and hopefully they are going to get pressure and that’s going to be a staple for our football team.

 

 

On Kenny Willekes
Well, he just goes, he’s a high energy guy, high motor guy, and I think he had (7) sacks last year and he’s a guy that looks to get better every single practice. He’s up to 255 pounds right now so he’s gotten bigger, he’s become more powerful and I think his confidence level continues, last year at this time his confidence level was just beginning. Now where he’s at I think he’s a much more confident player and he’s much more versatile in a lot of different respects and he’s a playmaker. He should be a great player for us and he’s becoming a great leader as well. He still is a young player with two years left to play.

On the final spring practice…
We had a great practice yesterday. I thought that the message and the focus was to complete our circle in that capacity – in other words, finish – and I thought our players did that. We had a lot of enthusiasm. We went to the stadium for a short time at the end of practice. It was upbeat, a lot of people flying around, we did a lot of things, it was a two-hour plus practice so we got a lot done.

I thought that we finished strong and that’s what I always want to try and do, we always want to try and finish moving forward and going up the ladder and I think we did that. I was very impressed with the chemistry of our football team and the overall disposition as we went out on the field.

On the battle for the center position...
I think Matt (Allen) right now, he is the one, but with that being said, we’ve got…Cole Chewins and David Beedle did not play, so that adds depth to the offensive line. Those guys, Beedle has played center, Tyler Higby has played center, we’ve messed around with Jordan Reid playing center, Blake Bueter playing center a little bit, so we’ve got quite a few guys in there that are competing for that position. But the ultimate thing is that we will play the best five guys and Coach Staten has done a nice job. We’ll move people around in there and at the end of the day we’ve got to get the job done. I thought he played well in the game, I don’t think he had any bad snaps and also I thought he was pretty firm.

On Brian Lewerke’s input on the center position…
I take input from Brian Lewerke at all time, but he is really an even-keeled guy, I think he’s loose back there, he gives people confidence, and I think from a player standpoint, player selection standpoint he just goes with the flow. He makes everybody better out there, including the guy snapping the ball to him.

On playing on a Friday night to open the season…
I think it gives us a little more preparation going into the second game. And then it becomes a night game, and I’ve never really looked at it in terms of too many advantages or disadvantages. To me it’s, when the whistle blows you better have your hand down and be ready to play. We’ve had great experiences here, we’ve had great crowds, it’s a night crowd in the beginning of football season, so we’re looking forward to that against Utah State.

MSU opens the 2018 season on Friday, Aug. 31 against Utah State in Spartan Stadium.

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