Spring Football Update: Spartans Begin Final Week of Practice
April 24, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State football team held its 13th spring practice Tuesday afternoon, beginning inside the Duffy Daugherty Football Building and finishing in Spartan Stadium.
Prior to the workout, sixth-year head coach Mark Dantonio addressed the media and gave an update on the team as the Spartans entered their final week of spring practice.
"We like where we're at right now," said Dantonio. "We'll have a (spring game) draft on Wednesday, and we should be able to play a full game. We have good numbers still, which is reflective of where we're at on the offensive and defensive lines, primarily. That's where you get into problems sometimes."
"I was impressed with Connor Cook's play as the scrimmage progressed," Dantonio said on Cook, who completed 15-of-34 passes for 144 yards and one touchdown in last Thursday's second spring scrimmage. "What he needs right now is game experience. I think this spring game will really help him a lot. It will be on TV, a little bit more exposure, a little bit more pressure...(he'll have) to do that in a game-type environment. He has a great arm and good poise in the pocket. He's learning the offense as we go here. He's a first-year freshman, so he's right on time I think with his progression in terms of how he's getting ready."
With all three of the captains from last year's team - Kirk Cousins, Joel Foreman and Trenton Robinson - gone for the 2012 campaign, Dantonio is intently watching how new leaders are emerging from spring practice.
"We try and build leadership every day by doing different things," said Dantonio. "I think our guys are growing. We're a relatively young football team with a combination of some older guys. When you look at the core of our football team, we probably have around 20 juniors who are in and out of the two-deep. A majority of those guys, like Max Bullough, Isaiah Lewis, some of those guys, become our core leaders. Andrew Maxwell (as well). But you also have guys like (seniors) Chris McDonald and Fou Fonoti. Fou is doing a great job in the leadership aspect - he's well-loved here."
Among the various position battles in the two-deep, Dantonio claimed that Kurtis Drummond is slightly ahead of RJ Williamson at free safety, and Blake Treadwell has solidified himself at left guard; however, Dantonio cited Jack Allen as being impressive and said that "I still maintain that we have seven starters on the offensive line."
Dantonio also announced that Super Bowl Champions Greg Jones and Devin Thomas will serve as honorary captains for the spring game. Jones and Thomas helped the New York Giants win Super Bowl XLVI over the New England Patriots, 21-17, playing on special teams as the Giants claimed their fourth Super Bowl victory in franchise history.
Earlier in the day, the Big Ten released the prime-time football games for the 2012 season, and Michigan State will play two night games at Spartan Stadium: Friday, Aug. 31 vs. Boise State at 8 p.m. on ESPN, and Saturday, Sept. 15 vs. Notre Dame at 8 p.m. on ABC.
"It should be very exciting - the guys love to play at night here," said Dantonio. "The environment in a night game at Spartan Stadium is special."
Michigan State will conclude its 15 spring practices with the Green-White intrasquad game on Saturday, April 28 at 1:06 p.m. EDT in Spartan Stadium.
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