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Football Media Day Coverage: Offense

Aug. 7, 2018

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State held its annual media day Monday afternoon in the Izzo Family Media Center inside Spartan Stadium.

Below are selected quotes from the offensive players and coaches that spoke at media day.

Senior OG David Beedle

On the offensive line...
I think this group can be very good. Obviously losing Bryan (Allen) hurts, but we got a lot of people returning, a lot of guys who have played. We also have young guys who are coming up who are definitely going to contribute as well. It just goes back to having that chemistry in the room and all of us are close. Working together and trying to help each other as much as possible, I think we can be very good.

On studying other offensive lines...
I wouldn’t say I really say I study other college offensive lines. We definitely try and concentrate on what we do and stick to that. Try and perfect what we do. Here and there I watch NFL film and see how they run it to see different technique things. Obviously everyone is taught different around the country.

On Lewerke...
I think he definitely is just taking the reigns as the head leader of our group. He is advancing himself with his football intelligence and his confidence in his game. Knowing what he is capable of and he is definitely just taking those steps that are necessary for him to be that elite guy.

Sophomore OT Luke Campbell

On third-down conversions...
This is Michigan State football. This is run football. We have really worked on that through the spring and will continue working on that through the fall. Just solidifying our run game.

On Chase Gianacakos...
Chase has been at the tight end position for over a year now, so he really knows what he is doing. He can be out there for nearly any formation as far as I am concerned but he has really made a good switch. He was at guard and wasn’t doing it how he wanted to and he moved out to tight end and done phenomenal honestly.

 

 

On improvements from last year...
Personally, I was young. I can tell 100 things that I can do better. Most of it is just technique. I think last year starting the season we questioned what we could do. This year we know what we can do and we can do a lot of special things this year.

On team chemistry...
I think the chemistry is built. We lost Brian Allen who was our leader last year. It has given us the ability to step up and take charge individually. I think as a unit we will be better because all of the returners that we have have gotten better individually.

Junior OT Cole Chewins

On the confidence he has with Brian Lewerke and LJ Scott behind him…
It’s great having those guys with experience back there, especially with Brian and LJ, they are both great leaders and they know how to help this football team, so we’re going to do the best of our abilities, so they can do that and go out and make plays. We’re really excited and we just have to do our best up front, so they can have the season they want to have. We’re just trying to all do it together.

On how this team can have a successful year…
I think just personally we have to stick being together as a team and great team chemistry. We saw that a lot last year. We had a lot of youth, but we were great as a team and got along really well, and I think that’s the case this year too. We’ve got a lot of great guys and we’re just going to continue to strive through that, and we’ll hopefully keep developing that through camp because that’s the time to do it.

Senior WR Felton Davis III

On following up last year’s performance…
The main thing is coming in ready to work every day. We try to use our teammates to make each other better. And me having a good season, it allows the DB’s to get better, which you know Justin Layne had a pretty good year too, so at the end of the day, I feel like it’s just going to make me better.

On the biggest thing he wanted to improve on coming into this season…
I talk to Coach Sam (Terrence Samuel) a lot about when I catch the ball, getting more yards after my catch. I know a lot of my catches are just deep catches and not what’s me catching the ball and breaking some tackles and getting more yards after that.

On if this team is special in terms of team chemistry…
Oh yes, it’s a different type of brotherhood. Even being on the field, you know everybody is grinding hard and working, but it’s outside of football you know where I hang out with Khari (Willis) a lot, defensive players hang with offensive players. It’s just a camaraderie we got, it’s something different and it’s fun to see that throughout everybody.

Sophomore RB Connor Heyward

On the offensive line...
Everybody is coming back and next year we will still have everybody except for David Beedle. The depth is ridiculous on both sides of the ball and every position. It is just stacking up, stacking up, stacking up and that’s good because if somebody gets tired there is no drop off.

On being at Michigan State...
It has been fun learning different things and learning from different people. I enjoy it and am excited about this year.

On what success is...
If we just continue to work hard, not get too cocky, and remain humble. It is a game of inches so practice every practice like it is our last.

Junior QB Brian Lewerke...

On how the mantra ‘Heave’ translates from tug-o-war to football…
Kind of being one team, one team against another, going together as a team and that was how it started. One person said heave, and everyone pulled at the same time, like every second or so, and that team ended up winning the entire competition that was during one of our workouts. It just got everyone together and pulling together as one team.

On all the positive feedback of his performance…
It’s pretty cool to see stuff like that. Obviously, you still have to play and translate that hype onto the field so that’s something that I’ve been focusing on just living up to that, but some of it will just come if it happens. If not then so be it, but it’s an honor to have that.

On personal goals for the 2018 season…
I told some people this a couple weeks ago. 3,000 yards passing, 25 or more touchdowns, somewhere in the range of 65 percent completion would kind of be my goal for the season.

Senior RB LJ Scott

On being a leader in a young backfield...
There’s a lot of learning going on in that room. We’re still very young, but we’re talented as well. As a veteran and an older guy, a leader, I’m just taking these guys day by day with the little things. It’s really the little things like taking the right step, having a great mesh point with the quarterback and all the other things come in place.

On maturing since his freshman year...
It’s life. Coming here as an 18-year-old kid and leaving here as a man. Coach D always does a great job of turning these guys into men before they leave here. I approach every day with the right mindset on leadership and maturity, and I’m still striving for that. I approach every day with that dog mentality and come ready to play. I’m happy to be in this position.

On coming back being a statement for the program...
I felt it when I announced and I feel it now. Individually, it was my performance. I just didn’t feel like I was performing at the best of my ability. Then collectively as a team it was the chemistry, it was everyone we have coming back, it was how good we can be and what our goals are. That’s not looking past the season, but obviously that’s the Big Ten Championship.

On building off a turnaround 2017 season...
With 19 guys back we expect to come back for the 2018 season and expect to be more dominant, know a lot more about football and doing it at 100 percent. I don’t see a guy on that field who can’t play. Everyone on the offense has the ability to do great things and collectively as a team we have the ability to do great things as well.

Senior TE Matt Sokol

On the chemistry of the team…
We’re having a good time at practice with the freshmen. There’s just no cut off, everyone is very cohesive, we have a lot of great chemistry. I’m just excited to see how our whole team brings it together this fall.

On what the identity of the team is…
Reaching our potential as a whole team and just continuing to play with a chip on our shoulder. A lot of people have said some good things about us and you know that’s all great, but all that really matters is when we go on the field out there and we just got to play to our potential and reach the goals we’ve set for ourselves as an offense and a defense, as a whole unit. Just reaching our potential, and Coach D’s slogan this year is “Heave” which is all just pulling together, pulling that rope together and reaching our goal.

Assistant Coaches:

Quarterbacks coach Brad Salem

On the quarterbacks...
I think that the quarterback position, every year you can strive to get better at footwork, fundamentals, staying in the pocket a little bit longer and those types of things.

On the backups...
That is the quarterback role. You have to be prepared to be a starter regardless if you are two, three or four because there is always uncertainty.

Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line Mark Staten

On the culture of this team...
The overall tightness of this team, it’s a fun group of guys to be around. They’re out there taking care of each other. You have all the different dynamics, and they’re hanging out together, laughing and playing that Fortnite game. It’s a great group.

On recruiting rankings...
I think year after year after year we’ve proven by our methods that what matters is when that kid leaves the field. Whether he’s a walk-on, a 4-star or a 5-star, is he leaving giving us everything he has going towards that ultimate goal of being on the winning side of the ball. That’s the key. We spent a lot of time after that disastrous season trying to figure that out. We put our head down, continued to move forward, and these last two classes are really tight. Not only with each other, but the rest of the team.

On this year’s offensive line...
We’ll have a very athletic line. Last year as young as we were we had to worry more about where we were going and not necessarily how we were getting there. Now we’re taking the steps through the offseason to pay attention to how we’re getting there, how we’re getting to that linebacker, and how we’re getting to that down lineman. We’ve seen a lot of benefits to that just these last four days.

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