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Preseason Camp Update: Offense

Michigan State offensive coordinator Dan Roushar

Aug. 15, 2012

Interviews | Preseason Camp Blog

EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State football team conducted its second two-a-day practice session of preseason camp on Wednesday. Following the morning practice, offensive coordinator Dan Roushar met with the media to give an update on the Spartans.

Roushar talked about the position battles at tight end and wide receiver, who has stood out thus far in camp, and how he feels about Andrew Maxwell running the offense. Roushar also provided injury updates on several players, including news that left guard Blake Treadwell will likely miss 4-5 weeks with a stress fracture in his tibia, and that freshman wide receiver Aaron Burbridge will be out approximately six weeks with a knee injury.

On the tight ends...
"I see a lot of improvement in his (Dion Sims') run blocking. His route running has improved, and his ball skills have gotten better.

"Andrew Gleichert has been playing very well, I've been very impressed with him. He's catching the ball. He had a very good scrimmage, very solid. He's becoming a better run blocker. There's some real positives on those guys. I would say they would be 1-2 right now.

"Paul Lang is starting to make a move; been impressed with him. Derek Hoebing has been very solid, just in terms of run blocking. Denzel Drone has probably been working in that fifth spot. He's been doing a little bit of both (playing offense and defense). He's got a lot to put on his plate, but he's been doing a pretty good job with it."

On Jack Allen playing with the one's due to Blake Treadwell's injury...
"I've been very impressed - I thought (Jack) had a heck of a scrimmage. He graded out very highly. He's very sound. He's an excellent run blocker. I think we've got a guy who's got a chance to be very special in there for us. He continues to get better. I like his work ethic and his determination. We just finished a drill today and we were doing a little goal line work and I went down with the offensive line, and he gets his pads forward. He does a pretty good job, I'm pretty impressed with him. We keep our fingers crossed that he continues to grow."

On Blake Treadwell's injury...
"He's got a stress fracture, a hairline fracture in his tibia. It was a non-contact drill, all of a sudden he stepped wrong, and it was a problem."

On how long Treadwell will be out...
"I think the timetable set was four weeks. It might be five. He's healing quickly, he's working hard right now. We got our fingers crossed that he comes back as quickly as he can."

On if he feels good if Jack Allen is the No. 1 left guard with Blake Treadwell out...
"I do. I think we all do. I think our staff feels very comfortable with Jack at that spot. You lose some depth, you lose the opportunity to move some things around. With Tready and Jack, you're really talking potentially about one is the starter at guard, and one is the next guy in at center. We've lost that ability. It's going to hurt us a little bit there with regards to depth. If something were to happen to Travis, we've got plans in mind on how we would work it. I've been pleased with Jack, very pleased."

On Le'Veon Bell and if Coach Dantonio singled him out before spring practice for possibly being complacent...
"I thought the last three or four days, he's really worked. When we closed practice last night, I said to the offense, I pointed out a few guys that I've been impressed with the way they're working (and Le'Veon was one of them). Not only when he gets an opportunity to run the football, but I've been watching him block and run routes, and we're seeing a lot of very good things.

"I think that message maybe wasn't specific to him, I think it was for all of us. I think we have to continue to remind ourselves that one of the greatest challenges is to deal with the success that we've had. This football team has done nothing. Last year's team, the year before, those teams won (11) games. This football team hasn't done anything yet. We've got to go out and earn it. We have to maintain that passion and determination and that drive. I think that's for all of us."

Has he seen that determination in Le'Veon's work ethic?
"I do, I've seen it the last few days (on seeing a fire in Le'Veon's eyes). I know at this point in time, this was practice 13, 13 straight ones, everybody's got bumps and bruises, and he's got `em, but I thought he ran awfully hard in the scrimmage. I thought the safeties did a great job of coming down on him, but he made some strong runs. He's a heck of a player."

On who he mentioned to the team has stood out, besides Le'Veon Bell...
"I mentioned Chris McDonald, I mentioned Bennie Fowler. I thought Larry Caper and Dan France had that type of work ethic and drive that we're looking for, for guys to look at, particularly the young guys. They want to see how guys are doing it, and doing it the right way at a high level. I think those are great examples."

On the top six receivers at this point...
"I think Bennie Fowler has had a very good camp to date. He's seems to be very healthy, he's catching the football (and) running good routes. I think Tony Lippett continues to make strides. I think he was kind of sore today, didn't see the same guy (at practice). I saw some flashes yesterday, he looked fast. Practice 13, their legs start to get a little heavy, a little weary. But those two guys have jumped out at me.

"I think Keith Mumphery. Although we've been cautious with him with surgery late in the spring, early in the summer, we're not trying to overdo it with him, but he certainly had a great summer and you can see it with just ball skills. I think the knowledge of the offense, he seems a lot better.

"AJ Sims seems to be in there, DeAnthony (Arnett) has improved a lot. He still has to get a lot better and more consistent, but I think they're getting an idea. And then Jeremy Langford. I don't know if you would set any one of those 1-6, you see some really strong things from each of them on days. We have to get more consistent, but I would say those are your top six. AJ Troup, who is a walk-on, is probably run at the seventh spot. We've got some young guys that have a lot of ability, they just have to learn how to run the system, and right now, they're making too many mistakes to function."

On Skyler Burkland and how he's been looking after coming off season-ending knee surgery last season and where's he's seeing the most reps on the offensive line...Henry Conway over to the left side and let him get soaked there. Danny (France) was out a couple of practices, so Henry stepped up. He's nursing a little injury right now, like all of them. Right now, we've kept Skyler on the right side.

"He's (looked) much better (physically that in the spring). He really started strong. Again, like some of these other guys, I hate to be redundant, he got bumped up, and you see it in his play. He's not quite as sharp, not quite as sudden as we'd like, and hopefully he can regain that form. But I think up to two days ago, I was feeling like he was going in the right direction and we were going to be a better football team."

On Jeremy Langford...
"Well, first thing, Jeremy's improved from the spring dramatically as a wide receiver. So you can see him run route skills a lot better than he did. That improvement has been there. He's been very inconsistent in catching the football, much like Keshawn (Martin) early in his career. I think we see that, at times, we see the same qualities (as Martin), a guy that we can hand the football to, a guy that we can throw the bubble to the perimeter on, a physical guy, he's got tailback-like skills, and he's got a physical nature about him. As he continues to progress, as we have another scrimmage, I think we're starting to learn about ourselves, who can do what. And then as we turn our attention, we're going to start to maybe move more in the direction of featuring what we do well with each of those guys."

On starting quarterback Andrew Maxwell...
"I think his decision-making process has gotten better. His accuracy has gotten better. I'm going to knock on wood here, it's been maybe five or six practices since he's thrown a pick, so he's been making good decisions. He's been really good with that. He's making good checks at the line of scrimmage and shown a lot more poise and confidence. I thought in the scrimmage he threw it really well. I think in the scrimmage he ended up 16-of-29, but I think there were about five throwaways with some pressure and got the ball out of his hand, and then there were a couple of drops. I saw a lot of good things from him."

On Bennie Fowler...
"I think the one thing you see is you see a guy that has a lot of confidence. He has confidence in his ability. I think that is reflected through the group. I think he's the one guy that stands up and says, `hey, I'm going to make this play, I'm going to run this route, get me the ball.' That type of attitude. You see that. I think that he's been supremely quiet this way in the fact that he's gone out and he's put forth great effort every day, and then coming off the field, all he's done is focus on the next practice. And I think that's the thing we have to see from him. He's not been able to stay healthy for over any period of time, so we're not trying to get too far ahead of ourselves. We're very optimistic he comes back every day and puts together quality work. I think that's what he's been doing."

On injuries limiting the development of the true freshmen at wide receiver...
"I think it's hurt a lot. Obviously we had high hopes for Aaron (Burbridge). Aaron, day one, has a knee (injury), something that he hurt this summer and it became more apparent to us that he had a problem, so they scoped him, cleaned him up, they said he's six weeks. That's a long ways out for a wide receiver, particularly not getting the reps right now and learning the system. Hopefully we can get him back and bring him back into the fold. (Monty) Madaris has a high ankle sprain, unfortunately that set him back as well. Those are two big blows to that wide receiver corps. We were hoping to get a feel for where they were at and what they could do for us."

On how much of the offense is installed at this point...
"We probably threw more at these guys than we ever have. We went full bore. We have an offensive line and a quarterback that can handle it. So everybody else is coming along with it. We probably have 90 percent of it in right now. Some of it we're not going to take in game one, most of it, we will. We have to look to see what we can execute and how we execute at a high level. If we have those things, it's set to the game plan. And if not, we'll have to re-evaluate and make decisions as we get closer."



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