Aug. 23, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The BTN Football Tour hit East Lansing Wednesday afternoon on its 11th stop to shoot footage and interviews for a 60-minute preview special on the Spartans which will debut Thursday (Aug. 23) at 10 p.m.
Hosted by Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith, the "Big Ten Football Preview" provides on-the-field analysis of each team's top newcomers, rising stars, important position battles and 2012 schedule.
The show gives an inside look at a Spartan practice and also includes interviews with head coach Mark Dantonio, offensive coordinator Dan Roushar, defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, quarterback Andrew Maxwell, defensive end William Gholston, running back Le'Veon Bell, cornerback Johnny Adams and linebacker Max Bullough.
"It's interesting, this is the only program we have followed year one through year six," said DiNardo. "Everyone else has either changed coaches, or was coaching before the network started. So we have a very unique perspective. We're not surprised at all. This has been maybe the most fascinating team to follow because we started when Mark started and you're never surprised - it's always better when you come back."
"I think this is a team that's mature," said Howard. "They have an understanding of what the goals are, and they work hard. And that's one of the things that we always know when we come watch them, it's going to be a team that works hard. Sure, you're going to have mental mistakes every now and then, but when you put in the work that they do, it gives you an opportunity to win championships."
Both DiNardo and Howard spent time watching new starting quarterback Andrew Maxwell and how he handled the offense during practice.
"He's got a very strong arm," DiNardo said. "His accuracy will improve more as he plays more, that's typical of a quarterback, especially as they play in games. I think this non-conference schedule, Boise State, Notre Dame, Central (Michigan) and Eastern (Michigan), I think that's a great non-conference schedule for a young, rookie quarterback and it will get him ready for the conference."
"I think one of the things I needed to see, really, was Andrew Maxwell and just see his command of the huddle," remarked Howard. "We had a chance to see him in the spring, and he was obviously getting into the role and feeling good. I think the team is going to be in good hands with him. As all the coaches have talked about, it's just about getting those game experiences. It will be exciting to see him next Friday."
DiNardo was also impressed with Michigan State's defense.
"Impressive depth, especially in the front seven," he said. "I think anytime you have a unit that had that much success a year ago, you've got to fight complacency. We talked to Pat Narduzzi about that, so I think that will be a little battle. Sometimes if you win ugly early in the year, it always gets everybody's attention, but they were the best defense in the conference last year and I think they're built to do the same this year."
The Spartans will wrap up preseason camp with a practice on Thursday. The season opener is set for Friday, Aug. 31 against No. 24 Boise State at Spartan Stadium.