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Preseason camp wrapped up on Thursday for the Michigan State football team. The day began with a scrimmage at Spartan Stadium in the morning, and finished with the annoucement of the 2012 captains, Max Bullough, Chris Norman and Andrew Maxwell.
The Spartans will take the next two days off before reporting back to campus on Sunday for team meetings in preparation for the season opener on Friday, Aug. 31 against No. 24 Boise State.
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.
"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."
To hear more from DiNardo and Griffith, check out the practice report from Wednesday.
In addition to Revsine, DiNardo and Griffith, BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart was in East Lansing for practice. Check out his observations in his latest article on BTN.com, "What I Saw at Michigan State Practice."
Also, check out the 2012 team photo, which was taken in the morning at Spartan Stadium.
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio met with reporters Monday afternoon in the press box at Spartan Stadium before practice to provide an update on the Spartans as they begin their third and final week of preseason camp.
"We're sort of rounding the curve a little bit in terms of camp," said Dantonio. "It's important that we still stay in that camp mode but begin to work toward other things as well. I'm very satisfied with where we're at, but understand that we still can make progress and we have a lot of work to do yet."
For a complete report on Dantonio's interview session, click here.
Out on the practice field on Monday, William Gholston and Lawrence Thomas were honored with "Saved by the Belt" awards, presented by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP) and MSU Police. On May 2, Gholston and Thomas were traveling on I-96 when their vehicle was struck causing them to leave the roadway and their car to flip over multiple times, coming to rest in a ditch. The two suffered only minor injuries, thanks to their seats belts.
Last week, Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated was in East Lansing for his preview story on the Spartans. Check out his article on SI.com.
And in the latest "Grinz on Green" blog, junior tight end Dion Sims is profiled as he looks to have a career year in his first season as the full-time starter.
Under sunny skies and temperatures in the upper-60s, the Michigan State football team held its second jersey scrimmage of preseason camp Saturday afternoon in Spartan Stadium. Utilizing a modified scoring system, the offense rallied to top the defense, 52-48, in a "situational" scrimmage.
Junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell completed 13-of-24 passes for 212 yards and one touchdown, while junior tight end Dion Sims had 10 receptions for 171 yards and a 12-yard TD grab to lead the offense. Senior Larry Caper and sophomore Nick Hill combined for 84 yards on the ground.
Red-shirt freshman cornerback Arjen Colquhoun, freshman linebacker Jamal Lyles and junior linebacker TyQuan Hammock each collected a team-high seven tackles. Junior cornerback Darqueze Dennard tallied six tackles and two pass break-ups, and freshman cornerback Ezra Robinson added five tackles, including a team-best three for losses (12 yards) and a 7-yard sack.
"The guys played with great emotion on both sides of the football," said head coach Mark Dantonio. "The defense started fast, but the offense closed well. We played a lot of guys today, especially on defense. We're so deep that we were able to hold some guys out and limit some other guys' reps, and that's a good sign. There were a lot of positives because guys made plays on both side of the football and they all played fast."
For a complete recap of the scrimmage, click here.
SPARTANS RANKED 13TH IN PRESEASON ASSOCIATED PRESS POLL: Michigan State is ranked 13th in The Associated Press Preseason Poll, which was released Saturday morning. The Spartans are also ranked 13th in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll. This marks the highest preseason ranking for the Spartans in the AP Poll since 1979, when they were ranked No. 10. MSU started last season ranked No. 17 in the AP Poll and finished at No. 11.
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio met with the media before the morning practice on Friday to give an update on preseason camp. Dantonio talked about the depth at cornerback and safety, the play of quarterback Andrew Maxwell, and how the leadership on the team is developing.
The Spartans will hold their second preseason jersey scrimmage on Saturday in Spartan Stadium.
Also, check out the latest "Grinz on Green" blog entry, which takes a look at MSU's formidable cornerback duo in Johnny Adams and Darqueze Dennard.
Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi gave an update on the Spartan defense to reporters this week as the team continues preseason camp.
Among various topics, Narduzzi talked about the play of the young linebackers, the position battles at defensive tackle and free safety, and the improvement of junior Micajah Reynolds. For a further look at Narduzzi's interview session, click here.
Also on Thursday, Michigan State revealed the 2012 student section t-shirt design (below). Fans could vote for one of three options on msuspartans.com over the summer, all designed by Nike. With 48 percent of the vote, the third option was selected and will be the official MSU football student section t-shirt for the upcoming season. The Spartan Athletics Department thanks all of the fans who participated in the voting.
On the field, the Spartan will conduct their 15th practice of preseason camp on Thursday afternoon.
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. For a transcript of the interview session, click here.
Also, check out the latest "Grinz on Green" blog entry, featuring a look at the resurgence of a healthy Bennie Fowler at wide receiver.
Michigan State fans packed the streets of downtown East Lansing for the 10th annual "Meet the Spartans" Tuesday night.
The event gave Spartan fans the chance to meet the entire 2012 Michigan State football team and receive autographs from players and head coach Mark Dantonio.
"It's great - it really means a lot," said sophomore fullback Niko Palazeti. "You go through camp and it's long days and long hours and you get worn down, but when you come out here, it's give you the extra motivation to really get cheered on by the Spartan Nation."
Earlier in the day, the Spartans conducted their 12th practice of preseason camp. The team will continue preseason camp with two practices on Wednesday.
The trouble spots the first preseason scrimmage is designed to uncover were: 1. Undetected; 2. Non-existent; or 3. Inconsequential.
While Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio knows the first possibility is highly unlikely, and the second is completely unrealistic, he's hopeful the third will prove to be the case right up to the Aug. 31 season opener against Boise State.
The defense was more advanced than the offense in Sunday's first jersey scrimmage, but that's typical of most teams this time of year. Given the off-the-chart expectations defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi's unit carried into preseason camp, anything but a dominating performance would have sent up an unexpected red flag.
However, the offense and special teams clicked well enough at times in the 74-54 modified scoring that favored the defense to prevent Dantonio from declaring the event flag day.
"Everything's manageable," Dantonio said Monday. "I think we're where we thought we would be and guys are competing. We've got some good players on both sides of the ball so sometimes you're going to win and sometimes you're going to lose that situation.
"So as the head coach, you're sort of sitting there trying to play both ends of the stick."
For Dantonio's complete assessment of the first preseason scrimmage and other notes from Steve Grinczel's "Grinz on Green", click here.
Under mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the upper-70s, the Michigan State football team held its first jersey scrimmage of preseason camp Sunday afternoon in Spartan Stadium. Utilizing a modified scoring system, the defense defeated the offense, 74-54, in a "situational" scrimmage.
"Overall, I'm happy with the performance of our defense," said head coach Mark Dantonio. "Offensively, we have to be able to get into a rhythm and move the ball on a consistent basis. When evaluating things, there's always a little give and take (between the offense and defense). We definitely got a lot of work done out here today."
For a complete report on Sunday's scrimmage, click here.
Earlier on Sunday, the exterior graphics on the Spartan Stadium south end zone scoreboard were installed. Check out the new images on the scoreboard as the project nears completion before the season opener on Aug. 31 against Boise State.
Michigan State's first preseason jersey scrimmage, originally scheduled for Saturday, has been moved to Sunday. Approximately 2 1/2 inches of rain has fallen in East Lansing since Wednesday.
Dantonio is looking forward to seeing his team in a scrimmage setting.
"We won't have the coaches out on the field," said Dantonio. "It will be more situations that occur sometimes, so I think we'll learn a little bit more. The longer we play, the more you learn about your players. I think that's key."
Check back Sunday to msuspartans.com for a complete recap on the scrimmage.
Spartan long snapper Steve Moore, who suffered a season-ending neck injury during a diving accident last month, returned to campus on Friday to see his teammates in preseason camp.
"I'm feeling good - I'm moving a little stiff, but I'm happy to be walking and talking, so I'm blessed with that," said Moore. "It was good to be welcomed back with open arms.
"It's awesome, like being reunited with the family. I miss those guys. Two weeks away from here feels like an eternity. It's great to be back, it's like I'm home."
Moore, a native of Pinconning, Mich., earned his first letter with the Spartans last season after playing in three games, and was the starting long snapper in the 2012 Outback Bowl win over Georgia. He was projected to compete for the starting position during preseason camp, along with incoming freshman Taybor Pepper.
Speaking in the lobby of the Skandalaris Center, Moore outlined the recovery process for his injury and thanked Spartan Nation for their support.
During the early portion of preseason camp, most are curious as to which freshmen have the potential to contribute immediately.
The reality is that just one true freshman - linebacker Taiwan Jones - played on either offense or defense last season for the Spartans.
The biggest source of new contributions will likely come from the talented red-shirt freshman class, who had to wait their turn in 2011. And sitting on the sidelines is not something they're accustomed to.
This fall, they're out to prove they can make a difference on the field. The potential is there for several to make an impact, and the track record in the Spartan program proves the benefits of an extra year of practice.
To see who are the most likely candidates from the red-shirt freshman class to play in 2012, check out the full feature here.
Coach Dantonio | Defense | Offense | Photo Gallery
After five days of buildup, the Michigan State football team finally practiced in full pads for the first time this season on Wednesday afternoon.
In some respects, this day feels like when preseason camp truly begins.
"Guys made plays on both sides of the ball I thought," said Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio after sending his team through a two-and-a-half hour workout on the grass practice fields behind the Duffy Daugherty Building. "Guys looked crisp; there was a lot of hitting out there and they were very active."
Putting on the full gear and going live for the first time is one of the most anticipated days of the year for the players after months of summer conditioning. Not that it's easy. But it's why they play the game.
Just ask red-shirt freshmen defensive ends Shilique Calhoun and Joel Heath.
"It was rough and tough in the trenches," said Calhoun. "We all got beat up - but it was a good day though."
"It's competitive," said Heath. "People are flying around and it's exciting. Basically, we've been training and running drills every day. We're finally to be able to get out here in pads and hit each other."
For a complete report from Wednesday's practice, click here.
As preseason practice continues, watch a preview of fall camp from the new season of Spartan Football All-Access. The 30-minute show, which gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the Michigan State football program, will air throughout the season on Sunday nights at 10:30 p.m. on FOX Sports Detroit. The first episode is scheduled to broadcast Sept. 2.
Media day on Monday wasn't all about the interviews - check out some of the photos on the official Michigan State Athletics Facebook page.
It was also announced that the 10th annual "Meet the Spartans" event is set for Tuesday, Aug. 14 from 5:15-7:25 p.m. in downtown East Lansing. For more information on the event, click here.
On the practice field, the Spartans conducted their second practice in shells in the afternoon and will wear full pads for the first time in preseason camp on Wednesday.
More than 50 reporters from around the state of Michigan gathered Monday inside the Huntington Club at Spartan Stadium for Michigan State Football Media Day. Click here for complete coverage on all of the day's events, including head coach Mark Dantonio's press conference, assistant coach interviews, and quotes from several offensive and defensive players.
The morning began with roundtable interviews with defensive players and coaches, followed by interviews with the offensive staff and players. Sixth-year head coach Mark Dantonio concluded media day festivities with a 30-minute press conference at the main podium.
"I think we are moving along," said Dantonio. "When you talk about where we wanted to go when we first came here, what we wanted to try to accomplish, we said want to build a foundation. We keep trying to build a foundation to try to get to that Rose Bowl. We haven't made it there yet, but that's our goal."
All nine of MSU's assistant coaches attended media day to preview the upcoming season, including defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, who talked about his excitement entering 2012, how William Gholston has emerged as a quiet leader, and if there's any added pressure on the defense this fall.
Among the 13 players on offense that attended media day, perhaps the most crowded interview roundtable belonged to new starting quarterback Andrew Maxwell, who is taking over for three-year starter Kirk Cousins. In addition, Le'Veon Bell discussed what he wants to improve on this season, while Bennie Fowler talked about the potential of the young wide receivers.
Several of the key returning players from the Big Ten's top-ranked defense in 2011 talked about the upcoming season at media day and how they can improve in 2012.
In the afternoon, the Spartans held their third practice of preseason camp and their first in shells on the grass fields behind the Duffy Daugherty Football Building.
All eyes were on Andrew Maxwell at Michigan State's media day.
Under partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low-80s, sixth-year Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio sent his team through a 2-hour and 40-minute workout in helmets, jerseys and shorts on the grass practice fields behind the Duffy Daugherty Football Building on Sunday, Aug. 5, as the Spartans completed their second of 29 scheduled preseason practices.
"We had another good practice today," Dantonio said. "We've got numbers at every position, so everybody is getting reps, but the most impressive thing has been the way the guys have worked. We have a variety of drills going on all at once, and the guys have maintained a good tempo. When the guys come off the field, they're all tired and that's a good thing.
"Things will start getting a little more interesting tomorrow (as the team practices in shells for the first time). We've got to maintain our discipline as the players begin contact. We certainly look forward to seeing how the freshmen move when carrying their pads."
For more on the second day of practice, click here.
As head coach Mark Dantonio walked through the Duffy Daugherty Indoor Building and out to the practice fields for Michigan State's first official practice of 2012 on Saturday afternoon, he did so with a name tag across his chest.
"We all start over, so everybody has a name tag - every coach, every manager, and every player has got one on his helmet," said the sixth-year Spartan head coach of the preseason camp tradition. "It's important that we all just reassert ourselves and understand that we're all starting over. So it's just a little mental thing we do every year."
One might think Dantonio and his staff would be exempt from wearing name tags after leading Michigan State to back-to-back 11-win seasons for the first time in school history. But for the program, there's more to accomplish, and it all starts on day one.
"The single most important area to me is always getting back up," Dantonio said. "Refocusing who we are and trying to move forward, regardless of how many games we won last year, or didn't win. It's that presence of mind that you have to go to take the next step."
In a 10-minute media briefing prior to practice, Dantonio touched on several topics, including the young players at wide receiver, which players are emerging as leaders, and what the goals are for the first few practices before putting on full pads. To read excerpts from Dantonio's interview, click here.
Sixth-year Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio welcomed 105 members of the 2012 team back to campus for physicals, compliance and drug education meetings, and a media workshop on Friday, Aug. 3, as the Spartans opened preseason football camp. The first preseason practice is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 4 at 3 p.m.
"There's always an air of excitement when players report for preseason camp," Dantonio said. "It doesn't matter if it's your senior season or your freshman year; the players are anxious to hit the practice field.
"Our team chemistry has been special the last two years, and we expect that will continue. There's a good blend of youth and experience on this football team. We have a relatively small senior class and a very large junior class, so combined those classes will provide most of the leadership for this team."
"I'm happy the reporting date is finally here," junior running back Le'Veon Bell said. "It's been a long off-season, and we're ready to get back to work."
For a complete report from Friday, click here.