Aug. 21, 1997
Spartans Conduct First Preseason Scrimmage
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State third-year head football coach Nick Saban sent his team through a two-hour scrimmage Thursday to open the second week of preseason camp.
Following a 60-play "controlled" scrimmage, Coach Saban dedicated five periods to special situations, including third down, red zone, goal line, coming out from the end zone and get the ball back.
"I thought the first units on both sides of the football showed improvement," Saban said. "I was impressed with the maturity level of the first-teamers and their ability to compete in certain situations.
"Some of our young players showed their inexperience today. We need those guys to grow up quickly and provide quality depth at some positions."
Veteran quarterback Todd Schultz, who sat out spring contact drills after undergoing successful ACL reconstruction surgery on his left knee, completed 14-of-18 passes for 188 yards. Gus Ornstein, who missed all of spring practice after dislocating his left kneecap in a baseball game, took all the snaps with the No. 2 offense and completed 12-of-20 pass attempts for 106 yards.
"Todd Schultz has made progress during the preseason," Saban said. "Todd threw the ball well today and looked very comfortable in the pocket. He moved around some and avoided the pass rush and that's encouraging.
"Gus Ornstein got off to a slow start today but played better as the scrimmage progressed. He has shown signs of improvement this preseason."
The No. 1 offense put together a seven-play, 65-yard drive on the first series with fifth-year senior running back Marc Renaud scoring on a 19-yard run. Schultz went 3-for-3 for 33 yards on the scoring drive. Spartans Conduct First Preseason Scrimmage -- 2
The No. 3 offense produced the only other touchdown of the scrimmage as true freshman Lorenzo Guess hooked up with freshman walk-on Chris Strayer for a 38-yard TD pass.
"We still have a long way to go before the season opener," Saban said. "We've been at it now for eight days and 14 practices so the players are tired. We have to work through the fatigue and continue to improve."
Michigan State opens the 1997 season Sept. 6 against Western Michigan at 12:30 p.m. in Spartan Stadium.