Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Here's the second half of my chat with Michigan State running back Javon Ringer.
After the team lost so many close games, is it easy to look at the next year and say, 'We can make that jump?'
Javon Ringer: It's easier to watch a game where you're like, 'Aw, man, if we just had that play. That would have made the big difference that we needed.' Instead of watching games where, 'We made that mistake. Yeah, we made that one, too. And that one. And that one. And we got blown out.' It's a lot different to look at the games where you were close to see the mistakes that you made instead of getting blown out.
Let's talk about the opener at Cal. You guys haven't started off with a game like that for a while. How big of a challenge will that be?
JR: We just need to keep doing everything we've been doing since we started winter conditioning. I don't see us really getting too overwhelmed. We're all looking at it as it's real exciting for us. It's more exciting to look forward to a team where it's like, 'Man, this is going to be a big game,' instead of a team you know you're probably going to beat. It's a whole different mind-set that we have knowing that we're playing against Cal. That's going to be a fight. It's something we're all looking forward to. As long as we're excited, our motivation is just going to come.
You talked last year about how different it is to be in this offense, how it features the running game more. How do you view your career, going from the previous system to this one?
JR: My freshman year and sophomore year, we really weren't much of a running offense. Now when Coach D came, that's something we want to emphasize first, the running game. My freshman and sophomore year when we had Drew [Stanton] and the whole spread, a lot of times it was pass first and run second. It's a different chapter.
What have you seen from quarterback Brian Hoyer this offseason? He had a pretty good season last year that ended on a bad note in the bowl game. What's his mind-set going into the fall?
JR: He's really excited, too. He knows it's his senior year. He knows we still have a lot more to prove. Us as seniors, this is our last shot. We don't have another year after this. So this is basically our last go-round, and Hoyer is looking forward to leading our offense to hopefully a big bowl game.
How do you guys replace Devin Thomas at wide receiver? What have you seen from that group?
JR: A lot of people don't understand the talent we have with the seniors because a lot of times last year, Devin was mostly getting the passes, either him or Kellen (Davis). But we have so many good receivers like Mark Dell and B.J. Cunningham and Blair White. We have good receivers all around instead of that one big-time playmaker like Devin. It's going to be an overall thing. A lot of times last year, people could just have keyed on Devin and from what the stats showed, that was pretty much our passing game, comparing the catches he had to what everybody else had. Hoyer's going to do a lot more spreading the ball around. We have a lot of playmakers and a lot of talent at receiver. Everybody's going to be able to see that against Cal.
I know you're focused on Cal, but in talking about respect, how excited will you be for the Michigan game? What will that mean for you as a senior?
JR: I have not beaten Michigan yet and I really, really, really don't want to go through my whole college career without beating my rival school. That would just really put a damper on my whole college career if I went through all four years and couldn't beat this one school. That's something I really would hate. And I'm really looking forward to playing at the Big House because really, I haven't played there yet. I'm really excited for it.