Friday, April 19, 2013
Spring game preview: Michigan State
By Adam Rittenberg
We're previewing the three-pack of spring games taking place Saturday afternoon around the Big Ten. You've already seen what Wisconsin and Penn State have on tap.
It's time to check in on the annual Green-White Game at Michigan State.
When: Saturday, 2:35 p.m. ET
Where: Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich.
Admission: Free. Parking is free in n Lots 79, 62W, 63E/W, 67, 56, 39/40, 41; Ramps 2 and 5; Lot 62E has been reserved for disabled parking. Stadium gates (B, C, J and K) open at 1 p.m. ET.
TV: Big Ten Network (live) and BTN2go.com
Weather: Partly cloudy, 42-44 degrees, winds at 13-14 mph
What to watch for: The Spartans are a team with a multitude of questions on offense and very few on defense, so fans will spend most of Saturday studying one side of the ball. Although the quarterbacks won't be live like they have been in other spring scrimmages, Saturday marks the final chance for Andrew Maxwell, Connor Cook and Tyler O'Connor to impress the coaches before fall camp.
Michigan State's seniors drafted teams for the spring game earlier this week. Maxwell will play for the White squad, Cook will quarterback the Green team and O'Connor will take snaps for both sides.
Max Bullough, above, was an All-Big Ten linebacker for Michigan State last season, but his younger brother Riley might be worth keeping an eye on in the Spartans' spring game.
"I picked him because he's earned it -- nothing to do with being my brother," Max Bullough said. "He's definitely earned it. He's a guy that, he's picked up the offense very quickly. He's run downhill, he's made plays where other guys haven't, and we want him on our team."
Running backs Nick Hill and Jeremy Langford, who started the spring taking most of the first-team reps, will play for Green and White, respectively.
The Spartans' wide receivers took a lot of criticism last season for dropped passes, and it will be interesting to see who steps up in the scrimmage. Bennie Fowler and Aaron Burbridge will play for the Green squad, while Keith Mumphery, the first wideout drafted, will suit up for the White along with AJ Troup, who was picked ahead of Tony Lippett.
It might be tough to get a good read on the offensive line as the projected starters have been split up (more White than Green).
There's less intrigue with a defense that once again should be among the nation's elite, but fans should watch defensive end Shilique Calhoun and cornerback Trae Waynes, two players who coach Mark Dantonio said secured starting jobs with their play this spring. Lawrence Thomas, the first underclassman defensive tackle selected in the draft, is another interesting player who could take on a bigger role this fall.
The White team appears to have the edge in personnel, but we'll see how things play out Saturday afternoon.