Off in the distance, the gears of football are beginning to turn. It’s four weeks until MSU opens against Boise State and today marks the beginning of fall camp. The first major lever has been pulled in the 2012 Michigan State football season.
As always there will be a number of stories to follow from the preseason to the moment where toe meets leather on August 31st, but this year should be especially interesting given the youth of our offensive skill positions and the ludicrously fantastic depth on defense. Earlier this week, Michigan State released it’s first depth chart of the season, which as always is hardly worth the pixels it’s printed on because it doesn’t even account for true freshmen. Still, it’s the long, especially hot desert of an offseason so we’ll do some entirely overwrought depth chart questions, because that will be fun! Right? Guys?
MUCH DEPTH CHART HARRUMPHING!
Position Battles to Watch:
1.)Wide Receiver. If you’re reading this blog, you’re smart enough to know that you can sum up the Wide Receivers in two words: Unproven talent. Every single Wide Receiver snap is up for grabs this year. Since gladiator games are illegal in the state of Michigan I suppose we’ll have to settle for which receiver makes the biggest impression on the coaching staff through fall camp. Way Too Early Prediction: Mumphery sticks as a starter this year, he and Maxwell have had two years scout teamin’ together. That chemistry will come in handy on a team short of game experience.
2.) Nose Tackle. What’s the difference between co-starters Tyler Hoover and James Kittredge? About four inches and 40 lbs. I am skeptical of a 6’7” defensive tackle, unless he plays in an ex-NBA pickup football league. Kittredge is an unknown. He transferred from Vanderbilt in the summer of 2011 after deciding he wanted to play football in college instead of play football for Vanderbilt. There are a platoon of other half-man, half-machine 6’4 280lbs-ish guys who could slide in and take this spot.
3.) Free Safety. This is another position where MSU has talent just pouring out of their ears. Kurtis Drummond and RJ Williamson are listed as the co-starters at the Free Safety position. Drummond played the nickel back in our 3rd and long package last year and had two picks in his limited time on the field. That’s a play to interception ratio of VERY AWESOME. Newcomer RJ Williamson is a redshirt freshmen this year and not long after National Signing Day in 2011 I recall a rival coach of his saying Williamson will play on Sundays. This all before the entry of Demetrious Cox into the fray, who Mark Dantonio said on National Signing Day in 2012 had NFL physical talent right now.
4.) Tight End. More unproven talent. Dion Sims returns from the 2011 campaign, but that’s about it. Denzel Drone has moved over from the DE position where he was really shining towards the end of 2011. Then you have a pair of true frosh Josiah Price, Evan Jones and a walk-on who showed some stuff in Spring Ball named Andrew Gleichert. Anything after Sims is pretty large-size question mark in an offense that relies heavily on pre-snap motion to mask the coming play.
A Couple More Questions
1.) What about Lawrence Thomas?
Thomas moved from linebacker to defensive end after weighing in at 292 lbs!!!! Even Courtney Upshaw was all “That dude is too big to be a Mike!”. Thomas’ future has been on the defensive line since the minute he was a 245 lb Mike in High School. Way Too Early Prediction: Thomas continues his Journey Through The Defensive Positions and sees time as the Nose Tackle in MSU’s 3rd and Long Defense early in the season. He transitions from DE to DT throughout the year and by the bowl game is part of the regular DT rotation.
2.) A Clear Skyler over France?
In the rumblings out of Spring Ball, there was noise that Skyler Burkland was gaining ground on Dan France to become our starting Left Tackle. France is currently listed as the starter on the depth chart, however in 2011 Burkland looked very talented but raw in his limited playing time. Burkland has the most upside of any of our Offensive Line prospects playing right now.
Spartan Problems. We has them. The bulk of our question marks on either side of the ball are less of the John L Smith – “Which these darned kids are we gonna git to play in the secundary this yeer?” depthless issues and more of the “Which of these talented but inexperienced individuals is going to step up and fill this position of need for us?”.
Actual footage of John L Smith as the football coach.
Michigan State was ranked 13th in the first preseason coaches poll and Boise came in at 22nd. Heck does his fall camp breakdown over at The Only Colors. Little Brother Blog has a take on Dantonio’s “under-the-radar class” as noted by CBS. Banks of the Red Cedar has noticed that Dan Roushar is part alien and is not happy about it. ISportsWeb continues breaking down the schedule in exquisite detail in part IV of their series.