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Thursday, April 17, 2014


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Quarterback tussle, return of injured linemen among top stories for MSU as spring ball ends




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Sophomore cornerback Trae Waynes participates in a drill during football practice Tuesday at the practice field outside Duffy Daugherty Football Building. Waynes has taken command of the starting spot at the position. Natalie Kolb/The State News



Quarterback battle
Senior quarterback Andrew Maxwell might be the leader after the spring to retain his starting job. Maxwell, as well as sophomore quarterback Connor Cook and redshirt freshman quarterback Tyler O’Connor, won’t be live in the game, but there still will be plenty to watch.

Has another year with the wide receivers improved Maxwell’s consistency?

Did Cook’s performance in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl earn him more respect from the team? Hits or not, it should be fun to watch.

Wide Receivers
Junior wide receiver DeAnthony Arnett was a four-star wide receiver coming out of high school.

Now, he was the eighth wide out selected on the Spartans roster, selected after three players that didn’t step on the field for the Spartans a season ago.

The team had a difficult time trying to find a connection between quarterback and receiver last year, so it will be interesting to see how the younger players selected ahead of Arnett will fare both in the spring game and in the regular season.

D-Line
The defensive line arguably is the most depleted of all the positions after the loss of both William Gholston and Anthony Rashad White, but it’s also one of the most exciting.

Senior defensive tackle Tyler Hoover and junior defensive end Marcus Rush will be the leaders on the line, while sophomore defensive end Shilique Calhoun and sophomore defensive lineman Lawrence Thomas look to make a name for themselves.

Thomas played on both sides of the ball last year, and got three starts at fullback.

Calhoun entered the spring as the No.1 defensive end on the depth chart and was named one of five Big Ten defensive players to watch by ESPN.com.

Fonoti and Jackson
Both senior offensive tackle Fou Fonoti and junior center Travis Jackson had season-ending injuries that kept them out for the majority of 2012.

This year, both will be key to keep the Spartan quarterback — whoever it might be — upright.

Jackson was the first overall pick of the MSU player draft Wednesday, and Fonoti will join him on the white team.

For MSU to have success on the offensive side of the ball this season, the pair must stay healthy and keep the quarterback on his feet.

Running Backs
Head coach Mark Dantonio doesn’t even know who’s going to be in the backfield for the Spartans.

Senior linebacker Max Bullough picked his younger brother, Riley, as the first running back taken.

The younger Bullough started the spring as a linebacker but was moved to running back to be the power back. Junior running back Nick Hill, the prospective starter, was the third tailback taken.

MSU has talented freshmen backs slated to join the team in the fall, so it’s uncertain Bullough has a guaranteed spot. In last year’s spring game, Sparty even got a snap, so who knows what Dantonio has up his sleeve this year.


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