Spring football is a time for position changes, and the MSU football team is working on some key switches as spring football continues.
One of those is senior Todd Anderson’s move from the defensive line to fullback, where he’s listed as No. 1 on the depth chart in filling in for departed senior Nick Bendzuck, last season’s starter, but several linemen also shifted from defensive to offensive line.
In his first season of seeing action, Anderson played in eight games and made eight tackles as a defensive end last season, but talked with coaches in the offseason about a position switch that would utilize his physicality and aggressiveness.
“Fullback’s an angry position,” Anderson said. “We’ve had a tradition of tough, physical fullbacks the past four years I’ve been here, and hopefully I can keep that going.”
Anderson said he is excited for the position switch, and sees one of his main roles to bring phyiscality as he learns the position.
“I’m ready to take on any challenge,” Anderson said. “It’s just timing with your backs and getting to know your backs, and your quarterback, that’s probably been the hardest part.”
Junior Blake Treadwell has been playing at center rather than his position on the defensive line last season in another move, and he is listed in a tie for the starter position with junior Ethan Ruhland, sophomore Nate Klatt and redshirt freshman Travis Jackson.
Head coach Mark Dantonio said Treadwell, who recorded 16 tackles and made five starts on the defensive line last season, probably will be in the mix on the offensive line, but can move back to the defensive side if the move doesn’t work out.
Other moves include sophomore TyQuan Hammock transitioning from fullback back to linebacker, where he’ll be in the mix to replace departing senior Greg Jones, and sophomore Dan France moving from defensive line to offensive line. Hammock began last season as linebacker before moving to fullback in the early season, and coaches said they’ve been impressed with his physical condition after dropping from 255 pounds to the 230-to 235-pound range.
“(Treadwell) was an outstanding offensive lineman coming out of high school,” head coach Mark Dantonio said. “We need to make sure we have guys that are athletic enough to play center, offensive guard. So we want to give that opportunity for him to get in that mix.”
Linebackers making strides
Replacing Jones will be one of the Spartans’ toughest tasks next season, but players like junior linebacker Steve Gardiner are determined to keep the linebacker position very prodcutive.
Gardiner is listed as No. 1 on the depth chart at mike linebacker, but Hammock and sophomore Max Bullough also will be in the mix, and Gardiner said he’s prepared for the challenge of replacing three key seniors in Jones, Eric Gordon and Jon Misch.
“As a group, we’re taking the challenge on,” Gardiner said. “There’s a lot of talk in the media … saying that we can’t tackle. We’re just taking it as a challenge and we’re helping each other compete.”