Junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell wants you to know he’s his own man.
He isn’t going to try to be someone he’s not, replace any one player or step into another man’s shoes. Still, when his teammates look at him, they can’t help but be reminded of someone else.
“He’s got the (Tom) Brady sleeves and the Aaron Rodgers walk; he’s ready to go,” junior wide receiver Bennie Fowler said. “You watch Tom Brady — he always wears the half-sleeve cutoffs … Maxwell wears those out. And the Aaron Rodgers walk? Aaron Rodgers has a cool walk; he almost walks like he’s a skill player.”
Maxwell has been tasked with the difficult assignment of taking over the starting quarterback job from Kirk Cousins. And while comparisons to Cousins still linger, Maxwell has found his teammates accept him for himself — resemblances to Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks notwithstanding.
“I’ve built friendships and built connections with everybody in this locker room, so if I’m trying to be somebody different, somebody I haven’t been, that’s not going to translate very well,” he said.
Maxwell will get his first start Aug. 31, when MSU hosts Boise State under the lights at Spartan Stadium. He’ll enter the game with 29 passing completions on 51 attempts for 294 yards and a touchdown — and plenty of confidence, something Fowler has noticed from day one.
“No doubt Maxwell has swag,” he said. “When we came in together in (2009), I could
Head coach Mark Dantonio said Maxwell’s opportunity to study under Cousins for four years has benefited him greatly, and he expects him to demonstrate his maturity in 2012.
“When they say he has swag, I think he lets things roll off his shoulders a little bit,” he said.
Although much of MSU’s leadership responsibilities will fall on Maxwell, some of that load will be borne by junior running back Le’Veon Bell. Bell enters fall practices as the No. 1 running back on the depth chart, surpassing senior Larry Caper for the starting job.
However, Bell said the promotion to starting running back hasn’t gone to his head.
“I’ve just got to stay focused,” he said. “Keep pushing, keep that chip on my shoulder and make sure that I still can be the best that I can be.”