Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Van Dyke remaining positive as No. 1 spot awarded to Smoker

September 4, 2001

But Williams said senior quarterback Ryan Van Dyke took the news well, and both signal callers have made smooth transitions into their new roles.

“Both Van Dyke and Smoker have been carrying on the same as they were before we named a starter,” Williams said about the decision he announced Thursday. “In fact, I was anticipating a negative response and that didn’t happen.

“Jeff has settled into the position to start the football game, and Ryan has settled into the position of coming in at some point.”

Van Dyke said he was upset when he heard the news, but it didn’t take him long to get over it and assume his new role.

“I was a little hurt at first,” Van Dyke said. “You can’t dwell on it. I wasn’t going to dwell on it and let it ruin my three years of hard work. I just went out there and tried even harder.

“Really, I got over it in about two hours - I went out there and had a great practice.”

Smoker said he was never positive he had the starting job bagged for the opener because the race was so close throughout the preseason.

“I wasn’t sure,” Smoker said. “Ryan and I have been playing so hard and going back and forth - it could have gone either way.”

MSU’s game plan will utilize both quarterbacks in the first half, but Williams said he won’t know at what point Van Dyke will enter the game until the plan is tweaked this week in practice.

“Whether he’s going to (come in) in the first quarter or second, I’m not sure yet,” Williams said. “We’ll determine that sometime early in the week.”

Smoker pulled slightly ahead of Van Dyke during the team’s last scrimmage Aug. 28, when he completed nine-of-11 throws for 152 yards. Van Dyke threw two interceptions in the scrimmage.

And while the scrimmage didn’t help his campaign, Van Dyke said he’s glad the final decision has been made - now he and Smoker, his roommate, can work together rather than compete against each other, he said.

“I kind of had a feeling it was going to happen,” Van Dyke said. “I didn’t play too well in the second scrimmage

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