Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Intrasquad game canceled because of poor weather

April 11, 2002

Spartan football fans hoping to get a sneak peak of the team at Saturday’s annual Green-White intrasquad game will have to wait until the fall season.

MSU head coach Bobby Williams officially canceled the game, which was scheduled to take place at Okemos High. Williams cited poor field conditions for the decision.

“Mother Nature simply hasn’t cooperated this spring,” Williams said in a written statement. “We checked out the site (Wednesday) and there was standing water on the field as the result of the heavy rains earlier this week.

“Unfortunately, the warmer and drier weather arrived too late to improve the field conditions and showers are again in the forecast for Friday.”

Special education senior Matt Means said he’s disappointed in the cancellation.

“It was going to be my last chance as a student to see the team,” said Means, who graduates in May. “That kind of sucks. We’ve gone the last couple of years and it’s kind of disappointing this year because we’ve heard a lot of excitement coming out of practice and were looking forward to seeing the stuff we’ve heard about.”

The scrimmage was scheduled at Okemos instead of the usual Spartan Stadium because natural grass is being installed in the stadium. The scrimmage was last canceled in 1994, when the field in Spartan Stadium was being lowered during the off-season. Last season, the spring game was replaced with a controlled scrimmage because of a lack of players.

Okemos athletics director and head football coach Keith Froelich said the school is disappointed with the cancellation, but that Williams’ decision is commendable from a coach’s viewpoint.

“Our community was excited,” Froelich said. “I think it would’ve been an exciting event, but you have to give MSU credit, they were concerned about tearing up our field and the big picture. You need to make plans for a lot of people, not just the football team.”

Froelich said maintaining the field has been a problem all spring.

“I think the bigger problem has been the weather,” he said. “We haven’t been able to keep frost off of the ground. The rain from Monday and Tuesday is sitting on the field.

“It was their decision to cancel this early.”

The Spartans now will conclude their spring practices with a controlled scrimmage at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Duffy Daugherty Football Building. The scrimmage is closed to the general public.

“We’ll still step it up a little bit, but it’ll be a different atmosphere not playing in front of as many people, friends and family,” junior quarterback Jeff Smoker said. “But hopefully we’ll get done what we need to accomplish.”

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