Thursday, June 4, 2020

Position battle at center continues between Higby, Allen

September 14, 2018
<p>Sophomore offensive lineman Matt Allen (64) prepares to snap a football during practice on April 3, 2018, inside Duffy Daugherty Football Building.</p>

Sophomore offensive lineman Matt Allen (64) prepares to snap a football during practice on April 3, 2018, inside Duffy Daugherty Football Building.

Photo by Matt Schmucker | The State News

MSU football is now in week three of its season, and after initially giving junior offensive lineman Tyler Higby the nod at center, coach Mark Dantonio hinted during his weekly press conference Tuesday at someone else possibly filling that role moving forward. 

Higby started at left guard for the Spartans last season, but is capable of playing any position on the offensive line when needed. Higby has started at center against both Utah State and Arizona State, but the fourth-year player might head back to his old position. 

“(We) want to always try and play our best five, but with that being said, it's difficult sometimes to transition to the center box, and you saw him — you saw a couple times what happened to him,”  Dantonio said. “Things got disrupted, and when you can't control the center box, if you can't control the nose with the center box, it's difficult to run the ball.”

Higby and sophomore offensive lineman Matt Allen were in the running for the center position during spring practices, after Allen’s brother, Brian, finished his final season with MSU. Higby was named the starter just before the season began, but has continued to rotate in and out with Allen during the first two games.

Allen played in 11 games last season after redshirting his freshman campaign. And even though the sophomore has yet to start in a game in his collegiate career, Allen has more experience playing at center than Higby. 

“I thought Matt played better,” Dantonio said. “He was more firm in there. He's been a center longer. So you know, we certainly have to try and figure that out as we go and that's one of the things we figure out in the next couple weeks here.”

For now, the two will continue to battle for the starting job in the middle, and it doesn't seem like a final decision will be made anytime soon.

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