Michigan State Football Notes: Heat, Herm and O-line status
Arizona State coach Herm Edwards and Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio spent time at a golf charity event last summer in Grand Rapids.
Although Dantonio didn’t take the course to take him one-on-one, Dantonio has known Edwards since his days as a secondary coach at Kansas from 1991-94. At the time, Edwards was a scout for the Kansas City Chiefs under then-coach Marty Schottenheimer from 1990-91 and the defensive backs coach from 1992-95.
He’s “followed him from afar” for most of his coaching career. And Saturday night at Sun Devils Football Stadium in Tempe, his fifteenth-ranked Spartans get to face off against Edwards, who’s in his first year at ASU.
“I think he's done a great job,” Dantonio said at his weekly press conference Tuesday. “I think thus far from what I see, transitioning into the college game, he's one game in. It's a grind. A good man.”
With the new-look Sun Devils only one game into the Edwards era, Dantonio said it’s tough to gather film and gauge what ASU is like.
But, according to running back Connor Heyward, one thing is certain for an Edwards team: “They’re gonna be hyped.”
“It’s a big game, night game,” the sophomore said. “So you know, they’re gonna bring everything.”
And against UTSA last Saturday, Arizona State did bring everything, as it only allowed 252 yards of total offense, while accumulating nine sacks, recovering two fumbles and returning an interception for a touchdown.
So MSU turned to watching San Diego State film from last season, as the Sun Devils hired former Aztecs’ defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales for his same role.
Quarterback Brian Lewerke said that from what he’s seen from Gonzales’ defense, its scheme is similar to Utah State’s.
And Lewerke will be facing off against cornerback Chase Lucas, whom Lewerke played against in his high school days at Pinnacle High School in Phoenix, while Lucas attending Chandler High School in Chandler, Arizona.
“They run with five DB’s the whole time,” the redshirt junior captain said after practice Tuesday. “They like to rally to the short passes, kind of play off a little bit, like to rally. But I think they’re a solid defense, and it’ll be a good, fun test for us.”
Just like the similarities between ASU’s defense and Utah State's defense, safety Khari Willis said both offenses are similar, although the Sun Devils offense is slightly slower.
However, ASU demolished UTSA on the ground, running for 266 yards and two touchdowns, while quarterback Manny Wilkins tossed four touchdowns and 237 yards.
“On the offensive side of the ball, they got good skill,” linebacker Joe Bachie said. “From receivers, running back, quarterback -- obviously he’s been there for a couple of years, slinging the ball around. Offensively, they’re good. They’re not as fast as Utah State, but it’s gonna be another tough challenge and we’ve got to be ready for it.”
Playing in an oven instead of a pool
Lewerke’s advice to his teammates this Saturday night in Tempe is to hydrate — a lot.
The Phoenix native admitted he hasn’t played in Arizona in awhile, so he doesn’t remember what it’s like playing in the dry desert.
But, he said it’s not like mid-Michigan.
“It’s not terribly humid, so it won’t feel like you’re in a pool the entire time,” Lewerke said. “It’ll just feel like an oven. Which I guess isn’t a very good comparison, but, all you have to do is hydrate and you should be fine.”
Wide receiver Felton Davis said he asked Lewerke a few questions earlier this week about what it’s like to play in Arizona.
Dantonio said head athletic trainer Sally Nogle usually handles the approach to situations such as an Arizona dry heat.
He said practicing in the 90s with humidity throughout the next couple days will help MSU prepare for the predicted 100-degree temperature at kickoff, according to Weather Underground. Bachie even said it reached 138 degrees on the turf practice field at the Duffy Daugherty Football Building Tuesday.
“Hopefully that will get us a little bit indoctrinated,” Dantonio said. “We'll just have to see how it all shakes out down there. We'll be ready to go.”
Cole Chewins practicing, Luke Campbell still learning left tackle
When the weekly depth chart was released Tuesday morning, offensive tackle Cole Chewins was still listed as the starter with Luke Campbell, despite not being on the dress list last Friday against Utah State.
However, Dantonio said Chewins is practicing.
“I don't really talk about injuries,” Dantonio said. “Cole is practicing, so we'll leave it at that.”
If Chewins doesn’t come back this week, Campbell, who started 12 games at right tackle in 2017, should get the start.
Dantonio said Campbell does need to improve, specifically with keeping both feet on the ground because once you have one foot off the ground, “bad things happen.”
“But he'll play better as time goes on,” Dantonio said. “He's a competitor, got to get ready to play, just like all of our guys. I don't think we played our best football game by any stretch last Friday. But it's a starting point, and sometimes you need a starting point to send you off, too.”
Campbell said he likes to play right tackle but doesn't mind moving over to left tackle.
"I always expect to do great," Campbell said. "That's the mentality we have. Just going back and watching the film, we really watched and saw what we can improve on. So that's what we're going to do."
Cole Hahn, Ryan Armour win starting jobs
Dantonio officially named kicker Cole Hahn the lead kickoff specialist and long snapper Ryan Armour the starting long snapper in this week’s depth chart.
“Special teams, pretty much I would say Cole Hahn kicks off to the end zone, but beyond that, pretty standard,” he said.