The Spartans are starting to get healthy — sort of.
Coach Mark Dantonio said in his weekly press conference Tuesday that two players have a good chance of coming back this Saturday against Maryland (5-3, 3-2 in Big Ten): cornerback Josiah Scott (torn meniscus) and wide receiver Cody White (broken left hand).
Dantonio said White, who wasn’t listed on this week’s depth chart, will travel with Michigan State (5-3, 3-2) to College Park, but his availability will be determined by how the 6-foot-3, 210-pound sophomore practices this week.
As for Scott, Dantonio said the 5-foot-10, 175-pound sophomore will probably play some this week but has to ease himself back into action, especially since Scott practiced for the first time all season last week.
“You know, they have got to get themselves in shape,” Dantonio said. “Could have played this past weekend, but we sat him. And then he'll start playing some, but he's got to play himself back into it. He's getting a lot of reps right now. He did last week, a lot of reps.”
Dantonio said players have to show they’re not only healthy but able to take on the workload of playing every down. Especially the cornerbacks.
“To play corner in this defense, you've got to go, and so you've got to have a great conditioning level, so you've got to be able to work your way back into that,” Dantonio said. “I think you see that with other players who have been out for a while. Just because they are back, doesn't mean they are back fully in condition, especially at certain positions. We'll work our way back into that, and we'll be able to do that, but I think it will take a week or so.”
Dantonio also announced Tuesday starting center Matt Allen won’t play Saturday for the second straight week, because of an undisclosed injury.
Allen is the fourth starting offensive linemen to be injured at some point this season, along with left tackle Cole Chewins (undisclosed), — who’s now back to playing full-time since being injured in early August — left guard David Beedle (unknown left arm injury) and right guard Kevin Jarvis (undisclosed), who are both currently out.
“We'll get those guys back, and when they get back, we'll be a more versatile team than we were before. I just keep looking at it, you know, sometimes what breaks you down a little bit makes you stronger,” Dantonio said. “
Because of these injuries, Blake Bueter has now moved in from guard to center, Luke Campbell from right tackle to guard and Tyler Higby from center to left tackle and now to left guard.
“It's been a challenge I think, but as I said last week, you know, we have got guys with experience up there that have played other positions before,” Dantonio said. “You know, they are used to doing that. I think as much as anything, it's the game day adjustments that might have to happen if someone were to go down.”
Linebacker Joe Bachie said getting players back from injuries week-by-week keeps energizing the team, as it did last week in MSU’s 23-13 win over Purdue when backup quarterback Rocky Lombardi replaced starter Brian Lewerke (undisclosed right-shoulder injury).
“It just shows what type of team this is,” Bachie said after practice Tuesday. “We got a lot of good guys — unselfish guys for sure. And you see Rocky step up this (past) week and have a great performance … They’re just unselfish guys, they play great ball and we got a couple other pieces back, so it’s good.”
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