Coming off his junior season with a battling shoulder injury, quarterback Brian Lewerke confirms that he should be ready to start spring practice.
Lewerke started in 10 games in his third season in the green and white uniform and ranked ninth in the Big Ten in passing with 185.4 yards per game. For him, the practice cannot start soon enough.
“I'm very anxious to get started again, just because I want to show that I'm still a great quarterback and still have a lot of abilities when I'm fully 100 percent healthy,” Lewerke said.
A couple of days after falling to Michigan Oct. 20, Lewerke admitted he suffered a minor shoulder injury against Penn State Oct. 13. Redshirt freshman quarterback Rocky Lombardi would start in three games against Purdue, Nebraska and Rutgers for the injured junior.
The starting quarterback wasn’t the only injury the team suffered. Through the season, the team would lose five offensive linemen, eight wide receivers and two running back/fullbacks. Lewerke wants to this to turn this upcoming season around.
“It definitely sucked that we were the lacking side of the ball,” Lewerke said. “We could have done a lot more and we take full responsibility for that. We want to prove that this year.”
Coach Mark Dantonio believed there was more of a “collective issue” that added to the team’s 7-6 season besides the plaguing injuries.
The Spartan coach said Lewerke should be 100 percent to start spring ball, but will fully know once they kick practice off.
“I think the quarterback position, when we've been consistent at that position, we've had unbelievable offenses and teams,” Dantonio said. “You can just look at the past and you can look across the country. When there's inconsistency or those type of things, you know mistakes are made, then it all sort of unravels a little bit.”
Lewerke admitted he kept away from throwing the ball too much a month after the 2018 season ended. During the team’s winter workouts, he began to warm his arm back up from his recovery.
While not remaining too physical during the offseason, Lewerke continued to study film from last season to see what plays he did right and where some plays went wrong.
“I’m hoping to get back to what I was doing in (the 2017 season) with my arm strength and my confidence in my arm,” Lewerke said. “How I feel will help my confidence a lot better.”
The team announced they will start spring practice Thursday, which is when Lewerke feels ready to get back into full practices.
Even though the team did not perform they way they wanted to, he feels nothing has changed his mind heading into the upcoming season.
“For the most part, it’s not really different for me,” Lewerke said. “I have the same mindset. I have the same approach.”
The Spartans will host the official spring game, their public scrimmage before the start of the 2019 season, at 2 p.m. April 13 in Spartan Stadium.
As for who will get the start between Lewerke and Lombardi, Dantonio said he will head into the season with the same mentality. Whoever is the best will get the start.
“We're going to always play the best players, and we're going to measure that collectively in every aspect,” Dantonio said. “So if our backup quarterback plays like he did against Purdue the whole season, then you take it from there. If you're playing like you did against Rutgers, then you take it from there. Everybody is going to be judged on what they've done lately and that's what we'll continue to do.”