Saturday, March 2, 2024

Sports | Football

FOOTBALL

Practice kicks off new regime

Staring out at MSU's practice field with bloodshot eyes, panting and swatting flies from his sweaty head, junior defensive tackle Brandon McKinney survived the Spartans' first full day of football practice Wednesday under new head coach John L.

FOOTBALL

Smith picks lesser-known captains

Three of last season's four football captains were benched, suspended or jailed. The 2002 captains - quarterback Jeff Smoker, center Brian Ottney, safety Thomas Wright and running back Dawan Moss - are a stark contrast to the humble disposition displayed by this year's group, a bunch of linemen and a linebacker. "Last year the guys didn't follow through," senior captain Paul Harker said.

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Charles ready to charge

Detroit - As Charles Rogers stepped out from behind a closed door on Ford Field's concourse level, camera bulbs popped and hundreds of heads turned to catch a glimpse of the Saginaw native and former Spartan star clad in Honolulu blue and silver. "It's nice for me, being a prospect from Michigan," said Rogers, while sitting down to sign autographs.

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Football coach believes underestimated Spartans still pose threat

Chicago - In his new role as MSU's football ambassador, John L. Smith greeted a congregation of Big Ten officials Wednesday, acknowledging that many believe the program to be one of the conference's weakest members. "I know a lot of people aren't expecting too much from us," he told dozens of reporters at the annual Big Ten football kick off in the Windy City.

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Season-ticket costs higher in some sections

Spartan fans might have a difficult time finding cheap seats in Spartan Stadium this season. On Friday, the MSU Board of Trustees voted unanimously to adopt the Scholarship Seating Plan, which benefits the Ralph Young Fund.

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Former Spartan wideout projected No. 2

While some professional prospects might be motivated by fame and fortune, MSU wide receiver Charles Rogers plays the game of football for those who looked after him, and for those he now looks after. "My family and my kids come first," he said.

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Scrimmage displays team's new strategies

MSU football head coach John L. Smith unveiled his new spread offense to 12,000 fans at Spartan Stadium on Saturday at the annual Green and White game, revealing the team's firm grasp on the new offense as well as its vulnerable defense. Showcasing "a quarter" of the new offense, Smith said he was encouraged by the progress the Spartans have displayed in adapting to a new system and coaches.

FOOTBALL

Defensive backs ready to anchor season's success

While much of the secondary is unproven, two defensive backs are set to anchor the group and provide the necessary leadership to get this unit through the season.Junior free safety Jason Harmon and junior cornerback Roderick Maples are the "elder statesmen" in the defensive backfield - each is stepping up and accepting the leadership role they have been assigned."Roderick and Jason stay on us all the time because we're young," sophomore strong safety Derron Ware said.

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NFL: Rogers' drug test diluted

Former MSU star Charles Rogers found himself under the microscope of NFL executives Monday after it was revealed he used a substance to dilute his drug test at the NFL combine in February. The news left Rogers' agent, Kevin Poston, on the defensive, claiming the consensus top-three pick in the April 26-27 NFL draft drank an excessive amount of water because he had difficulty urinating on the day of the test. During the pre-draft combine, potential draft picks often participate in drills for NFL scouts and submit to drug testing.

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Linebackers to be more aggressive

The MSU football team hopes a new defensive setup will result in more aggressive and productive linebackers this fall.The new schemes allow them to wreak havoc on opposing offenses.And they're just chomping at the bit to get started."The way the defense is set up now, it allows us to be more free," junior linebacker Ronald Stanley said.

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Catching on

He's No. 1 on MSU's wide receiver depth chart, his coaches love his speed and his teammates are lauding his leadership - but he is yet to catch one pass in a game of college football. After former Spartan standout Charles Rogers broke the MSU record books and entered the NFL Draft, MSU's depleted receiving corps is forced to look for a fresh start.

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Smith keeps players on alert with coaching style

MSU football head coach John L. Smith has his players on their toes this spring.From his casual stride around the Duffy Daugherty Football Building and his approachable, personable demeanor, it wouldn't be expected that Smith is forcing his players to keep one eye open for him at all times."Some of the time, you think he's around," sophomore wide receiver Kyle Brown said, shifting his eyes for emphasis.

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Sports briefs

Tennis tea drops 4th straight match, 5-2 The MSU women's tennis team fell to Indiana 5-2 Saturday in Bloomington, Ind.