Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Sports | Football

FOOTBALL

Returning Smoker, team look to future

The swagger is gone and the expectations went with it.So is his favorite target and his pristine image.As well as the complete coaching staff, his two top running backs and his whole comfort zone.The passing records seem a forgone conclusion, but for MSU quarterback Jeff Smoker, there is so much more to prove.What's real is the nervous twitch of his eye and a no-name receiving corps that could easily let him down.As Smoker addressed reporters for the second time since being reinstated to the football team, he tried to emphasize that he was concentrating only on this week's game.When the Spartans take the field against Western Michigan at 3:40 p.m.

FOOTBALL

Punter injures ankle; will be out one month

The MSU kicking game took a hit Tuesday when senior punter Jason Daily injured his ankle during practice. Daily, the starter last season, lost his job earlier in fall practice to redshirt freshman Brandon Fields.

FOOTBALL

Team captains look to restore leadership

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.

FOOTBALL

Star power gone, offense changes

MSU will look like a very different team on offense this season. Gone are offensive stars, including All-American receiver Charles Rogers and the top two running backs Dawan Moss and David Richard.

FOOTBALL

Spartans revamp defense, want to be aggressive

A new aggressive approach on the defensive side of the ball has the MSU football team puffing up with confidence. Last year, the MSU defense that ranked 83rd overall out of 117 Division I-A teams was hard-pressed to stop the run or sack opposing quarterbacks.

FOOTBALL

Smoker: Great to be back

It used to be a weekly routine for Jeff Smoker - talk football with reporters after practice. But in his first appearance after being reinstated Wednesday as a member of the Spartan football team, the senior signal caller seemed withdrawn and not amused with questions that circled around a substance-abuse problem that led to a suspension last season. Smoker looked so caught up in relief of being back on the squad since October that he headed for the locker room without realizing he had left behind his helmet. Nevertheless, Smoker remained willing to reprove himself and handle the attention of being a quarterback. "I learned to just move on and realized that I was responsible for things that happened last year," Smoker said.

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.

FOOTBALL

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.

FOOTBALL

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.

FOOTBALL

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.

FOOTBALL

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.