Sue Smoker insists its her humble son, not a cocky Big Ten quarterback, who telephones home periodically just like any other college freshman.But, as the mother of a talented football player, Smoker realizes her son Jeff isnt living the normal college experience.Jeff will say, Mom, its not normal to have to turn your phone off, or to have 70 e-mail messages every day, Sue Smoker said from the familys Manheim, Pa.
When MSU and Michigan compete in womens volleyball, its about more than wins and losses - its about pride.To be specific, its about the State Pride Flag that goes to the winner of head-to-head play each year.The tradition started in 1990 when the flag was awarded to U-M.
If mens head basketball coach Tom Izzo was happy to hear verbal commitments from three recruits - among them one of the most highly-touted players in the nation, Kelvin Torbert - then today should be Christmas in November.Flint Northern shooting guard Torbert, Minneapolis guard/forward Alan Anderson and Indianapolis shooting guard Chris Hill are all expected to sign letters of intent today to play for the Spartans next fall.Torbert will be MSUs newest Flintstone, following the heels of former players Antonio Smith, Mateen Cleaves, Morris Peterson and senior guard Charlie Bell.
In such dire times where MSU has had to deal with losing more often than winning, its good to know coach Bobby Williams still has a sense of humor.He showed it at his Monday press conference when asked how hell simulate the Purdue offense this week in practice.Well put in 10 receivers, run them all out there and just have the quarterback stand back there and throw it because thats basically what its like, he said.
Ziehl Kavanaghts teammates call him Frenchie.Mike Labinjo misses his favorite ketchup chips.And Luc Mullinder doesnt get to eat West Indian food anymore.These are just some of the transitions three Canadian natives on MSUs football team deal with in a foreign country.Kavanaght, a Brossard, Quebec native, has had the toughest transition because of the language barrier.
The names are synonymous with winning. James Buddha Edwards, Vinny The Microwave Johnson, Dennis The Worm Rodman, John Spider Salley, Isaiah Zeke Thomas, Bill Lambo Laimbeer, Rick Bad Boy Mahorn and of course, Joe Duuuuuuuuumars.Rodman smothering opponents with clutch defense, Laimbeer exchanging pleasantries with the referees after controversial calls, Rick Mahorn banging opponents to the ground with his hefty posterior - those were the good ol days.
The MSU volleyball team continues to struggle in the Big Ten.The No. 22 Spartans split their weekend matches, losing to Illinois (6-15, 15-4, 12-15, 15-1, 12-15) on Friday, then rebounding to beat Purdue (15-6, 10-15, 15-5, 15-6) on Saturday.Through 14 Big Ten games the Spartans (14-9, 7-7 Big Ten) are still in sixth place.
COLUMBUS, Ohio - For all the success hes had this season, Jeff Smoker is only a freshman and his youth showed against Ohio State.After MSU (4-5 overall, 1-5 Big Ten) jumped ahead 13-3 in the first quarter, the Buckeyes (7-2, 4-2) began blitzing the first-year quarterback from Manheim, Pa., disrupting Smoker and the MSU offense en route to a 27-13 defeat of the Spartans.They didnt blitz too much early, Smoker said.
COLUMBUS, Ohio - For the first quarter Saturday, the Spartans put their scoring woes behind them. MSU scored touchdowns on its first two drives of the game, and were dominating the line of scrimmage to the tune of 115 total yards and a 13-3 advantage after 15 minutes of play.Then, as has been the theme all season, the Spartans (4-5 overall, 1-5 Big Ten) succumbed to mistake-laden football, resulting in a 27-13 loss to Ohio State (7-2, 4-2).MSU was clinging to a 10-point lead when senior safety Richard Newsome intercepted Buckeye quarterback Steve Bellisaris pass at Ohio States 34-yard line with 11:18 remaining in the second quarter.
Sometimes sports fans get so wrapped up in the glitz and glamour of big time college athletics they forget intercollegiate athletics is more than just entertainment - it is a tool used to shape athletes as people.The core of this process can be seen more clearly when looking at athletes like MSU senior forward Steve Williford, who plays soccer - a nonrevenue sport where the media does not cake-on layers of hype.I think I learned the most in life through soccer, Williford said.
With nicknames like Energizer bunny and Rudy its obvious freshman outside hitter Jenny Rood and the rest of the freshmen bring something extra to the court when the MSU volleyball team plays.MSU head coach Chuck Erbe said the freshmen are more expressive on the court and thats something the Spartans have been missing the last few years.I think the freshmen are much more emotional in terms of how they express their passion for the game, he said.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The MSU womens soccer team fell 3-1 to Illinois on Thursday in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament.The fourth-seeded Spartans only managed to score one second-half goal while giving up three second-half goals to the fifth-seeded Fighting Illini.