SD Breakdown QB

Spring practice is now finished and while everyone knows what to expect out of Kirk Cousins, there are still unanswered questions that we look at in this breakdown of the quarterback position.

The 2010 season was Kirk Cousins to prove he was one of the top quarterbacks in the Big Ten Conference. As the leader of the Co-Big Ten Champions, Cousins proved he belonged in the talk about being at the top of his game.

Nevertheless, there are still areas Cousins will have to work on if 2011 is to match his overall production of just a year ago.

There are no questions Cousins is the heart and soul of the Spartans offense and his leadership alone is good for a win or two. Last season Kirk went from capable quarterback looking over his shoulder to one who believed in his abilities and the production showed on the field.

The Michigan State Spartans will go as well as Cousins goes and that is where the most concern must come from the position.

At backup is sophomore Andrew Maxwell who appeared in five games last season showing signs of starting to pick things up. Now, Maxwell must be ready as he could be called upon at any moment to lead the Spartans offensive attack.

What did we learn about Maxwell this spring?

The first thing is he is now physically bigger and stronger and looks as if he could take a hit or two in the heat of battle. We also saw Maxwell improve upon his arm strength and overall understanding of his role in the Spartans offensive attack.

Andrew must get a better feel of when to release the ball and reduced the number of passes thrown behind, or over the head of his receivers.

Despite an average spring game, the overall spring performance of Maxwell is promising and he must be ready to be the starter.

Just in case Maxwell would falter, Mark Dantonio could look to pull Keith Nichol back into the quarterback fold.

The future at quarterback is expected to be handed over to Maxwell following this season. Newcomer Connor Cook must hit the film room hard once he arrives on campus and be ready to battle next spring to become a solid backup. Recruiting a top quarterback in the 2012 class is also very important for the overall health of the program.

Spring Grade: A

Future Outlook: Depth is a concern that must be addressed with the education and practice production of Cook and who signs in the Class of 2012.

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