Position Breakdown: Offensive Line

Michigan State hits the midway point with weekend. How has the Spartans performed along the offensive line? We break it down.

After going back and looking at the first five games of the season. How has Michigan State looked along the offensive line?

Here is how we see it.

After five games the Spartans offensive line is still a work in progress. Injuries have made for several changes in the first half of the season with players shifting from sides of the ball to sides along the line.

In the Spartans final game before their break the offensive line depth chart looked different than it did in the season opener against Youngstown State.

A concern coming into the season, the offensive line is still a concern going forward as they continue working on finding five guys that gel and work as one.

The running game has been hampered by the overall play and quarterback Kirk Cousins has been hurried a few too many times so far.

Progress has been made; however, much work is needed if the Spartans are to have a successful second half.

We'll start with a look at the five who made starts against Ohio State.

Dan France: All preseason it looked as if France was going to be the starter. However, when the whistle blew against YSU, France was behind senior Jared McGaha. That didn't last long as McGaha suffered an injury and France has started since. Overall fans might have expected too much from a first year starter and a player who moved from the defensive line to offense just last spring. France has shown growth signs each week but has also learned the strength and speed against higher level competition is something he must continue to work on. Speed rushes off the edge have been hard on France and continue work in this area is a must if the Spartans want to protect Cousins.

Joel Foreman: The veteran of the group is playing solid and is trying to help the younger guys on each side of him. This can at times take away from ones game; however, Foreman is playing solid and must keep the group working for one common goal.

Travis Jackson: Only a redshirt freshman, Jackson looked ready to claim the starters spot until injury sidelined him. Blake Treadwell got the start early on until injury sidelined him as well. Jackson is back and playing well for a first year player. Because of injuries Ethan Ruhland and freshman Jack Allen have moved up the depth chart.

Chris McDonald: The other veteran along the line continues to improve each week. The Spartans need for McDonald and Foreman to stay healthy the entire season if the year is to be a successful one.

Fou Fonoti: If not for the injury to Skyler Burkland, Fonoti may be the starting left tackle. The junior college transfer is showing early signs of being one of the top linemen for the Spartans and his continued development is a must. While not the height you may want from a tackle, Fonoti has solid feet and does of good job of exploding out of his stance while keeping his balance.

THE OTHERS

The surprise of the group may be true freshman Jack Allen who has made the travel squad. While the Spartans would love to hold Allen back, injuries could push him into early action.

Micajah Reynolds is back on the offensive side of the ball after a short reprise back to his original spot on defense. Young and still learning, Reynolds is a work in progress and got a few snaps against Ohio State.

Henry Conway is back and looks to be healthy. However, he's missed so much time his development has been slowed. Conway has the physical size you love from a tackle and each week should bring him closer to being a real possibility to push for playing time.

Skyler Burkland showed great promise each week as he continued to get more comfortable at the right tackle position. His loss was huge and will be felt the rest of the season. The future is bright for Burkland once he's fully healed.

Keys: There have been good and bad for the Spartans offensive line so far this season. Injuries have hurt the group as a whole from gelling by the time they headed to Ohio State. If a group of five can stay on the field together the rest of the way out fans should expect better play from the group and better production in the Spartans running attack.

Spartan Digest Grade: C+


Spartan Nation Top Stories