Spartans Defense Flexes Muscles

To no one's surprise Michigan State's defense shinned during the Spartans first scrimmage of the spring. Should this be a concern to Spartan fans? Go inside for a more in-depth look at what transpired on Saturday.

Posting 104 total plays during the first jersey scrimmage of the spring gave Michigan State coaches a chance to see how their charges are picking things up this spring.

To no one's surprise the Spartans defense flexed its muscle posting a 72-32 victory using a modified scoring system.

Over the many years of following Mark Dantonio coached teams the use of jersey scrimmages have provided coaches a chance to keep players working hard for future success.

While the defense shinned on Saturday, do not be surprised if the offense rebounds the next time the two groups do battle prior to the annual Green-White game at the end of the month.

Behind a five tackle, two sack performance by William Gholston, Pat Narduzzi used the talent that made Michigan State the top defense in the Big Ten a season ago to do major damage to the Spartans offense.

Dantonio didn't shy away from praising his defense following the day's work.

"Defensively, we played very well last year and I think we picked up where we left off," said Dantonio. "We applied pressure to the quarterback, stopped the run, and came away with turnovers. When those things happen, it's tough to lose a scrimmage. From an offensive standpoint, we made some plays, but consistently, you can't turn the ball over. The defensive was impressive."

Leading the way for the Spartans on offense were quarterbacks Andrew Maxwell and Connor Cook.

Maxwell, the heir apparent to Kirk Cousins would throw for a score but finished going 6-of-11 for 57 yards and two interceptions.

Cook, in his first pressure snaps since arriving on campus last fall would also throw an interception but go 9-of-14 for 76 yards on the day against the pressure applied by the defense.

Both quarterbacks found the ball hawking Spartans defense backfield ready for the challenge as Isaiah Lewis to his pick 33-yards and senior Johnny Adams pulled down the other two picks including the final play of the scrimmage that he ran back for a 41-yard touchdown.

Other standouts during the day included Tyquan Hammock who posted a team high nine tackles on the day and Joel Heath who posted two sacks including one for a safety.

Dantonio stressed the importance of players like Heath having big springs.

"Joel Heath is a very good player," said Dantonio. "He's really a carbon copy of Gholston when you look at him size wise (Heath: 6-6, 277 pounds)...It's important for our young guys to continue to improve because it's their first opportunity this spring. There's a lot of football they have to play before they get ready for a season next year. So it's important we continue to press that issue."

The Spartans have five more practices until their spring game and will hold another jersey scrimmage on Friday where it will be expected to see the offense post more of a battle.


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