Offensive Line Coach: Mark Staten (6 seasons) The second year with Staten as offensive line coach was a major test as the loss of key players early in the season made for major changes along the line as a whole. Staten rallied the group before the season was done and will have a lot of talent returning in 2013 to form a solid core group with some quality backups.
Leaving The Program
The loss of offensive guard Chris McDonald is a major blow to the program as the fifth-year senior leaves the program as a three year starter. Ethan Ruhland was a back-up player who got his share of snaps this season as a back-up at center and guard.
When the Spartans get together in the spring Mark Staten will have to first find a replacement for the departed McDonald. However, the biggest question will be how he will align the returning members of the line.
With the announcement Fou Fonoti would return for another year after missing all but two games this past season the Spartans received a major boost along the offensive line that will allow Coach Staten to move some parts around. Will Fonoti stay at tackle or does he see a move to guard will be a giant question as to how the Spartans offensive line will shape up. The return of injured center Travis Jackson will allow the Spartans to move Jack Allen back to guard where he'll face competition from younger players.
Spartan Digest Take
Some have thought right tackle Skyler Burkland would be a better fit at left tackle. However, Burkland has fought his own injury issues and got off to a slow start this past season. With the return of Fonoti a move to guard could be seen by either player. Also the development of Donavon Clark could push other moves. The Spartans will enter the spring with seven players who have started at least one game allowing for Staten to move some guys around and experiment for the best five to make up the core group heading into camp for the 2013 season. While inexperience will be a factor behind the first seven we feel a couple of players will push those ahead of them and keep the starters from getting too comfortable.