Fall Camp Primer: Defense/Special Teams

In the second part of the Fall Camp Primer, we look at the questions facing the Michigan State defense and special teams heading into the camp season.

The Michigan State defense has few questions marks, but some things to talk about that are worthy of attention as fall camp opens Saturday for the Spartans. Special teams, however, does have a prevailing storyline: Who will be the starting kicker when the Western Michigan game arrives? We look at five questions about the MSU defense/special teams:

Will Taiwan Jones and Jairus Jones split time?

Possibly the most interesting part of the depth chart was the pair of Joneses being co-starters. Taiwan Jones seemed to make it known that he was the future at the STAR linebacker spot, taking time from senior Chris Norman last year. Now, Jairus Jones has moved up from safety to linebacker. Will it be a platoon or a specific split? It's possible Taiwan Jones will play on first and second downs, while Jairus Jones comes in for more pass-heavy situations on third downs.

Is Trae Waynes the starter opposite Darqueze Dennard?

Waynes looks to have made himself the starter at corner after a good showing in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, but has a group of players right behind him who want to see the field. Specifically, redshirt freshmen Ezra Robinson and Jermaine Edmondson figure to be in the mix for snaps this season. Both players showed well in the spring and on the scout team last year. Dennard said at Big Ten Media Days that he has confidence in all of them.

Where will Demetrious Cox factor into the defense?

Cox was tough to keep off the field as a true freshman, as was well documented. He is expected to back up Kurtis Drummond at safety, but figures to play at nickleback, too. He is too athletic to keep off the field this year after a year in the system at MSU.

How ready are Shane Jones and Jon Reschke to see the field?

It is understood that at least one, if not both, will play this fall in preparation for bigger roles next year with the loss of a large chunk of the linebacker corps. Reschke is thought of as the heir apparent to Max Bullough, while Jones also could fill that role, but might be more suited for an outside spot at the STAR or SAM. Either way, these two freshmen are ones to watch because they are expected to play.

Who wins the starting kicker spot?

Kevin Cronin set himself apart in the spring from senior Kevin Muma, who figures to hold the kickoff duties again. Incoming freshman Michael Geiger has every chance to come in and claim the spot as his own. Head coach Mark Dantonio said at Big Ten Media Days that they need to find a way to put Geiger in pressure situations. If he performs well, he could be the guy.


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