Quarterback competition not down to two - yet

Redshirt freshman O'Conner throws two touchdowns in scrimmage Saturday, keeps name in the race for playing time at quarterback.

Entering fall camp at Michigan State, three names were the focus of Spartans fans at quarterback: The two with experience in Andrew Maxwell and Connor Cook, as well as highly regarded freshman Damion Terry.

Redshirt freshman Tyler O'Connor might have been a bit forgotten, for whatever reason.

That hasn't stopped him from competing for playing time, whether it be as the starter or backup in 2013.

"Obviously, everyone wants to be it and I'm going to do my best to compete and everything," he said. "Whether it goes into the season or not, it's really up to the coaches and it's truly how we play in camp. I feel like I'm right there. I really do."

O'Connor had a chance to show what he can do in the first fall scrimmage Saturday. He went 7 of 9 for 74 yards and two touchdowns -- one against the first team and one against the second.

Head coach Mark Dantonio said he did some good things, but still has things to clean up.

"I think Tyler, again, he started the scrimmage very fast," head coach Mark Dantonio said. "He did very well the first part of the scrimmage, but then he had an error, a couple errors and a couple of the things that are still redshirt freshman type errors, whether it's play calling or taking control. He can make plays, he's got a strong arm, he's got good running ability down the field, so there are a lot of positives."

O'Connor spent last season on the scout team, so for him, this fall is his second time fully running through the MSU offense. He said where he is now compared to last year is drastically different.

"I feel like it's night and day compared to last year," he said. "Even in the spring, just how comfortable I feel amongst all the other guys and their trust in me and my command in the huddle. I feel like it's much better and much more improved than where it was."

O'Connor also said he has work to do on the little things and need to work on his consistency.

"Same thing that happened in the spring, I need to be more consistent with everything," O'Connor said. "It's those one negative plays that can ruin a game, so I gotta get rid of those and I feel like if I do, I could be the starter."

He does bring a little bit of a different look to the table compared to Andrew Maxwell and Connor Cook, given his experience with the read option. Co-offensive coordinator Jim Bollman said the Spartans know the time is coming where they have to cut down the competition to two, but that time isn't set.

"Eventually we will have to (cut it down)," Bollman said. "I don't know how much longer. We haven't set a timetable on that yet."


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