Salem: "We've got all four guys"

Coach says addition of Terry to competition doesn't have to complicate things and can be a good thing.

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio said before Monday's practice that Saturday's scrimmage had created a "four-horse race" at quarterback.

Quarterbacks coach Brad Salem affirmed following practice that there isn't a definitive depth chart for the quarterbacks at this time.

"Coach (Dantonio) has kind of said it's a four-man race, so we are just trying to create competition and elevate other guys and get them ready to go," Salem said. "Where it stands right now, we are kind of saying we have to figure it. We've got all four guys, willing and able."

All four quarterbacks were very much in the mix of getting reps at Monday's practice, Salem said.

"We juggled (Monday) and we kind of jumped them all in and out of all the huddles," he said. "We just went ones and twos, but a lot of live stuff, which is good because I think, how can we replicate, simulate a gameday with noise? You're trying to create it. A couple guys you know, they've played. The other guys don't. So you're just trying to make as much realistic as you can in practice."

The two that haven't played, redshirt freshman Tyler O'Connor and freshman Damion Terry, appear to have been the two big gainers in fall camp – a claim that Salem said is fair.

"I would say Terry because you gotta see him," Salem said. "We really didn't know until Saturday. I think Tyler has done a nice job of just a really steady incline. Everyday he just kind of brings something to the table, he's made plays and he's throwing the ball well."

Salem said Terry has progressed "miles" and now has a calmness as he has moved through fall camp, allowing him to show his true skills in the scrimmage.

"It's stuff we knew he could do that you saw in high school, we just haven't had a chance to see it here yet," Salem said. "It was really the comfort level of just offense and just throwing it in there and letting them go. He did a really nice job. He is, you would characterize as maybe, an athletic quarterback, but very accurate with the football. He made some throws and stuck them in there and put them whether it's on the playside shoulder or the back hip, those kind of things. Also the ability with his feet, and like Coach (Dantonio) says, a guy that has the ability to create some things and did some nice things moving out of the pocket and throwing downfield."

Terry threw for 240 yards and three touchdowns on 10 of 14 passing in the scrimmage Saturday, while running for 40 yards on 12 attempts.

"Damion, he did great," running back Riley Bullough said. "He had a great scrimmage. You guys probably saw the numbers. He is a guy who comes in the huddle – he is young as a freshman, obviously – but he commands stuff like a senior would and that's great to see. Obviously, he has got a ton of skill. You can see what he did in the scrimmage. Big things are coming for him, I think."

While big things might be coming for Terry, will it be this year? Salem noted the Spartans have done it that way in the past, but still will play the best player.

"That's been kind of coach's mantra, so we need to do that," he said. "If a redshirt is the situation, it is. If it isn't, then sometimes maybe you play it out a couple games. Who knows."

For now, this much is known: A fourth player added his name to the already crowded quarterback competition this weekend. While that might seem to complicate matters, Salem said it depends on perspective.

"Depends on how you look at it," he said. "I think you've got a young guy that did well. It complicates things in the sense of who gets reps. At some point, we need to define it. We met again this morning with all of them and we gotta define it at some point, one or two guys are going to get a majority of the reps and that's sort of what you have to do because that is best for the team."

As for when that definition will come, Salem said that rests out of his control.

"It's when Coach Dantonio wants to get that done," he said.


Spartan Nation Top Stories