As the search for more production continues, the return game is a focus for Michigan State.
Sophomore wide receiver MacGarrett Kings, who was a prolific return man in high school, is being called upon to provide the Spartans with a burst.
Special teams coach Mike Tressel said he thinks Kings can provide explosiveness in the return roles.
"I really do think he can, his maturity level and his focus every single play is what we've been working on and I think it's where we want it to be right now," Tressel said Wednesday. "He's explosive, no doubt about it, he's quick twitch, he's fearless and he now understands that every play, especially on special teams when you're talking about 40, 50 yards of field position every time, every one is critical and you better be locked in every time."
With Nick Hill struggling in the kick return role and Andre Sims having two fumbles on punt return, Kings is getting more looks and Tressel said his trust level with Kings has been growing in practice of late.
"You can see it in his eyes and in his feet that every one of these reps is important," he said. "He's not out there throwing his hands up to catch the ball. He's camping underneath it, getting quiet feet as we say, catching the ball high, doing the technically important things even in warmups to show us, you can count on me every time."
Tressel said with trust comes the opportunity to show explosiveness in games, something the Spartans will look for in a tough game Saturday.
"If you can make big plays anywhere to change field position," he said, "especially in a game like Michigan State-Iowa that is so smashmouth, if you can find ways to get yards before you even put your offense on the field, it's huge."
Kings has returned two punts this season for 21 yards and one kick for 16 yards.
Bullough, Williams still at running back
He also said there hasn't been a lot of talk about moving the pair to linebacker.
"I think either of those guys could be great linebackers in the long run and I'd love to get my hands on them," he said, "but certainly, there's no doubt when you're in this program it's always do what's best for your team."