Dantonio credits Samuel for play of WRs

Coach says wide receivers becoming a strength for Spartans after a rough 2012 season.

Under heavy pressure following a rough 2012 season, the Michigan State wide receivers entered 2013 with a lot of talk of knowing the offense and just needing to make plays.

Lately, that is exactly what the group has been doing and coach Mark Dantonio said a lot of the credit has to go to wide receivers coach Terrence Samuel.

"He's stayed with them, been patient with them and continues to work them and work on the little things," Dantonio said. "They've always had ability. I've said it over and over. You come to our practices and you watch these guys and you see big-time ability, but needed to transition it to doing it at game time and they've done that. …

"I think Terrence has been very patient and very fair with our players in the process."

The emergence started with sophomore MacGarrett Kings early in the season and soon spread to junior Tony Lippett and senior Bennie Fowler.

Lippett's play has been so strong of late that sophomore Aaron Burbridge – who was injured for a time – hasn't cracked the line-up since being healthy.

Dantonio also said Burbridge needed to raise his level of play, which falls as a credit to the play of players like Lippett.

"He's healthy," Dantonio said. "I think he question is how is playing relative to everybody else. That's something that he has to rediscover a little bit and he will. He will compete. He just has to raise his level of play. Last week, he was healthy for the first time in probably three weeks. …

"He will add another piece to what's really becoming a strength on our football team."

Led by Fowler's five touchdowns, the receivers already have 11 touchdowns after having just nine last year.

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