MSU offense changes perception, grows

Spartans look a lot different than in September, when doubts were plenty from the media, public. Players and coaches talk about the growth and the change of attitude now the season is deeper.

As Michigan State faced questions on its offense early in the season, much of the public perception was, simply put, "the offense stinks."

The thoughts in the offensive coaches meeting room wasn't much different.

"We were saying the same thing," quarterbacks coach Brad Salem said. "The offense stinks and we've gotta get this stuff squared away. Who is it? At the time it was who is quarterback and who is our best running back and who are the five receivers in rotation."

Barely six weeks later, it seems like an eternity for the Spartans after spending the first month figuring things out.

Sophomore quarterback Connor Cook, who emerged as the starter late in September, said it's nice to have the questions behind them.

"It is nice, but I think early on it didn't really effect us that much," he said. "It just made us hungrier. When you have people doubting you and you have people criticizing you, it just makes you want to work harder. I think we found our identity as an offense and we just continue to get better each and every week."

Salem said it was the first game in October, when the Spartans traveled to Iowa, that things started to click for the offense.

"Iowa was the first time we really made some big plays," he said. "Macgarrett (Kings) stepped up as a young receiver and some guys started to and part of that is where the belief happened."

The belief and the winning ways on the field didn't come as a surprise to Mark Dantonio, however, who said he is more surprised his team didn't win more last season.

"I remember sitting here at one point in time saying when we come out of it, our offense is going to flourish," Dantonio said. "Our guys are catching the football. You watch (Jeremy) Langford running with the football, you have to step back and say that was an impressive performance by so and so or so and so in certain games. If you look at those aspects, you can say we've grown."

"Nothing ever stays the same. I guess I'm not really trying to disrespect the media, but the media pains a very bleak picture in September, starts to say in October maybe, now they're painting a very positive picture."

Whatever picture was handed to the public, the belief in potential remained inside the football building, as junior center Travis Jackson said.

"We struggled at first, especially as an offense, but we knew the potential that we had and that we had the talent and just had to bring it together," Jackson said. "The coaches have done a great job of sticking with us and having faith in us."

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