Jones "a No. 1" but is he the No.1?

Spartans senior linebacker tops the depth chart at middle linebacker still, but will he stay there as the search for Max Bullough's heir is not complete just yet

One of the most pressing questions for Michigan State following last season still remains – in part, at least.

The search for Max Bullough’s heir got under way as Taiwan Jones moved to the middle linebacker spot after spending his first three seasons on the outside.

While Jones still tops the depth chart at the MIKE spot, it is not entirely settled yet.

“I think he a No. 1 linebacker, but we are going to find that out,” coach Mark Dantonio said.

The move for Jones came this spring as a mutual choice between himself and the coaches. Still, the Spartans have options at the position other than Jones, who could just as easily move back to the STAR spot, which he occupied for the past few seasons.

“I think Darien Harris could flop in there, I think Riley Bullough could flop in there,” Dantonio said. “I think Jon Reschke is a guy that has ability but he is coming off his redshirt year.

”We’ve got players at that position. It’s just a matter of who takes control of it.”

There is no doubt for Dantonio that Jones has put forth the effort to be the guy in the middle for the Spartans as he reeled off numbers and abilities he brings. But in replacing the “coach on the field” that Bullough was more is needed than the physical attributes.

“Max Bullough is a great football player, but Max was so important and valuable because he got people lined up and could adjust,” Dantonio said. “In this game today, football today, it is so much – especially with all the one-back sets and no huddle offenses – it is so much about adjustments. One foot here and one foot there makes all the difference. Changing the defensive call based on different scenarios, that has so much to do with it.”

And the Spartans will find out in the coming weeks if Jones can fully stake his claim to the spot.

“He has three years of starting experience, but it’s different inside,” he said. “We have to make sure he plays on habit – he has knowledge, but he plays on habit.

”We are going to find that out in August and in September.”


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