Michigan State had the luxury of a rotation of eight offensive linemen throughout the 2013 season.
Thus far this season, the Spartans have played just six in a consistent rotation, but that number figures to grow in the coming weeks.
”There are some guys really close to getting time on the field and I think you will see that as the season progresses,” senior Travis Jackson said. “You’ve got Benny McGowan, you’ve got Brandon Clemons who is playing a little offense for us.
”Mixing those guys in and getting Connor Kruse back soon. We will be pretty deep.”
Kruse is expected back in time for the Spartans’ Sept. 27 game against Wyoming, providing a strong presence as a leader and versatile player up front. Beyond Kruse, the boost that either Clemons or McGowan brings could be big moving forward.
Offensive line coach Mark Staten said the battle between which would be the first in between the pair is very close and called it a coin flip.
”Clemons, being with us a little bit during the bowl practice and then truly since the end of camp so he has less experience, but I’m truly pleased with his progression,” Staten said.
As for the sophomore McGowan, Staten said he took a step back after playing well in the spring and has been working to get back to the level at which he could see more playing time.
”He came back from the summer and he’ll tell you if you ask him, he wasn’t where he was when he left spring,” Staten said. “The big thing, he, knock on wood – I’m not gonna compliment him too much, he says when I compliment him that it can become a catastrophe – but he’s had a real good couple weeks. So we’ll hopefully see some progression out of him.”
The Spartans current sixth man on the offensive line is freshman Brian Allen. Another possibility is junior college transfer Miguel Machado, but Staten said he hopes they can keep the redshirt on Machado.