Nine practices remain for Michigan State until the annual Green-White game in Spartan Stadium.
Spartan Digest looks at a few key questions the Spartans must answer this spring as Spartan football fans expect another big season out of the Green and White in 2015.
The return of veteran quarterback Connor Cook and backups Tyler O’Connor and Damion Terry mean the Spartans have depth at a key position. However, the loss of two offensive linemen, two quality receivers and power running back Jeremy Langford leave big gaps to fill in the spring.
Can Connor Cook continue his development and take his game even higher?
Cook will continue to be the straw that stirs the Spartans offense after coming off another solid season where he complete 58-percent of his throws for 3,214 yards, 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Keeping teams honest was easy with Jeremy Langford in the backfield so the Spartans will need to fill his spot early and show teams the Spartans “Pound Green Pound” is still alive to keep pressure off of Cook.
Having a fifth-year senior who will enter the season having started the past two seasons is huge for the Spartans with their tough schedule in 2015.
Who steps up to back-up Cook?
The Spartan coaching staff knows what Cook can do on the field under pressure. Last season Tyler O’Connor and Damion Terry each played in five games with both completing only 12 passes each. This spring will be huge for both players to show what they can do and earn the number two spot outright just in Case Cook would go down during the season.
Who steps up and fills the loss of Jeremy Langford?
Going into the spring all eyes were on Delton Williams to be the next top back in the Spartans pounding running attack. However, Williams is suspended indefinitely leaving the Spartans looking at Gerald Holmes and Madre London during the spring. If Williams is not reinstated to the program don’t be surprised if Mark Dantonio looks at L.J. Scott early in fall camp to get in the rotation early.
Can Brian Allen continue his high level of play as a full time starter at left guard?
The Spartans will enjoy having four players along the offensive line returning in 2015 with solid starting experience. The void and battle in the spring is at left guard where sophomore Brian Allen returns after earning Freshman All-American honors last season. Allen, listed at the top of the depth chart will be challenged by junior Benny McGowan.
Who steps up to fill the production void at receiver with the graduation of Tony Lippett?
The Spartans lost 65 receptions and just over 90 yards in receiving per game with Lippett graduating and heading to the NFL. There has been a lot of early spring talk about Monty Madaris finally putting his game together and DeAnthony Arnett looking to finish his Spartan career on a high note. Everyone knows Aaron Burbridge has the talent but he must step forward and prove to Connor Cook he’s ready to be a top target.
No one questions the ability of MacGarrett Kings on special teams and he was solid as a receiver last season. Off the field issues placed the Florida native on the outside looking in for a few days, but no one is sure how long he’ll be in the rotation as Dantonio said during a press conference at the end of March his return could be a temporary one.