With back-to-back top five rankings, Michigan State enters 2015 as a team to watch. However, there could be a few potholes in the Spartans path as they look to win a Big Ten title and earn a spot in the college football playoffs.
Entering the season there is no question Connor Cook is the leader of the offense as he prepares to be the Spartans starting signal caller for a third consecutive year. However, that does not mean the Spartans don’t have questions at the position.
NO QUESTION COOK NO. 1
Coming off a 3,214 yard, 24 touchdown season a year ago has Connor Cook as one of the main reasons many feel the Spartans can battle for a Big Ten title and playoff berth in 2015. The Ohio native should be expected to post another solid season coming off the best season of his career with an increase of 459 passing yards on less attempts and completions from the previous season. However, he did throw two more interceptions in 2014 and that always has a fan base worried especially when a senior quarterback throws two interceptions in the first jersey scrimmage of the spring.
OTHERS TO WATCH AND WHY
Tyler O’Connor – Junior
The Ohio native saw limited action in five games a year ago and three during the 2013 season giving him a hand-up as Cook’s back-up for 2015. While many thought O’Connor would be passed up on the depth chart by now, he continues to show why the Spartans went after the Elite 11 Quarterback. Can O’Connor run the Spartans offense and guide the team to big wins if something would happen to Cook? Or will he be passed up on the depth chart by the time the season starts?
Damion Terry – Sophomore
Since arriving on campus from Pennsylvania, Terry has been a player fans and the media have penciled in as the next starting quarterback when Cook graduates. Some even thought Terry could push for a starting job by now with the skill set he showed coming out of Cathedral Prep. Instead, he’s fighting for the back-up spot having saw action in five games last season. However, a solid showing in the first jersey scrimmage of the spring where he was 8-of-9 for 117 yards and two touchdowns has some thinking Terry is ready to step forward to claim the back-up spot now. Could Terry run the Spartans offense and guild the team to big wins if something would happen to Cook? Several think he very well could making him the most watched quarterback this spring.
THE GOOD AND THE BAD
The good is everyone knows Cook is a proven winner and capable of coming up with a big play when needed most.
The bad is Cook can also throw an interception when the Spartans can least afford it giving fans minor heart attacks in the process.
The other good is that Damion Terry continues to show great growth and Tyler O’Connor continues to fight to get his shot.
The bad is neither Terry or O’Connor have really proven they can get the job done on a fulltime basis when all eyes are watching and a pressure throw is needed to be made.
The loss of Cook could cause a major ripple in the Spartans offense and despite any shortcomings; Cook has earned his place in Spartan lore with major program wins the past two seasons. So Cook must stay healthy as O’Connor or Terry continues to grow their game and get ready to battle it out next spring for the starting job in 2016. Incoming signal caller Brian Lewerke is highly thought of by the Spartans coaching staff but will not be ready to provide anything in 2015.
COOK TALKS START OF SPRING BALL