Injuries continue to make Michigan State’s depth-chart a list of “What Ifs” as the Spartans get ready to head to Rutgers for their second Big Ten Conference match-up of the season.
Here is a look at the changes and the “What Ifs” from this week’s depth-chart release.
No other area of the Spartans football program has been hit harder with injuries than the offensive line. Since week two the loss of Kodi Kieler has seen several dominos fall as the Spartans have lost Jack Conklin and Dennis Finley.
Finley is out for the season after multiple breaks in his leg but Conklin and Kieler are players expected to make returns this season. The question is when the pair will return with many feeling it’s just a matter of time.
For Rutgers the Spartans list both Conklin and Kieler as “OR” for right and left tackle. Right now we have a feeling both players will continue to stay on the sidelines with a more possible return coming against Michigan.
With the loss of Finley the Spartans have been forced to move center Jack Allen out to left tackle and he’s listed as a possible starter at both left tackle and center. At right tackle Donavon Clark is listed as the starter as Benny McGowan continues to be listed as the starter at right guard. If Jack Allen is forced to play left tackle, than Brian Allen will move from his starting left guard spot to center with redshirt freshman David Beedle in position to get his first career start at left guard.
Dantonio said the following Tuesday about his restructured offensive.
"John asked me, okay, give me your offensive line depth and there's just so many different ways we can go with that," said Dantonio. "I just said list it like this.
"But that's a positive as well because we have probably one, two, probably three guys that can play multiple positions across the offensive line and they have experience doing it.
"So we'll see how this week shakes out in terms of who is playing the best and who should play what position. And then we'll make that decision probably Friday night, announce it Saturday at game time."
Josiah Price got banged up against Central Michigan and missed the Purdue game. Will Price be back against Rutgers? He could be, but again, it might be best to rest him for next week and Michigan. If Price can’t go Jamal Lyles or Paul Lang will step up like they did this past weekend.
Much like the Spartans offensive line the secondary has also been hit with the loss of Vayante Copeland and now R.J. Williamson causing major changes across the entire secondary. Darian Hicks will continue at left corner as will Arjen Colquhoun at right corner. Demetrious Cox is now listed as a full time safety and Montae Nicholson despite his struggles must return at the other safety spot. It will be interesting to watch what young player take steps forward and push the veterans as Josh Butler, Grayson Miller and Khari Willis are all showing signs of getting more playing time.
As for the secondary, Dantonio was asked Tuesday if he's getting nervous with so many young guys being in key roles early in their careers.
"Josh Butler has performed very well," he said. "We've not taken the redshirt off of him yet. But he's probably right there trying to hold it. We'll see what happens. But he's played very well in practice, and I think he's a good player.
"We've played Khari Willis on special teams and then he also played the entire second half, I think, of the Central Michigan game at our nickel back. And he's a very good tackler, good ball skills. He's a quick, explosive type guy.
"And Grayson Miller is another guy that played this past week. He's been playing in special teams for probably three weeks.
"Both of those guys have been working at the No. 2 position, really No. 3 and 5, I guess, or I guess 4 and 5, the fourth safety, the fifth safety, probably since the start of the season. So they're good players. Very good -- good ball skills. They can run. They're explosive. They tackle well. What they don't have is game experience. The only way you get that is by playing."
|Michigan State (Oct. 6) Rutgers Depth Chart - 2015|
|X-WR||AARON BURBRIDGE||AJ TROUP (OR)||FELTON DAVIS|
|TE||JOSIAH PRICE (OR)||JAMAL LYLES (OR)||PAUL LANG||DYLAN CHMURA|
|LT||JACK ALLEN (OR)||JACK CONKLIN|
|LG||BRIAN ALLEN (OR)||DAVID BEEDLE||CHASE GIANACAKOS|
|C||JACK ALLEN (OR)||BRIAN ALLEN|
|RG||BENNY MCGOWAN (OR)||DONAVON CLARK||BRANDON CLEMONS|
|RT||DONAVON CLARK (OR)||KODI KIELER||MIGUEL MACHADO||NICK PADLA|
|Z-WR||MACGARRETT KINGS JR||MONTY MADARIS|
|QB||CONNOR COOK||TYLER O'CONNOR||DAMION TERRY|
|FB||TREVON PENDLETON||MATT SOKOL|
|TB||MADRE LONDON (OR)||LJ SCOTT||GERALD HOLMES||DELTON WILLIAMS|
|DE||SHILIQUE CALHOUN||DEMETRIUS COOPER|
|DT||JOEL HEATH||CRAIG EVANS||GERALD OWENS|
|NT||MALIK MCDOWELL||DAMON KNOX||ENOCH SMITH JR.|
|DE||LAWRENCE THOMAS||EVAN JONES|
|STAR||DARIEN HARRIS||ANDREW DOWELL|
|MIKE||RILEY BULLOUGH||SHANE JONES||BYRON BULLOUGH|
|SAM||JON RESCHKE||CHRIS FREY|
|LC||DARIAN HICKS||JOSH BUTLER|
|SAF||DEMETRIOUS COX||GRAYSON MILLER||JALEN WATTS-JACKSON|
|FAF||MONTAE NICHOLSON||KHARI WILLIS||MATT MORRISSEY|
|RC||ARJEN COLQUHOUN||JERMAINE EDMONDSON||DAVID DOWELL|
|SPARTANS SPECIAL TEAMS|
|PK||MICHAEL GEIGER||KEVIN CRONIN|
|P||JAKE HARTBARGER||TYLER O'CONNOR|
|HLD||MATT MACKSOOD||CONNOR COOK|
|PR||MACGARRETT KINGS JR.||R.J. SHELTON|
|KR||R.J. SHELTON||KHARI WILLIS||LJ SCOTT|
|SN||TAYBOR PEPPER||DYLAN CHMURA|