When Michigan State opens up the 2017 season, the Spartans will feature a relatively inexperienced offensive line with Brian Allen being the only returning full-time starter from last year along with a handful of players who saw extended playing time at times in 2016.
But the Spartans are hoping that sophomore Cole Chewins, who excelled in the final three games of last season, can be a stabilizing force this fall as he is slotted to start at left tackle.
Chewins recently spoke with Spartan Nation about the upcoming season and said that he feels his success late in 2016 has helped prepare him for this fall.
“Having the opportunity to get some game reps last year and that game time experience definitely helped me out just with the ability to grow and mature and get used to the speed of the game and the physicality, especially growing up undersized and making the transition to left tackle,” he said. “Just moving forward, I have to continue that growth and continue to try and lead the O-line with Brian and continue to try and make strides and work together as a unit and just grow through the season.”
A tight end at the high school level, the 6-foot-8 Chewins arrived in East Lansing as a walk-on offensive lineman who needed to add both size and strength to his frame in order to successfully make the transition to being a Division 1 offensive lineman.
After finishing the 2016 season weighing 272 pounds, Chewins is now up to 282 pounds.
While it still remains a work in progress, Chewins said that he feels that he’s made great strides when it comes to adding strength and credits strength and conditioning coach Ken Mannie for helping him make that progress.
“I’ve improved a lot, coach Mannie is doing a great job with us in the weight room and getting on us every day and just expecting the best out of us and that’s what we’re giving to him right now” he said. “From a weights standpoint, I’ve been developing a lot and been able to reach a lot of new personal records, but we’ve all been getting stronger as a team.”
With the improvements that Chewins has made, along with his strong showing to finish out the 2016 season, the sophomore has entrenched himself as a starter on the Spartans offensive line heading into 2017.
But Chewins is choosing not to look at his opportunity to start from a personal perspective, but is instead looking at the upcoming season from a team perspective, hoping to see gradual improvement as a team, and more specifically, from what will be a youthful offensive line.
“Mostly, we’re just focusing on us as a team, not as individuals,” he said. “We’re all going to get our individual work in, but we want to do it collectively together, we want to bring guys with us. We want to be working as units, growing as one, not so much focused on being individualistic. Obviously, we want those improvements for yourself and you want to see yourself make strides, but I feel like if we worry about our teammates and growing as a team, those will follow.”
But what can fans and those around the Michigan State program expect from Chewins this fall? The junior hopes they will see a player who has improved in more than one way on and off the field.
“Hopefully, you’ll see a little bit more confidence, little bit bigger – heavier from that standpoint – and just trying to be a vocal leader and to make an impact,” he said.
Remember to stay tuned to Spartan Nation for all of the latest news on Chewins and the Spartans!