Shabaj dropped three very catchable balls and seemed completely out of sorts all afternoon. Knott was demoted due to poor blocking, especially on a couple of key blocks on running plays. He was replaced by Jason Randall, a powerful run blocker who helped spring the run game, led by freshman Jehuu Caulcrick late in the second half.
Both players were expected to be among the leaders of the Spartans receiving corps but instead has been generally disappointing.
Spared from a demotion was running back Jason Teague, who allowed Notre Dame safety Tom Zbikowski to take the ball out of this hands, halting a Spartan scoring drive in the red zone. Zbikowski then ran 75-yards in the other direction for a Notre Dame score. That play changed the entire complexion of the ball game and MSU never recovered.
Practices off limits An irate coach John L. Smith closed practices today to the media after details of parts of a practice session was published on the internet.
It is generally accepted among most media outlets, including theInsiders.com, that proprietary portions of team practice not be disclosed. That apparently was violated by an unnamed media outlet causing Smith to react by closing sessions today.
No word has been available on whether reporters will be allowed back in after this week's sessions.
Injury Update Quarterback Drew Stanton is expected to start this Saturday's road contest against Indiana after a strong showing in last week's loss to Notre Dame. Stanton needs to take better care of the ball after a critical fumble late in the ball game that took away MSU's final chance of mounting a rally.
His surgically repaired knee appears to be responding well after getting a good test against Notre Dame.
Defensive tackle Brandon McKinney is expected to be active despite having a procedure to loosen a screw in his foot. The screw was surfacing just under the skin of McKinney's foot. It was backed out and his foot was re-stitched. He is expected to practice prior to Saturday's contest.