Baldwin talks about offensive expectations

MSU offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin liked what he saw from the MSU offense - with one or two exceptions, in last week's first of two scrimmages.

EAST LANSING - MSU offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin liked what he saw from the MSU offense - with one or two exceptions, in last week's first of two scrimmages.

What's not to like?

With a Heisman candidate returning at quarterback, a blossoming star sophomore at running back and a go-to receiver make his offense sing. But Baldwin warned that their are pitfalls that the State offense must not fall into.

"I was disappointed in our first series, we dropped two balls right off the bat, but Drew was right on the target. If we're going to move the football we have to catch the football," the coach rightly pointed out. "After that series with Drew and the 'ones'(first team offense) we played really well. He moved us down on a 99-yard drive and then we went down again."

Baldwin knows that MSU's offense has no worries as long as senior Drew Stanton remains healthy, but part of the focus this spring has been to see who emerges as the backup and it haS been no contest to this point. Brian Hoyer has clearly distinguished himself over redshirt freshman Domenic Natale.

"As far as the number 'twos', I think we're swimming a little bit with Domenic Natale," admitted Baldwin.

"I think there's so much going on at a faster pace - it's the first time we've had the quarterbacks 'live' - that you start to think of other things. But I thought he came on later and played well," he explained.

Baldwin said that Hoyer has taken a leap this spring. "I thought Brian Hoyer played really well, showed some poise."

Poise was one of the things Hoyer appeared to lack in limited time last season. While he played well in stretches, he appeared to get rattled at times, something not unusal for a young quarterback making the jump from high school to major college football.

"I was glad to see him get smacked hard," said Baldwin after Hoyer received a big hit from defensive tackle Ogedmi Nwagbuo. "He needed his helmet rattled a little bit - because this is a physical game - and [still] know that he can bounce up. Now do I want that during the season? No. But we had to find out that he could have that done, step in the huddle and not worry about it," said Baldwin.

Baldwin talked about the maturation of the sophomore from Ohio.

"Sometimes that's what a young kid needs, the confidence that sometimes those things are going to happen. I thought he threw the ball well. He missed early on a little 'pump and go' overthew a ball but came back and got it a little later, which is nice. I think that's what he's learning. If you make a mistake, let that play go and then come back to the next play."

The Spartans offensive coordinator also was very happy with the progress of redshirt freshman A.J. Jimmerson from Florissant, MO.

"I thought A.J. Jimmerson ran harder than he has all spring which we need. We know Javon Ringer is special and Jehuu Caulcrick can be special. To back it up with a Jimmerson can be special for us. To have three backs again would be nice."

Finally, the Spartans offensive pilot came back around to what bothers him the most, the inexperience of his offensive line unit.

"We're switching guys, moving them in and out. We're not as physical as we need to be. I'd like us to dominate the line of scrimmage. I know we're a spread offense, but that doesn't mean we can't run the football so we need to a little more physical there," said Baldwin.

Coach Baldwin zeroes in more on the offensive line as a unit and what they need to do to make the MSU offense run efficiently.

Read more of coach Baldwin's comments in "Offensive line a work in progress.

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