Cook has seen all the ups-and-downs of the Spartans football program. He watched the team ascend all the way to the heights of the top-10 after beating a highly ranked Notre Dame football team and heading into the crosstown battle against Michigan as the favorite. He also watched as the team crashed and burned after back-to-back tough losses to UM and Ohio State and stumble to a 5-6 finish.
Masters has more to lose than Cook. If Masters doesn't win the center position, he's going to be a backup while Cook will simply move to the left guard position. You would think Masters would be less than thrilled to be battling for his job after seemingly winning it in the spring.
"I'm looking forward to [the competition]," said Masters. "In the end I just want what's best for the team. And if it's me or Kyle, I just want to start winning. So if it's not me, I'm going to be supportive of my teammates; be there and be ready if they need me."
Cook for his part says he believes in Masters.
"Personally, I don't have a preference when it comes to which position I play," said Cook. "I'd like to get it done early so we have the line down and we know who is playing next to us going into the season," he said.
"Right now, I would probably lean towards guard, because I know John Masters can get it done. He had a good spring and a good summer, and I'd like to see him at center. So right if I had to put money on it, I'd say guard."
Cook said while the battle seems like a problem it actually showcases the versatility of the group. "It's always good to have players that are versatile. We have six or seven guys that can play many different spots. I can play center and guard, Pete Clifford can move all over the line. Even it works out one way right now, halfway through the season it can change if somebody goes down."
He said Clifford will be a key component in the group. "He did very well in the spring at guard. He's also improved leaps and bounds at right tackle. Last year, he had to play left tackle against Ohio State; so basically, he's got four spots covered."
Masters said the bottom line is that MSU needs to win ball games, period. "The intensity has come from Dave Herron, Clifton Ryan, Drew Stanton and Kyle Cook. They just all stepped up this year and said, `Hey, bow up or get out.'"