Ringer appears ready for special season

"Javon Ringer is a special player because he can impact the game in so many ways. Our biggest challenge is managing how much he plays on special teams because you don't want to ask him to do too much."--Michigan State head coach John L. Smith

EAST LANSING - What is it about John L. Smith allowing his star players to line up on special teams? Letting Drew Stanton play on special teams didn't turn out to be a good move, but that doesn't appear to have dissuaded Smith from letting some quality players perform on the unit.

On Tuesday it was star running back Javon Ringer, listed as a backup, - but, then again, so was Barry Sanders for a while on Oklahoma State's depth chart.

While Ringer's no Sanders, but he's a pretty fair running back and even Sanders took some special teams reps collegiately.

The sophomore put on a stunning performance in Tuesday's closed scrimmage, piling up 198 all-purpose yards including a 100-yard opening kickoff return in dazzling the MSU coaching staff and selected onlookers.

"Javon Ringer is a special player because he can impact the game in so many ways," admitted Smith. "Our biggest challenge is managing how much he plays on special teams because you don't want to ask him to do too much."

Ringer's presence on special teams is just one more way that MSU wants to get him touches amidst a crowded Spartans backfield, must the way the Ohio State tries to get the football to Ted Ginn, Jr., on special teams.

He doesn't mind it at all, he says he just wants to make the coaches happy. "I'm just going to try to live up to [their expectations]. I want to do a lot better than last year because I feel that every year I can do more. Last year, I felt that if I could have been more comfortable that I could have done more."

Ringer says he was not comfortable and able to be 'free-wheeling' on the football field last year because he was still somewhat hampered by the knee injury he suffered in high school.

"Last year, it was probably 90 percent and it was kind of suspect on how it was going to hold up over the course of the season. Going through the school year and workouts, I was able to get a lot stronger and I was able to tear through some scar tissue to get some more flexibility, so now I feel like it's 100 percent."

With his production, some backs would openly campaign for more playing time, but Ringer says he doesn't mind the rotation between himself, junior starter Jehuu Caulcrick and redshirt freshman A.J. Jimmerson.

"It's not that bad. I know everybody wants to be that one back, but seeing as we're trying to do whatever we can to win, if it takes a three-back rotation than that's what we're going to have to do."

It's clear the Michigan State has one of the elite backs in the conference, one who's likely to separate himself from the pack and stamp himself as a professional prospect in just his sophomore season.

Maybe we worry too much, but we're not crazy about seeing him returning kicks and punts. But we'll defer to the coaching staff here.

For his part,Ringer's ready to do whatever it takes to get touches on the football field and help steer MSU towards a New Year's day bowl game.


Spartan Nation Top Stories