Finesse Football Finished at MSU

The days of finesse football in East Lansing are over. New MSU head coach Mark Dantonio intends to bring back the days of smash mouth football under Duffy Daughtery, George Perles and Nick Saban.

DETROIT - The days of finesse football are over in East Lansing. New MSU head coach Mark Dantonio intends to make over the Spartans in the mold of the smashmouth teams of the past under former head coaches Duffy Daugherty, George Perles and Nick Saban.

Job number one for Dantonio will be to improve the talent MSU fields in the offensive line and front seven on defense.

Currently MSU has three players that figure to be part of the solution upfront. Big time recruit Roland Martin will return for his junior season at the right guard position, but some believe that Martin has the agility and talent to play at center.

At right tackle, the "Body Snatcher" Jesse Mliller returns also as junior. Senior-to-be Mike Gyetvai will likely return to the left tackles position and figures to develop into an NFL prospect in his final year in East Lansing.

The problems start at that point.

MSU may elect to go with senior-to-be John Masters at center who was unable to grab a starting job until late into the season and can expect some competition from a bunch of talented players who were freshman a season ago.

John Stipek, a freshman from Macomb Dakota got into the season finale against Penn State and acquitted himself pretty well. Orlando Evans freshman Abre Leggins, a 300-pounder is among the players who could make a move into the playing group as could Jason Diehl, a talented guard prospect from Troy, NY.

The odds-on favorite, last year's starter Peter Clifford is on the spot after his disappointing season a year ago. He'll have to hold off Sporting News all-freshman tackle Rocco Cironi who'll get a long look. Sophomore Joel Nitchman, big 6-foot-8 redshirt Mike Schmeding and junior Mike Bacon, will all get a shot at impressing new offensive line coach Dan Roushar.

Things are a little more dicey on the defensive side of the ball where MSU loses seniors Clifton Ryan and David Stanton, their two starting defensive tackles. However, MSU is heartened by returning their best pass rusher Ervin "G-Ball" Baldwin (four sacks for 92 yards).

Nick Smith, a 6-foot-6, 265 rush end, needs to bulk up a bit. Justin Kershaw, a junior will figure in the mix. Fighting for the two tackles sports are former starter Ogemdi "OG" Nwaguo and senior Jonal Saint-Dic.

While their are a some pieces left in the cupboard for the new coaching staff, they'll have to work the team hard in the weight room and instill a new attitude into a finesse team that was mentally fragile and unable to match the intensity of the Big Ten schedule.


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