Spartans to Test Depth Early

"We plan on rolling some guys in there depth wise," Spartan OC Don Treadell said. "First game, there's always a lot of excitement, adrenaline running in the young men. So typically they sometimes get winded a little bit early, so the plan would be to roll as many guys in there and still execute the game plan."

EAST LANSING — Knowing when an inexperienced player is ready to contribute can be a tricky science.

The Michigan State coaching staff, however, feels they understand the pulse of their team and have confidence in their depth chart, which is heavily weighted with underclassmen and untested players.

"We plan on rolling some guys in there depth wise," offensive coordinator Don Treadwell said. "First game, there's always a lot of excitement, adrenaline running in the young men. So typically they sometimes get winded a little bit early, so the plan would be to roll as many guys in there and still execute the game plan."

That plan definitely includes a couple of freshmen wide receivers, namely Keshawn Martin and Fred Smith.

"A lot of that, as the game unfolds, we'll determine a little more, but no question about it, they will both be getting into the game," Treadwel said.

Linebackers coach Mike Tressel, who has overseen intense depth chart competition throughout the preseason, said he expects the defense to be rotating players into the game as well.

Tressel said Adam Decker (MIKE), Greg Jones (SAM) and Eric Gordon (WILL) will start at linebacker, but Denson, who Tressel feels "real good about," will see plenty of playing time and two other less experienced players will as well.

"I want to get (freshman) David Rolf some experience, I want to get (former wide receiver/safety Ryan) Allison some experience," Tressel said, "so I bet you see all six during the game, but I bet the first guy you see in is Denson."

And although the staff knows there can be a downside to throwing inexperienced players into the fire for their first collegiate snaps, they have confidence in their athlete's abilities

"There's always a little nervousness to that, but your also excited about it because we wouldn't be putting them in there if we were'nt excited about what maybe they can bring to the table," Treadwell said.

"So it kind of works both ways, but we think once you get those first game jitters out, most of it still becomes a game like anything else."


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