Offense Steps It Up

Saturday saw the Spartans take another step towards the annual Green-White spring game with a 135 play scrimmage. This time the offense took a step forward.

Over the years Mark Dantonio has always found a way to keep both his offense and defense on an even keel during the spring. On Saturday, the offense found their way with a 101-88 victory over the defense to claim the latest jersey scrimmage.

Who stood out for the Spartans? Coach Dantonio was quick to praise a few players.

"Larry Caper sat out a little bit early in the scrimmage but Edwin Baker played very, very well. Le'Veon Bell as well and also Nick Hill had about 79 yards rushing and looked electrifying on a couple of plays. Defensively we played much better rushing the passer."

While the weather made it interesting, the experimental move of Keith Nichol to receiver paid dividends on Saturday as the former quarterback caught four passes for 39 yards and two touchdowns.

With Kirk Cousins as the clear starter at quarterback, Andrew Maxwell also showed continued improvement as they combined for 376 yards and five touchdowns.

The passing numbers showed the Spartans receiving corps have really stepped up as Bennie Fowler top the stat chart with six catches for 66 yards and a score while Keshawn Martin and Mark Dell each pulled down five balls.

The staple of any Mark Dantonio offense is the running game and as coach explained Baker and Hill combined for 152 yards on 32 carries.

On defense Greg Jones received praise from the head coach for his team leading eight tackles but it was Tyler Hoover who showed he's continuing to improve his game.

Hoover posted two sacks and is starting to show his development and ability to compete at a high level by using more power and improved first step to win battles.

One area the Spartans coach raised a few eyebrows with was talk of future spring games becoming money making events with teams playing other college programs instead of themselves.

One area of needed improvement is the kicking game and on Saturday both kickers showed well despite the heavy wind.

Dan Conroy hit on a 45 yarder and Kevin Muma also had a field goal over 40 yards on the day.

The continued installment of the 3-4 defensive schemes has many looking for the advantages it will give the Spartans in the fall. Coach Dantonio was clear in what he felt installing it means to the overall development of the defense.

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