Halfway Point Spartans Have A Few Dings

At the halfway point, the Michigan State Spartans look strong as they continue preparing for the upcoming season. Mark Dantonio is never one to mince words and his comments after Wednesday's practice is one fans should take with great encouragement when looking at the upcoming season.

While players are still smiling in front of the media, they know they have been working hard and their bodies are taking a toll. As Mark Dantonio told the media, they are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but are also feeling heavy legs and bodies with a few injuries popping up.

"Henry Conway reinjured his neck a little bit, so he will be out until end of September or first of October," Dantonio told the media after practice. "Zach Hueter, who has played very well and was coming on will have to have surgery. We also lost Kurtis Drummond a true freshman, as he'll have to have surgery to tighten up his shoulder."

The loss of Drummond is not one that sets back the team overall as the freshman was showing well in camp. But most everyone has felt there was a good chance Drummond was looking towards a redshirt this season. The loss of Hueter comes as a major blow as he has continued to show great improvement impressing the Spartan coaches with his athletic ability.

Hueter will be lost for the season for the second year in a row, as he will now have work done on the opposite shoulder that required him to miss last season. The Columbiaville (MI) native will still have three more seasons and should be considered a major player along the offensive line when he returns.

But while some of the news was bad, Dantonio said looking back, he feels his team has gotten good work and he is still impressed with how his team did in their scrimmage on Monday and how they have performed overall.

"You know, you see some guys, especially young players that came in and did very, very well, they hit a plateau a little bit right now. But they've got to get their feet back under them and push through. You are getting to the point now where almost you're entire offense and almost your entire defense has been installed, so your younger players are swimming. We did a blitz drill yesterday and I don't know if our guys ran our blitzes right, especially the young guys once, wrong gaps, but that is the process of learning."

But while Dantonio was happy with his teams overall performance, he has been extremely pleased with the play of some of the Spartans newest members.

"William Gholston continues to push forward and do some very, very good things and can be used in certain roles. A couple of other freshmen Darqueze Dennard, Mylan Hicks, and Isaiah Lewis is running with the twos along with Dennard."

Another new Spartan turning heads is junior college transfer Anthony Rashad White. The 6-foot-2, 315-pound defensive tackle is pushing to get on the field this fall.

"I think Rashad will contribute for us, he is 315-pounds and can run. He comes in there right now and he is the fourth or fifth tackle."

While several positions have been settled upon, the Spartans kicking game continues to be a battle that Dantonio hopes will play itself out before the start of the season.

"I thought our kicking game the last three days have seen our kickers perform well. But when they have to be called upon in the middle of a scrimmage, they have got to deliver and they didn't on Monday with one kick each. But when you line them up and kick them ten times in a row from all over the field in live situations (twice in the scrimmage I think we were 18-of-20) so those are good things. But they have to do it in the course of a game situation."

Thursday will find the Spartans traveling to Detroit for a press conference and practice at Ford Field. Then it will be back to the grind of getting ready for the season opener.

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