Michigan State has less than two weeks remaining until it opens its season against Western Michigan.
The Spartans still are without a clear-cut leader in the quarterback and running back races.
Today’s scrimmage could help shape things in those areas and MSU co-offensive coordinator Dave Warner would like to start to see some separation at QB and RB.
“The wide receivers are beginning to sort themselves out a little bit,” Warner said. “I think with the tight ends, that’s sort of starting to happen a little bit. But the running back position and quarterback position I still think we’ve got a couple of guys sort of in a pile at the top.”
The quarterback position is so close right now that MSU coach Mark Dantonio said Friday he wouldn’t even rule out the possibility of playing all three – senior Andrew Maxwell, redshirt sophomore Connor Cook and redshirt freshman Tyler O’Connor – into the season.
“All three of those guys are good players,” Dantonio said. “They’ve all had good scrimmages at times, because we work every day live. They’ve all done some good things. So we’ll see how it all shakes out. But obviously, this scrimmage is a big scrimmage.”
At running back, the coaches still view redshirt freshman Riley Bullough as the frontrunner, but juniors Jeremy Langford and Nick Hill are right there in the mix. And true freshmen Delton Williams and Gerald Holmes have shown the coaches some positive things.
“Riley is still at No. 1, but again those guys are pretty evenly distributed,” Dantonio said. “You know, guys get nicked up a bit and don’t get as many carries and that type of thing. All three of those guys really have made plays and I’ve been impressed with the two freshmen as well.
“… At times 22 (Williams) and 24 (Holmes) – they’ve showed some Le’Veon Bell type ability. But they need to be more consistent.”
Added Warner: “You can put a couple of the guys right there with Riley. I think Nick Hill and Jeremy Langford – we’ve talked about both those guys having a good camp. The freshmen are starting to come along. Now they’re still learning. They still have a ways to go from a mental standpoint but the talent is certainly there.
“We’re going to find out a lot more (Saturday). That might be one of those spots where we start to make some decisions.”
Here’s a few other items from today’s media availability
Dantonio on if there’s need for freshmen or redshirt freshmen to rise up and be contributors:
“You look at our football team and we’re very deep in the secondary, we’re very deep at linebacker. Defensive line we’re pretty well established. Offensive line its tough for a freshman to play. Our receivers are playing well. I think the running back position, that’s where you’re going to see a guy pop out of there but we have some very talented freshmen. Darian Hicks is extremely talented, I’ve been very impressed with him. R.J. Shelton is extremely talented as well. I’ve been impressed. He’s working a new position but he makes plays. Those two guys, Reschke, Shane Jones are probably good enough to play. Do they play, do they not? I hate to play a guy six plays and then you lose them for a year.”
Dantonio on senior WR Bennie Fowler:
“I think Bennie Fowler is having a great camp. It’s reminding me of the same kind of camp Devin Thomas had going into his junior year.”
Dantonio on freshman TE Dylan Chmura:
“Dylan Chmura is another guy that is in the mix there but there’s a lot to learn at tight end.”