MSU elected its football captains today. No surprises here: Senior LB Chris Norman, junior LB Max Bullough and QB Andrew Maxwell received the majority of votes from their teammates, with a fourth spot to rotate throughout the season as the Spartans have done the past two years.
The trio makes sense. All three have displayed leadership throughout camp and their time on campus. And all three have distinct traits that complement each other.
“I think that’s important. Guys on the team don’t respond to one certain kind of leadership style,” Maxwell said. “And knowing which guys respond to which dictates how you lead. Does a guy get going when you get in his face and when you challenge him a little bit? Or is this a guy who needs a little, ‘Hey, you’re tired, we’re tired, let’s do this, let’s go.’ We have a little of all of that in our captains group, and we can help the team that way.”
That Maxwell got the nod as a first-year starter shows the belief his teammates have in his ability to lead the offense. He calls himself more of a lead-by-example type of player who tempers his “grassroots personal style relating to the guys” with how to motivate a group with strong words when needed.
Bullough brings your classic hype-’em-up, fire-and-brimstone style of drive in the thick of battle that’s expected from a linebacker. It’s almost seemed predestined he’d eventually ascend to a captaincy due to his Spartan bloodlines – his father, Shane, was a captain in 1986.
Norman, though also a linebacker, provides a more big-picture view. Like Maxwell, he’s not afraid to speak loudly when necessary. However, Norman’s great gift is introspection and adding a deep faith-based component – landing somewhere between Bullough and Kirk Cousins’ temperament.
Meshing those voices together will be critical for a team that doesn’t return any captains. Coach Mark Dantonio openly wondered where and how the leadership would be dispensed this season. His players chose three guys who he said “are great representatives of Michigan State football, and I think they’ll do an outstanding job leading our football team.”