MSU football: Maxwell not a captain – what it means

Mark Dantonio announced Michigan State’s captains Wednesday night via Twitter. By that time, Andrew Maxwell knew he wouldn’t be one – a year after the quarterback’s teammates voted him into the leadership position as a junior.

It’s entirely rare to see someone lose their captaincy after being named one as an underclassman. It should happen to MSU’s basketball team because Russell Byrd almost assuredly won’t be a second-time captain in basketball.  And Thursday night, it happened to senior quarterback Maxwell as his fellow Spartans elected linebacker Max Bullough, cornerback Darqueze Dennard and offensive lineman Blake Treadwell as the 2013 season captains.

Dantonio was quick to spin it positively: Maxwell remains an important leader, got a number of votes from his teammates in the democratic process, will be part of the leadership council of 12, that the picks were more about what these other three had done rather than what Maxwell hadn’t done, that he’ll be one of the rotating fourth captains one week this year.

Etc., etc. Fine, that’s solid motivational talk. But perception often is reality.

The fact is two quiet but productive players – Treadwell and Dennard – got the vote of confidence from their peers this year; Maxwell didn’t. Quarterbacks are almost always considered the leaders, unless they’re an inexperienced underclassman. Yet Maxwell stood out enough to his teammates a year ago to be elected captain without having started once and with having taken minimal meaningful snaps.

So does this mean mutiny on the H.M.S. Dantonio? Does it mean Maxwell is out of a job? Not necessarily.

Nothing is done within the Spartans’ program without intent – see Dantonio opting to choose the three guys who ended up as captain and not Maxwell to represent MSU at the Big Ten media days in Chicago last month. And yes, Maxwell attended that event as well last year.

What this appears to be is more of a smoke screen, similar to how Dantonio gushed on Monday about Damion Terry’s weekend scrimmage performance. That day, the coach painted the QB race as still being a four-man battle. By Thursday, Dantonio said he knows who he plans to start and seemed to be cooling again on Terry.

Talking so much and exclusively about Terry on Monday was meant to light a fire under the three QBs in the mix. Dantonio proceeded to talk about seeing “flashes” from Connor Cook and Tyler O’Connor in practice, which means they also lack the consistency he wants from the position.

Which leaves Maxwell, who fits the don’t-make-mistakes footprint that Dantonio also brought up when talking Monday about what he needed to see from Terry to prevent a redshirt. Ball security always reigns supreme in Dantonio’s mind, and that’s what he hopes having a veteran senior with a full season of game experience means.

Treadwell said Maxwell handled the news in his typically even-keeled manner. Exactly what Dantonio expects from his QB.

“He’s still a leader. He’s still gonna lead this offense,” Treadwell said. “He’s the quarterback – it starts in the huddle from his words, and we put it into action.”

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18 Responses to MSU football: Maxwell not a captain – what it means

  1. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Res Ipsa Loquitor

  2. avatar GoSt8Go says:

    Good Stuff Chris. Maxwell was not voted as a captain because he was not voted as captain. Nothing more or nothing less can and should be read into it. No message to be sent to coaches or anyone else. As you and I discussed, it’s likely he starts a few games and possibly loses out to 2 and 3 if he cannot move the ball. If 3 had the same general skill set as 4 then hopefully 4 will redshirt. If Terry gets a chance to shine in games 1-3 before the burning takes place, and does shine, then this could get extremely interesting.

    All this said, if the green and white game were tomorrow, and QB were the position to be taken first, I would love to be a spot on the wall to see who the seniors would be picking first.

    • avatar Spartan 81 says:

      That’s fairly accurate, it’s kind of a win win a good problem for Dantonio to have

    • avatar TruGhostofBo says:

      That’s interesting GoSt8:

      Couch on Fire
      GoSt8Go says:
      August 22, 2013 at 4:47 pm

      “They don’t vote to send a message, but the outcome sure comes across as a message to the coaches.”

      Spartan Shadows
      GoSt8Go says:
      August 23, 2013 at 10:10 pm

      ” No message to be sent to coaches or anyone else.”

      So which version, are you using today???? Or are we just attempting to “Cat-fish”???

      • avatar Spartan 81 says:

        What the hell is a Cat Fish? Have to admit I turn 54 on Wednesday and don’t text or keep up with internet slang.

      • avatar Spartan 81 says:

        Looked up Catfish, Tru I know Go personally, that’s not him. He does not have a dishonest bone in his body joist dead serious all the time like Joe Friday in Dragnet. Must just be an out of context terminology thing

        • avatar TruGhostofBo says:

          GoSt8Go says:
          August 22, 2013 at 1:36 pm

          “Brian and Chris, best of luck toward keeping the shadows a catfish-free environment. Sad to see Graham’s forum rife with the same junk and imposters that plagued Hey Joe. You have my commitment to help.”

          Don’t know him, but know of him. Always seemed like a nice person. Have conversed with him on occasion. He’s got an agenda, (the Catfish thing) that’s fine too. I have my position on the Team Captains, he has his My position is the same today as it was the day I posted. His…. I’ll leave that up to you to decide for yourself. His, “that’s the way it is, because I say so” attitude isn’t gonna fly with this Ghost….. Perhaps he should look at this Joe Friday, piece, the next time GoSt8 wants to drag his net:

      • avatar GoSt8Go says:

        GoB, irritation not intended. I’ll let the topic of “messages” go. Not sure if you catfish or not. Having met you only briefly I am betting and hoping not.

        Unfortunately, others posting on these boards sans-Hey Joe do. If you are not sure of the reference, e-mail me and I’ll clarify.

        • avatar TruGhostofBo says:

          Certainly, no irritation, is taken, GrumpyGoSt8, & none given.
          I will display for all to see, My Magnanimity, by
          burying the “message”, hatchet, and will endeavor to let sleeping dogfish lie. Your attempts to rid the waters of “Catfish” appear to be based on good intentions, however at times, you come close to snagging other marine life, at such time you will become aware that a dogfish, is willing and able to aid said marine life..
          I hope that clarifies the situation…..

          • avatar GoSt8Go says:

            Thanks. I feel confident that the message on catfish has reached the intended audience. Not intended is those that have openly disclosed their aliases. As Joe and Chris know, I felt and feel strongly about it.

            I don’t intend to come across as a policeman. At that point, I would rather just leave this site behind. However, I think a lot of the Shadows work. I do check in on Graham’s site from time to time, but less frequently. I like some of his work, while being puzzled at times by his commentary.

    • avatar Spartan 81 says:

      Do you know what time the press conference is tomorrow so I can check back for coverage?

  3. avatar hammer says:

    Perhaps the defense would be the best players to ask who they fear the most of Spartan QB’s.

    • avatar Chris Solari says:

      It has been asked, and the defensive players are showing how good they will be when they play defensively coy with their answers.

      • avatar TruGhostofBo says:


        and a nice article.. Thanks for your work….

        • avatar Spartan 81 says:

          With apologies to Donald Fagan

          “Any Major Bowl Will Tell You

          “The first half of the BWW bowl has never seen a college football QB looking so bad my funky one
          You tell me that your OCs superfine mind has come undone

          Any major bowl committee with half a heart surely will tell you my friend
          Any minor passing game that breaks apart falls together again
          When the red shirt decision is at your door
          In the morning 0n 09/21 it won’t be there no more
          Any major bowl committee will tell you

          Have you ever seen a Ghosts tears? Well, look at mine
          The people on the LSJ beat have all seen better times
          Any minor passing game that breaks apart falls together again

          I can tell Dantonio all I know, the where to go, the what to do
          You can try to run but you can’t hide Maxwell from a decent cover two
          Any major bowl committee will tell you
          Any major bowl committee will tell you
          Fade to tomorrows press conference

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