Wednesday smorgasbord: Madison Williams out, Branden Dawson great, Johnny Adams OK

A number of topics to catch up with this afternoon, including a third ACL injury for MSU women’s basketball player Madison Williams.

It’s the third straight year the 6-foot-7 former McDonald’s All-American will miss since arriving in East Lansing in the fall of 2010. The injury, to the same left knee she hurt last year, was discovered in an MRI exam Tuesday. Brian Calloway has the story here.

And it’s also the seventh straight season the Spartans have had a player miss time due to an ACL tear: Lauren Aitch (2006-07), Mia Johnson (2007-08), Brittney Thomas (2008-09), Courtney Schiffauer (2009-10) and Williams the past three.

Like Williams, Johnson also tore both of her knee ligaments, one of them in high school, and battled through the pain and physical limitations to complete her career. However, coach Suzy Merchant said Williams – an exceptionally positive person – has at times struggled mentally in coping with her rehabilitation after her second ACL injury.

Torn knee ligaments have become a major concern across women’s college basketball, not just at MSU. Here’s a good medical explanation of how/why women are more susceptible to ACL tears than men.

An already difficult early season has become a lot more challenging for Merchant. MSU lost freshman Ariel Powers, Williams’ former high school teammate, to a torn Achilles tendon on Friday. Junior Annalise Pickrel (shoulder), and sophomores Becca Mills and Jasmine Hines are all on the mend from offseason surgery. Freshman Branndais Agee (foot) can’t play right now, and sophomore Kiana Johnson and redshirt freshman Akyah Taylor are suspended for the first nine games for violating unspecified NCAA rules.

The Spartans open exhibition play Thursday night against Saginaw Valley State.


Cornerback Johnny Adams should be OK to play Saturday against Nebraska and does not have a separated shoulder, defensive backs coach Harlon Barnett said Wednesday.

Barnett said he’s not sure yet whether safeties R.J. Williamson (ankle) and Jairus Jones (leg) will be able to play. Running backs coach Brad Salem said fullback Niko Palazeti should be ready to play again after being on-again, off-again with an ankle injury.

Salem also talked about the difficulty of finding a secondary, complimentary running back along with Le’Veon Bell. Sophomore Nick Hill carried the ball three times for minus-6 yards against Wisconsin and has 14 attempts for 11 yards on the season. Senior Larry Caper, who didn’t get a carry against the Badgers, has run 16 times for 85 yards but hasn’t had a carry since the Ohio State game in Week 5. Nine of his attempts and 66 of those yards came against Central Michigan.

“You’re always trying to find ways,” Salem said. “Is it Nick in motion? Is it Larry in third down or a situation to run the ball? You’re trying to find the next guy, so you give opportunities here and there. And again, then you get back to a guy that’s been getting yards to you consistently throughout the year. But we’ll always continue to try and find different ways to get guys the football.”

Jeremy Langford has moved back to running back, Salem said, and he’s “growing” during practice. Salem also said true freshman Nick Tompkins could become that next speed back, a la Edwin Baker.


Speaking of ACL injuries, Graham Couch reports that sophmore swingman Branden Dawson looked fantastic in his return from tearing his against Ohio State in March as MSU opened its exhibition slate with an over Northwood (Fla.).

Dawson scored eight of the Spartans’ first 10 points in the game, getting a block and a rebound while being unfazed when he was knocked to the floor at one point – all before the first media timeout. He played with a brace on his left knee on the advice of MSU’s training staff, after saying a day earlier that he’d likely play without it.

Tuesday, before the exhibition, Dawson told me he though he might never dunk again when he first suffered the injury.

“That thought came to my mind when the doctor told me I tore my ACL and that I’d be out for a couple months,” Dawson said. “But then the next day, he called and said I could come in and have surgery in the next two days. And then (later) he told me I was three months ahead of schedule, so that surprised me.

“Basically, it’s just no pain. I’ve just been going hard. Guys always ask me, ‘Do you ever think about it when you play?’ No, I don’t think about it, because when you think about it, that’s when something goes wrong. I just go out there and play.”


Tom Anastos’ team also has been battling through injuries and sickness the past week, and the MSU coach said he was struggling to put enough guys on the ice to hold a full practice on Tuesday.

One spot where he has a different type of issue: a goaltending competition. Freshman Jake Hildebrand earned his first college win in his first start on Saturday, after returning junior Will Yanakeff started the Spartans’ first five games. Anastos said he’d hope by Thursday to figure out who’d get the start in Friday’s home game against Bowling Green.

“You give a coach a reason to play you and keep you in the net,” Anastos said, “what coach isn’t gonna play you?”

This entry was posted in Basketball, Football, Men's Basketball, Michigan State, Other Teams, Women's Basketball. Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to Wednesday smorgasbord: Madison Williams out, Branden Dawson great, Johnny Adams OK

  1. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Sorry to hear about Madison , tough luck she can’t buy a break

  2. avatar The Tanner says:

    Spartans have knee problems baby !!!

    Capers get more carries baby !!!

    Lance Burkman come to town baby !!!

    The Tanner brings the goods baby !!!

  3. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    What a GREAT tweet by Madison.

    • avatar GoSt8Go says:

      “…has at times struggled mentally in coping with her rehabilitation after her second ACL injury.” Can’t imagine what even one most feel like for top athlete. I can understand that two could be just a wee bit challenging on the pysche.

      • avatar Spartan 81 says:

        Kind of similar to what Robbie Hummel went through I imagine.

      • avatar Chris Solari says:

        And on the body. By the time Mia Johnson left here as a senior after she tore both of her ACLs, it was almost painful to watch her run. It was like bone on bone rubbing in her knees.

        Madison is a smart, positive and upbeat young woman, and it sounds like she wants to come back and play again in the future. But just imagine – three years of constant rehab and physical therapy every day. Who’d blame her if she didn’t just walk away so she can walk when she’s in her 40s?

  4. avatar GoSt8Go says:

    Watched the replay of the exhibition. One note for the F Murray Abraham of sports media after observing the work of MSU students behind the camera: We’ll send you the tape from here on out, just send us Greg Kelser.

    • avatar Chris Solari says:

      It wasn’t just me that heard a Southern twang to the student play-by-play guy’s voice, was it?

      • avatar Spartan 81 says:

        Maybe he was a student from down south Chris?

      • avatar GoSt8Go says:

        Didn’t catch a southern accent, but was not paying a lot of attention to the announcers.

      • avatar Spartan 81 says:

         Graham Couch
        Born and bred in Lansing, Graham Couch returned to his hometown in September for the express and stated purpose of irritating regulars of the former Hey Joe Rexrode Blog. In fact that is the only reason he came back. He’s covered Michigan State since January, after nearly a decade covering Western Michigan University and the Freeport (Ill.) Pretzels.

  5. avatar '89 Chemistry says:

    “Stars”, Decorated Players, and Line Masses: Nebraska Edition

    In Rivals/Scout 2009-2012 recruiting-class assessments, MSU recruits averaged 3.05 stars; those of UNL, 3.16 stars.

    All-Conference Veterans
    Last year, Brett Mayer was a 1st-team All-American kicker {and, of course, Bakken-Andersen B1G KotY}. He was also the Eddleman-Fields B1G Punter of the Year.

    I-Back Rex Burkhead was 1st-team All-B1G in 2011; DT Baker Steinkuhler & DE Cameron Meredith were 2nd-team ABT in 2011. All three were B-XII honorable mentions in 2010.

    Guard Spencer Long was 2nd-team ABT in 2011, while LB Will Compton, TE Ben Cotton, and safety Daimion Stafford were all hms. In 2010, QB Taylor Martinez was a B-XII hm.

    That’s three 1st-teamers, three 2nd-teamers, and four hms returning for UNL. MSU ABT veterans include two 1st-teamers that had lesser honors as underclassmen; four 2nd-teamers; and five hms.

    All-B1G expectations for UNL 2012 in August:
    Projected 1st-team ABT 2012 [4]
    : Burkhead, Long, and Mayer [counted twice]. (MSU has five such players).
    Projected 2nd-team ABT 2012 [2]: Steinkuhler & WR Kenny Bell. (MSU has three (not including Fou Fonoti)).
    Projected h.m. ABT 2012 [6]: Compton, Martinez, Meredith & Stafford—plus tackle Andrew Rodriguez and TE Kyler Reed. (MSU has six).

    Phil Steele’s mid-season All-B1G is a shorter list for both the Cornhuskers and the Spartans. Both Bells are on the 1st team; as are M. Bullough, Lewis, Sadler, D. Sims for MSU. Steele has Long on the 1st team, but adds DE Eric Martin for UNL—and extends his team beyond official designations to include über-returner Ameer Abdullah. Gholston, KR Nick Hill, McDonald, Rush [MSU], and Martinez are on his 2nd team. Conroy & Dennard [MSU] and Compton are on the 3rd team. So is Abdullah—in this case as a running back.

    FBS Watch Lists:
    UNL had seven players on summer W.L.s: Burkhead, Long, Martinez, Meredith, Reed, Steinkuhler, and Mayer [as both kicker and punter]. MSU had ten players on summer W.L.s.

    Some notable advancement since then includes Reed and D. Sims to the Mackey mid-season stage; Gholston to the Lombardi quarterfinals list, and M. Bullough to the Butkus semifinals list.

    Big Ten Players of the Week
    UNL has 13 BTPotW awards on its current roster. Maher has won six of these; Martinez another five; and Abdullah two for kick returns.
    MSU has four traditional BTPotWs from prior years—plus two-time 2012 winner Le’veon Bell.

    2012 National Players of the Week
    Maher has won two (despite having an off year). Abdullah has won a weekly Hornung, which honors the FBS’s “most versatile” player. Dion Sims won NTEotW earlier this year; and Gholston was named the National D-Lineman of the Week for his game against UW.

    All-American Projections
    Athlon’s pre-season picks named Mayer (as a kicker) and Burkhead to the 2nd team. Phil Steels’s mid-season update omits these and adds Long and [returner] Abdullah to h.m. status. That’s where he places Bullough & Sims; but he’s elevated Le’veon Bell to his 1st team.

    Line masses:
    UNL’s O-line 300#. MSU’s D line averages 283 #.
    UNL’s D-line averages 274#. MSU’s O line averages 305#.

  6. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Hey does anyone know what Graham Couch allededly said about Arnett on his radio show today that has people in an uproar . I live in Minneapolis and do not get local radio. Want to be fair here as I honestly do not know what was or was not said.


    • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

      Cracker’s been filling his head with how good the QB’s are at MAC schools.

      • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

        Unless he has proof, that this is just not him starting or passing on a malicious rumor, Cracker should be fired. This is totally irresponsible “journalism”. The one thing about Joe was that he would never put stuff out that was not backed up by facts.

        So, Cracker, you got facts or are you just trying to make a name for yourself other than Cracker. Maybe Perez Hilton?

        • avatar '89 Chemistry says:

          Sorry to put you on the spot here, I haven’t been able to find a direct quote of what Couch actually said. Since you’re asking for “proof” and “facts”, then it sounds like you can provide a direct quote of what Couch said–so that folks here can judge for themselves whether GC finally went too far. (Vagaries about differences of opinion between Arnett and the coaches and pointing out an option for Arnett to transfer aren’t the same as saying he’s all but gone.)

          If you can’t do this, can we at least ask Brian or Chris to provide the facts of what Couch said–or insist Couch provide a verbatim [or unambiguous position statement] in a blog entry? If the LSJ wants subscription monies, that’s the least it can do for its customers.

          • avatar Spartan 81 says:

            Actually, I have no idea actually what was said as I live in Minneapolis and have no access to radio? Does anyone know if there is a transcript available like on the LSJ chats? Have no idea if he even said anything from my position.

          • avatar '89 Chemistry says:

            “The Game” 730 AM has no transcript or audio record on its website. A Couch-blog note implied that he stated an opinion that he’ll probably maintain until August–but whether that was of some “disconnect” [between coaches & Arnett] or a belief in a probable Arnett transfer isn’t clear.

            247Sports.com reports a familial quote/statement that Arnett has no plans to transfer, but I don’t have a subscription–and, imo, it’s beside the point (other than a perceived necessity for someone to release said statement).

          • avatar Chris Solari says:

            Graham gave a response to that on his blog, and it would be best to ask him for further details there. I did not hear Mad Dog’s show Wed. morning, other than when I’m on in my normal 6:15-6:30 slot.

      • avatar Spartan 81 says:

        Is he throwing in a set of golf clubs, btw I think those clubs were regifted from the Sponsor Wolf Brand Chili.

        • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

          That’s what I hear, usually the people who bend clubs hit them against the ground or a tree in frustration for hitting a poor shot (in their estimation), but in all likely hood they were trying a heroic save which they were incapable of pulling off to save a 6 on a par 3.

      • avatar Spartan 81 says:

        If we go to the Gator Bowl, would you be interested in a debate with Couch in Jacksonville. The debate could be held in a Sports Bar the day before the game. The format could be Town Hall meeting with the regulars posting questions to both you and Graham. Both you and Couch would have two minutes to answer each question in a 90 minute session.
        Lubeck could play the role of (Jim Lehrer as moderator)

  7. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    This is obvious beat up on Cracker day. But, then I’m not sure which is sadder, those golf clubs that Silverman gave Cracker a while back were re-gifted junk and the 5 iron is bent (tells you that Silverman can’t control his temper and thinks he’s a better golfer than he actually is, incidentally). That’s what you get when you take stuff without knowing the source very well. I’m not sure who is the lower form of life here, Silverman because he though Cracker would be all a-giggle getting the re-gifted junk or Cracker for accepting it. In one case it’s just the narcissistic arrogance of Paris Hilton and the other the small town naiveté of idol worship. WOTB, hope your not still using your set, although it’s generally never the arrow, but always the archer.

    • avatar behind the green curtain says:

      I am not sure what you are talking about son. Graham Couch is a breath of fresh air. He tells it like it is and he is not afraid of speaking truth to power. I read his articles first . Although sometimes he uses complex words that I do not understand.

      • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

        He types with an electronic thesaurus that gives him options for see spot run. I was kinds thinking that he should re-gift the clubs to you, JLS, for all your support, but then you’d have to claim them as an asset and the provenance would get very confusing.

        With your IQ, I’m not real surprised that you don’t understand most of what you read. What did somebody set up a talk-to-text thingy on your phone?

  8. avatar dmbtierney says:

    Hey, Chris: just a quick comment about Maddie’s knee injury. A couple of years ago Coach Merchant was asked if her girls worked out a lot in the gym. She replied, and this is not a direct quote or verbatim, that they were here to play basketball, not lift weights. I just wonder if a more concentrated effort in the weight room to strengthen female legs would result in less knee injuries? Just a thought.

    RIP Ed Rutherford.

    • avatar Chris Solari says:

      Trust me, Mike Vorkapich had them in the Breslin weight room plenty in the past, and I’m sure Tim Wakeham is doing the same. Knee injuries are most often a biological factor for female athletes. Here’s what one of my friends, a former college soccer player, said:

      “I’ve torn my left ACL three times. I think it’s a combination of several factors. I’ve heard shape of femur, the way girls learn to jump, weak hamstrings, too much weight on front of body, bone mass etc.”

  9. avatar behind the green curtain says:

    Hey Marine, those modular homes are real nice these days , worth close to 85 thousand dollars.
    From Scout:
    What Will Happen: This won’t be the week Tulsa looks like a Conference USA team, but it won’t be quite good enough defensively. The pass rush will bother Wilson from time to time, but not enough to disrupt an Arkansas passing game that will hit several home runs. It will be a fight, but for one week, the Hogs will have some fun.
    Arkansas 42
    Tulsa 27

    • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

      As I said, DHSFB, if the Hurricane QB wasn’t out, they’ed stay with you and out score you in the 4th. Hog players know they aren’t going bowling and have given up.

  10. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    One Thing that we can all count on tomorrow.
    Ghost of Biggy will never sell his seats
    Breadtruck will never allow a hostile takeover of his seats. Ghost of Biggy and Breadtruck will hold firm

    • avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

      I’ll be there also, and I expect a ton of Neb fans there too, I was there in 95 too and at least they weren’t jerks like scum and acorn fans are

    • avatar Ghost of Biggie says:

      You got that right. If I did it would be to someone that bleeds and wears green like I do.

    • avatar Ghost of Biggie says:

      I am sitting in the lobby of the LAX Marriott right now. I have to work tomorrow and will not be at the game but my son and a friend will be. All seats need to be green and I’m not referring to environmental properties.

    • avatar Breadtryck86 says:

      I would not miss the game or sell my seats. I gotta admit its been harder to get people to go to games this year , though…

  11. avatar dmbtierney says:

    Nebraska always travels well and that is to their credit. They can’t fill the student seats in the East Upper Stands if those little wussies choose not to attend because those seats require ID’s, etc. to get in. I feel some kind of check should be made of student attendance–maybe next year cut back on the seats available to them if they continue not to attend. The Izzone has rules for attending games, why not football, too?

    • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

      When I went as a pup in 66 & 67, seats were in the middle of the south end zone, now they have migrated to the corner and upper deck. Life’s a b1tch and then you die.

      • avatar behind the green curtain says:

        After reviewing and breaking down the film, position by position I am concerned about Nebraska.. It would appear to me that Dantonio has at least 40 million reasons to be worried.
        It is appalling how many glaring and fundamental physical mismatches I saw . I have always been a big supporter of Coach Dantonio, but I am now starting to question whether MSU can stay with this team?

        • avatar GoSt8Go says:

          I just knew you were a supporter.

          • avatar behind the green curtain says:

            Hey buddy thanks its nice to have two fans in my fan club, gets kind of lonely with just the one military guy. I have to concentrate on my day job now but I will be off the clock by 6pm Eastern tomorrow, will be able to give my review of Dantonios performance for you Sat night or Sunday.
            You keep smiling, ya hear.

          • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

            If you think I’m a fan, you have sadder mental issues than have surfaced before. After your lose tomorrow against the Hurricanes, you’ll be off the clock permanently.

      • avatar Ghost of Biggie says:

        During my days there from 64-68 the stands were always full an hour before opening kickoff. That was true even though 64 and 68 were mediocre. Students wouldn’t dream of being late. Our student seats in 64 and 65 were scattered around the stadium and were different each game. Sat in 5 different places each year.

  12. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    For those who miss Joe’s talks with the enemy media:


  13. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    You know it’s really a shame that Deloonie gave all the scheduling power to Silverman. Tonight alone there are 4 sports the Spartans are contesting. Now if you give into the urge to say that all don’t have hockey, that would mean that on average there are 3 sports from each of 12 B1G schools which translates to 36 “games” that could be telecast live today. What does the btn and their total void leadership do? 1 women’s volleyball game. 24 hours and 1 live sporting event out of the 36 on average that are possible. Look, I know not many are going to watch Men’s Tennis from Madison, but any actual sport is so far better than the junk they run the rest of the time that they might actually see an increase in viewership. Folks don’t want to see the same touchy-feelie show over and over again. People watch sportscenter because it’s new every day not to see the same clips over and over again.

  14. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Within one point of my 17-13 prediction
    Week 10 Fearless Predictions – Nebraska at Michigan State


    Nebraska (6-2) at Michigan State (5-4) Nov. 3, 3:30, ABC/ESPN2

    Here’s The Deal: Nebraska can’t lock up the Legends with a win, but barring a total collapse, Nebraska can lock up the Legends with a win. After beating Michigan in a brutally ugly 23-9 battle, and with the comeback victory over Northwestern, the Huskers have already put away two of the top options in the division, and even though Iowa is coming up at the end of the season on the road, putting Michigan State away would be one of the biggest steps needed to get to Pasadena.

    The Spartans appeared to be dead and buried, and there but for the grace of a late holding call on Wisconsin to nullify a touchdown, they would be. Instead, they rallied in the final few moments to force overtime before coming up with a tremendous win over the Badgers that could change the season. With losses to Iowa and Michigan, it’ll take a ton of work to get back in the chase to win the division, but if they can win out with victories over Northwestern and Minnesota to follow, all of a sudden, things might get interesting.

    MSU finally got the passing game going late against the Badgers, but the offense has been hit-or-miss all season, lifeless at times and completely ineffective in key stretches. While the season might be a disappointment so far, and the 5-4 record and 2-3 Big Ten run haven’t been impressive, the three conference losses have come by a grand total of six points with the loss to Iowa coming in double overtime and the loss to Michigan happening on a last-second kick.

    The Huskers have done what they have needed to do with a great running game and timely passing from Taylor Martinez in a few key wins. The defense has risen up to be fantastic against the pass with an aggressive and tough pass rush, but the run D has been a bit iffy. Now it’s about to get tested.

    This is only the fifth time the two teams have ever played, with Michigan State inexplicably clunking last season in a dead-legged 24-3 loss. The Huskers are 4-0 in the series with the first game played in 1995, a 50-10 win.

    Why Nebraska Might Win: Michigan State’s passing game had a strong 68 seconds against Wisconsin; it’s not exactly the Green Bay Packer air attack. The passing game is among the least efficient in America with no downfield production and not enough big plays from the targets, and there won’t be this week against a defense that’s ninth in America in pass efficiency defense helped out by a pass rush that’s getting behind the line on a regular basis. The Spartans might be good in pass protection, but the Huskers should be able to generate just enough pop to bother Andrew Maxwell and throw off whatever they try to do through the air.

    Why Michigan State Might Win: The Nebraska running game won’t be going anywhere. With Rex Burkhead still struggling through a knee injury, the running game hasn’t been the same over the last few weeks. The overall stats look better than the running game really is, with big numbers put up against Arkansas State and Idaho State, but the team can run – it’s not going to happen this week. Max Bullough and the defensive front has been a rock against the stronger running teams, stuffing Wisconsin for a net 19 yards – helped by five sacks – and have allowed just three touchdown runs on the season with Ohio State the only team to come up with more than 200 yards. However …

    What To Watch Out For: Michigan Denard Robinson came up with 96 yards against the Spartans and Ohio State’s Braxton Miller ran for 136 yards – both the Wolverines and Buckeyes won. Nebraska will try to win through the air, but Taylor Martinez will have to be the one who makes the running game work. Last year he only ran for 23 yards against MSU, and he only completed 7-of-13 passes for 80 yards with a touchdown and a pick, but he led the way to the win. This year he has been much more of a passer, but the team is 1-2 when he has thrown an interception and 6-0 when he doesn’t. MSU has only picked off two passes on the year with just three in the last eight games.

    What Will Happen: The Spartans will build off the momentum of last week’s big win to rise up and shut down the Nebraska offense. It’s not going to be a pretty game by any stretch in a typically low-scoring MSU way, but it’ll be a tough Big Ten slugfest.

    CFN Prediction: Michigan State 16 … Nebraska 13
    ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Nebraska -2 O/U: 44
    Must Watch Rating (5 – The Man With The Iron Fists, 1 –

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