East Lansing– As Michigan State returned to the football field following the 2018 campaign with the hopes of returning to the Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff, it’s starts with the annual spring game.
For football junkies it’s an early look at what is to come with promise and intrigue leading up until kickoff in late August. The defense took this years game with a 42-26 final with an abbreviated scoring system. If Michigan State is to return to the Big Ten Championship game and win the Big Ten East they will need the offense to completely reset and just be average to compliment one of the best defenses in the country year in and out.
Brian Lewerke is the guy and there isn’t much question in that as he showed the arm strength is back like of 2 years ago. Being hampered with a shoulder injury for the good portion of last season derailed not only his confidence but any flow of the offense. But looking 100 percent or close to it he slung it around through strong winds going 14 for 20 and 181 yards with 2 TDs and 1 INT. He showed a quick release and confidence in moving the ball downfield and trusting his arm. For the backup quarterback spot it’s between Rocky Lombardi and Theo Day and both need to be ready to show something for the future with Lewerke being in his senior year.
Who Starts at RB
Entering the 2018 season the thought was LJ Scott and that was all but after suffering an injury early on they had to go to a committee approach with a slew of unproven backs. Connor Heyward and Ladarius Jefferson became the top backs by default and never got things rolling to help move the football.
Michigan State’s anemic offense can be blamed on a plethora of things but what they have always done well when successful is run the football. Last year they finished 114th out of 129 FBS teams when it came to rushing for a putrid 124.7 yards/game and that needs to change this year. With an offensive line that had a new combination every week it seemed with all returners back who under performed and a shift in coaching on that side of the ball should prompt for a substantial improvement.
True freshmen Anthony Williams turned heads showing speed and open field ability comparable to Jeremy Langford. His vision and ability to catch the ball is giving him a real look to take the starting spot. Between Heyward and Jefferson, I just don’t see enough to warrant being explosive enough and having natural instincts to be a bell cow. Jefferson could be suited better elsewhere on the field potentially with his freak athleticism. It will be one of the position battles to watch as summer camp moves along and will be interesting who will walk through the door that is wide open for 250 carries and a chance to lead this offense back to the heights of the 2014-2015 seasons.
Tony is a SUNY Brockport alum and joined Saturday Tailgate in 2019. He covers all things Michigan State and Big Ten.