With the first scrimmage of the fall officially in the books for #5 Michigan State, the Spartans come out with plenty of positives as well as plenty to work on with the start of the 2018 season set to kick off in just a few short weeks.
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio spoke with the media on Tuesday to discuss Friday’s scrimmage and the fall camp so far and said that he was pleased with the number of players who saw playing time and added that while the defense looked to be ahead of the curve, he also saw positives from the offense as well.
“Positives coming out of it, 100-plus plays easily, so we played a lot and got a lot of guys working,” he said. “Got a chance to get our younger players on film a lot. I thought that was important to see where they were at and where they stood up. Obviously, usually defense seems to be ahead of the offense a little bit in these situations, but there were some good things offensively too.”
Dantonio also added that the staff made a point to have the scrimmage to have more plays than what Michigan State typically runs to make sure that several of the young and inexperienced players were able to see the field.
“It was probably more plays than usual because we want to see our young players, our redshirt freshman and our true freshman, play,” he said. “We worked three groups.”
From an offensive perspective, it has been well documented that the Spartans return 10 of 11 starters from last year’s team and will be one of the most experienced offenses in the country heading into this season.
But as Dantonio said, it typically takes the offense a little longer than the defense to get in sync when fall practice begins, which is the case for the Spartans so far this fall.
Junior quarterback Brian Lewerke admitted that he would have liked to see more out of the offense in Friday’s scrimmage but understands that it’s not out of the ordinary for the offense to start slow in camp.
“It was a little frustrating for me, we still need to start clicking on offense, but that’s why we practice and why we’re out here,” he said. “There are things we can fix and hopefully we can do better at the next one. We couldn’t find a rhythm; pass the ball, run the ball. It’s typical with the offense though at a first scrimmage. We have sky-high expectations on offense and we want to live up to those.”
With two more scrimmages left before the start of the season, Lewerke also said that the Spartans’ next scrimmage is a crucial one for the offense to try and gain some momentum heading toward the beginning of the season.
“The last scrimmage is more of a rehearsal and for the two’s and three’s to get acclimated. The second one is the biggest one that we have and we definitely want to be able to win this one.”
After a strong showing from the defense in the first scrimmage of the fall, junior linebacker Joe Bachie said that the defensive unit is a confident group and was pleased by the defense’s effort as a whole.
“We don’t hold anything back,” he said. “A lot of guys got reps and they all played well. We played well as a team and as a defense.”
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