Drew Stanton and Cliff Ryan show why MSU football had to change

Allen Park, MI

Lions Rookie Mini-Camp

Listening before the draft to NFL scouts it was pretty amazing to hear them talk about Drew and Cliff. Both great kids and both MSU captains that at least as a self admitted Spartan fan had to get considerable consideration from NFL clubs.

At the combine I told you that a lot of teams had their eye on Drew. They loved the guts and they loved the fire. Sadly, they didn’t love his technique. One AFC scout at the time told me “there is no wonder why MSU had such a terrible program, you can’t have a kid with that great of an attitude and that much talent have the fundamentals of a sophomore in high school. Whoever was responsible for that should be ashamed of themselves and it isn’t a stretch to see why that staff got canned.” OUCH. Sadly however that was the thought process of many of the teams I talked with.

Sadly you heard the same things when people talked about Cliff Ryan. One AFC team that really liked Cliff and had made the decision to pick him but the Rams beat them to it told me “you could see on the tape when they had coach Strip before he left for Michigan that he was progressing. After Strip left he never improved and went backwards. We had concerns until we realized that kid would run through a brick wall if you told him to. Put him at UM with Strip for four years and he would have been a second rounder at least.”

Yesterday at Lions rookie mini-camp Stanton talked a lot more about Martz overhauling him. "I could stand here for an hour and write a book on it and tell you guys about it. There are a lot of things; from your feet to your eyes to the way I hold the ball. All those things that he's taught all the quarterbacks that have had success; now I just need to really hammer it home and get it through repetition." When pressed about the specifics of what Martz is trying to change Drew bluntly said, "He's changing everything. It's a lot - but you can see the success rate when you start doing what he's telling you. I've just got to keep doing that and then progress and get better with it."
For a young man that has always succeeded Drew was his usual transparent self when asked if he was surprised they wanted to change so much. "A little bit, but I think when he explains everything and breaks it down, it makes sense why you should adjust and all of those things. He kind of just breaks it down simplistically by saying it's kind of like objects in movement and momentum and inertia and all of those things. An understanding of why everything works and how it works together is just something that I need to build on."
Martz didn’t even try to play nice he was blunt that things had to change for Drew. "He's had a fat hand on the ball, so he kind of pushes it. He's got a live wrist, so when he gets his hand placement right, the ball snaps out of there pretty good. He wants to drill it in there," Martz said. "He's not ready for that yet. But he will be."
Make no mistake about it Ryan and Stanton will be fine. I just have to admit that as a Spartan fan it is embarrassing that great kids that picked MSU didn’t get back from the old regime what they gave.Thankfully that will change with Dantonio and that alone is a great upgrade!