Spring Practice Primer: Michigan State

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer


Spring football is in the air, and with our Spring Practice Primers the Eye On College Football Blog gets you up to speed on what to look for on campuses around the country this spring. Today we look at Michigan State.


Spring Practice Begins: Tuesday, March 27

Spring Game: Saturday, April 28

Returning Starters: Four on offense, eight on defense, both specialists

Three Things To Watch For:

1. Andrew Maxwell. There are going to be a lot of new faces on offense this season for Michigan State, but perhaps none wil be more important than the man under center. Kirk Cousins, who started the last three seasons, is gone and in his place steps Andrew Maxwell. Michigan State coaches are high on Maxwell thanks to what they've seen from him in practice the last couple seasons, but the fact remains he's only thrown 51 passes and a touchdown during his playing career, and has never had to be the leader on offense. He'll have to begin to show this spring that he can be the leader the Spartans are going to need.

2. Who will Maxwell throw to? Michigan State's four leading receivers in 2011, Keshawn Martin, B.J. Cunningham, Keith Nichol and Brian Linthicum are all gone, leaving a lot of inexperience on the Michigan State depth chart at receiver. The Spartans would get a big boost if receiver Deanthony Arnett receives his hardship waiver from the NCAA and is eligible to play this season. There's also receivers like Bennie Fowler and Tony Lippett -- recently converted back to receiver from cornerback -- who will have to step up this spring and prove they're capable. It would also help if tight end Dion Sims can emerge as more of a threat in the passing game after catching only 12 passes in 2011.

3. Who replaces Jerel Worthy? While the Spartans get 8 starters back on defense this season, one player they lose won't be easy to replace. Jerel Worthy will no longer be wreaking havoc on opposing offenses from the defensive tackle position and he won't be easy to replace. Anthony Rashad White is back at the other defensive tackle spot, but the Spartans also lost three other reserve tackles to graduation. Which leaves the team a bit thin at that spot. Can players like Vanderbilt transfer James Kittredge and Damon Knox step up?

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