Spring Practice Primer: Michigan State Spartans

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer

College football never ends, and during the next few weeks teams will be getting ready for the 2013 season in their spring practice sessions. Here's a look at the Michigan State Spartans and what they'll be working on this spring.

Alabama and Virginia Tech will play for the
Andrew Maxwell will have to fight for his job this spring. (USATSI)

Spring practice began: March 19

Spring game: April 20

2012 record: 7-6

Returning starters: 15 (eight offense, seven defense)

The Least You Should Know About Michigan State This Spring

-- There is a lot of offense to replace. You see that Michigan State has eight starters returning on offense, but that's a bit misleading. It's the players who won't be back who matter in this case. Le'Veon Bell totalled 1,960 yards last season, which accounted for 42 percent of Michigan State's total offensive yards in 2012. Bell was also responsible for 92 percent of Michigan State's rushing attack and 56 percent of the touchdowns the Spartans scored. Bell's backup at running back, Larry Caper, was responsible for 108 of the 149 rushing yards that Spartans-not-named-Le'Veon-Bell rushed for. Combine that with the departure of tight end Dion Sims -- 36 receptions, 475 yards, two touchdowns -- and Michigan State has to replace the majority of its offensive production.

-- Which means new offensive coordinator Jim Bollman has a tough job. Bollman replaces Dan Roushar, and he's taking over an offense that not only lost half of its production but one that finished at or near the bottom of the Big Ten in a lot of offensive categories last season.

-- Andrew Maxwell is fighting for his job. Maxwell started all 13 games last year, but he enters his senior season with some competition. It was Connor Cook who replaced Maxwell against TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and helped lead the Spartans to victory. Combine that with the fact that Maxwell only completed 52.5 percent of his passes with an efficiency rating of 107.13 last season, and the truth is there should be competition for the starting job in East Lansing. A competition that will also include incoming freshman Damion Terry once he reaches campus in the summer.

-- It wasn't just the offense that lost key players. The Spartans lose four starters on defense with the biggest losses being defensive end William Gholston and cornerback Johnny Adams. Both players were key reasons why the Spartans' defense has been one of the best in the Big Ten in recent years, and they won't be easily replaced. The good news is guys like linebackers Max Bullough and Denicos Allen return.

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