Saturday, January 9, 2010

2012 Season Preview

Last Season:
  The 2010 season went as expected. MSU lost the big three games @ ND, UofM, and PSU but manage to dominate in the remaining games, with the exception of the opener against BYU. A 9-4 record propelled the Spartans to the Outback Bowl against Auburn. Keith Nichol delivered probably his finest performance of his career in the bowl game to lead MSU to a convincing win.

The 2011 Season:

       Key Departures:
             QB Keith Nichol
             WR BJ Cunningham
             WR Fred Smith
             WR Keyshawn Martin
             WR Chris R Rucker
             TE Garret Celek
             HB Edwin Baker (Jr)
      The offense is a complete unknown heading into the 2011 season with the departures of Nichol, the top 4 WRs, top TE, and Doak Walker award winner Edwin Baker leaving early. QB Andrew Maxwell steps into the starting role, one that he is not unfamiliar with. Maxwell has 10 starts under his belt due to numerous injuries to Nichol over the past two seasons. Replacing the WRs is going to be the biggest issues. Juniors Dana Dixon and Donald Spencer replace Cunningham and Smith, but neither of them have seen significant playing time in their careers. True freshman Andy Little looks to make an impact in the group, and Sophomore Jamie Hobbs moves back to WR after playing CB last season. The Spartans should be fine at HB, with Junior Larry Caper stepping into Baker's shoes. Caper may actually be more of a complete back than Baker. At TE, Deon Sims reclaims the starting spot he lost to Celek last season and looks to use his experience to propel him to the next level.

      Key Departures:
         SS Dylan Thompson
         DT Kevin Pickleman
         DE David Rolf
    The defense looks much like last seasons squad with a few less holes. The secondary has been shored up for the time being, with FS Trenton Robinson finally making the permanent switch to CB. Senior linebacker Chris Norman anchors a very solid LB crew while FS preseason all-american Brynden Trawick looks to pick up where he left off last year. The defensive line remains the major question mark after loosing three players to graduation.

   Special Teams:
      Key Departures:
          K/P Aaron Bates
          KR Chris Rucker
          KR Andre Anderson
     Special teams is the weakest part of the team. K Todd Kramer has well documented leg strength problems, and P John Harmon is stepping into a new role. The Spartans lack a true kick returner and will try to rely on backup HB Caulton Ray to carry the load.