2007 Michigan State football preview
2006 Record: 4-8 (1-7 Big Ten)
Head Coach: Mark Dantonio
Drew Stanton - QB - Round 2 -Detroit
Cliff Ryan - DT - Round 5 - St. Louis
Brandon Fields - PT - Round 7 - Miami
Mark Dell WR - 6’1” - 175 - Farmington Hills, MI
Antonio Jeremiah - DT - 6'4” - 280 - Hilliard, OH
Arthur Ray Jr. - OL - 6'2” - 300 -Chicago, IL
Chris Rucker - DB - 6’1” - 185 - Warren, OH
Greg Jones - LB - 6’0” - 210 - Cincinnati, OH
Key Players Returning:
Javon Ringer - RB - Jr.
Jehuu Caulcrick - RB - Sr.
SirDarean Adams - LB - Sr.
Justin Kershaw – DT - Jr.
Kellen Davis - TE - Sr.
Roland Martin - OG - Jr.
Jesse Miller -OT - Jr.
Ervin Baldwin - DE - Sr.
Nehemiah Warrick - S - Sr.
Otis Wiley - S - Jr.
2007 Michigan State Offensive Outlook
Mark Dantonio steps into a difficult position as the new coach of the Spartans. Previous coach, John L. Smith, continually found ways to lose despite having high profile athletes. Dantonio arrives to an offense that will be run by a new quarterback and lost its top three receivers from 2006. Fortunately, the cupboard isn’t totally bare.
The Spartans have two very capable running backs in junior Javon Ringer and senior Jehuu Caulcrick. Ringer played in just eight games last year due to a knee injury, but he returned late in the season and will be ready to display his talents on the field in 2007. At 5’9” 200 pounds, Ringer has speed and power to carry the load for an entire game, but Caulcrick showed last year that he can be nice change of pace. Caulcrick brings a 255 pound frame into the mix and found the end zone six times in 2006. Dantonio will bring a focus back to the running game with Ringer and Caulcrick that should help the development of QB Bryan Hoyer.
Hoyer, a junior, replaces Drew Stanton as the new QB for the Spartans. Hoyer has a big arm and just one career start, although, experience should not be a factor. He saw action in eight games last year and completed 82 of 144 attempts with four touchdowns and three interceptions. It will be a slightly different situation for Hoyer now that he is the starter, but this area should not be a weakness for the Spartan offense.
The receiving corps has some questions because there isn’t an abundance of experience. Sophomore T.J. Williams enters the season as the apparent number one receiver, but time will tell who develops into Hoyer’s favorite target. Senior Terry Love will see plenty of action with the remaining receivers battling for playing time. Juniors Devin Thomas and Deon Curry will be pressed by incoming freshman Mark Dell. Dell is an outstanding athlete who too good to keep on the sidelines. TE Kellen Davis will look to be more involved in the passing game this year. Davis had 12 receptions for 125 yard and a TD in 2006.
The offensive line will have three returning starters in tackles Mike Gyetvai and Jesse Miller, and guard Roland Martin. Miller and Martin leave no questions on the right side of the line. With two seniors projected to enter as new starters the line should be solid. John Masters will step in as the new center, and Kenny Shane will fill the final guard position. Masters will need to get off to a solid start as he will be pushed by Mike Bacon and Pete Clifford. The Spartans have some depth considering senior Clifford has some starts under his belt due to an injury to Gyetvai last season.
Michigan State Defensive Outlook
Dantonio will bring a new attitude to the Spartans defense in 2007. Dantonio has piled up a track record as a defensive coach including the role as defensive coordinator for Ohio State's 2002 National Championship team.
The defensive will have two starters back from 2006 in senior DE Ervin Baldwin and junior DT Justin Kershaw. Baldwin led the team in sacks last season with four. Kershaw is valuable because he is interchangeable at all spots on the defensive line. Junior DE Brandon Long will have a new role as a starter, but he played in ten games last season. Long will be needed to apply pressure is passing situations. Ogemdi Nwagbuo also had plenty of game action last year and recorded 23 tackles.
The linebackers will be led by senior SirDaren Adams. Adams finished 2006 with 46 tackles, two interceptions, and one sack. Senior Kaleb Thornhill provided stability last year in the middle and should be just as consistent in 2007. Freshman Jon Misch and sophomore Andrew Hawken look to fill the final linebacker position. Hawken has game experience, but Misch has shown the ability to step in and assume the starting role.
The defensive secondary has two solid starters returning safeties Otis Wiley and Nehemiah Warrick. Wiley led the team in tackles last season with 94, and Warrick totaled 45. Although the Spartans only had eight interceptions as a team in 2006, the lack of quarterback pressure was a major factor. The defensive line will need to get into the backfield more often this season to assist the secondary. Junior Kendall Davis-Clark played in all 12 games for the Spartans in 2006 and assumes one of the starting cornerback positions. Davis-Clark had 39 tackles last year and has the speed to keep up with fast receivers. Sophomores Ashton Henderson and Ross Weaver each have a shot at the final spot in the secondary. Despite an ankle injury that sidelined him for the entire 2006 season, Weaver has decent size at 6’1” and should be starting at CB.
Michigan State Special Teams
Sophomore Brett Swenson had an impressive freshman season and should bring
reliability this year to the kicking unit. He showed consistency in kicking
field goals, something that had been missing in the past. Freshman Aaron Bates
is the leading candidate to handle the punting and is a possible option for
kickoffs as well.
Terry Love will handle the punt returns. Love could also return kickoffs along with a number of others including Ringer.
2007 MSU Football Prediction
The fans in East Lansing are itching for a turnaround season under Mark
Dantonio. Dantonio has a clean slate entering his first year, but after a number
of years of underachieving it is time for the Spartans to get back to their
winning ways. A bowl game doesn’t appear to be in the big picture this year, but with a number of unknowns on both sides of the ball anything is possible. It is conceivable that the Spartans could start the season with three wins before their schedule starts to beef up. With a renewed focus, six wins would be nice first year for Dantonio to get the program back on the winning track.
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