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B10 Roundtable: 2013 Post-Spring Edition

  • SpartanTailgate


    My apologies for not getting one of these together sooner: work/personal life has been kind of nuts the past few months. Anyways, since we're now a few weeks post-spring game for all the teams, I thought this would be a nice way to get some football discussion going for the conference.

    Here are the posters agreed upon during Blue Board discussion, but all are welcome.

    Illinois: No one
    Indiana: Old Oaken
    Ohio State: BBucksorBGone8?
    Penn State: psu2013
    Purdue: No one
    Wisconsin: dustelli


    Iowa: dkhawkeye7
    Michigan: Blue2468 / xxmgobluexx
    MSU: SpartanRocky
    Minnesota: No one
    Nebraska: Stoobie
    Northwestern: no one

    Moderator/host: Steve Wiltfong

    This is meant to be a civil, informative discussion about how your team looks so far this spring. We'll start off with a position by position look at the teams in the spring, starting on offense.

    If you're not a fan of the Big Ten and flame this thread, your post will be deleted immediately. This RoundTable was created so Big Ten fans could learn more about each program outside of their own favorite school.

    With this being post-spring, I figure we'll handle the big picture questions.

    1. What were your team's major concerns heading into the spring?

    2. What, if any, concerns were lessened in the spring?

    3. What, if any, concerns remain heading into fall?

    4. What newcomers stood out in the spring that other Big 10 fans may not be aware of?

    5. Did your squad have any significant injuries in the spring? If so, who was injured and what's their time table for return?

    6. Did your team's spring make you more or less optimistic about your 2013 squad?

    7. Predict your team's 2013 record, game-by-game.

    It's my hope that this thread continues through the summer as kind of a "one-stop shop" for big 10 fans to update others about their squad

    Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.

  • SpartanTailgate


    For Michigan State

    1. The main concerns on offense were finding a viable RB to replace LeVeon Bell, a TE to replace Dion Sims, getting the offensive line cohesive and healthy and see if the QB/WRs made strides. On defense, the issues were replacing William Gholston (SDE) and Johnny Adams (BCB). Also, a kicker needed to emerge.

    2. The issues on defense were resolved pretty quickly; RS Soph Shilique Calhoun (6'4 255) won the SDE spot early in camp and RS Soph CB Trae Waynes (6'1 180) took over the BCB fairly easily. On offense, the 2 OL starters who were lost for the year last year (OT Fou Fonoti and C Travis Jackson) were both fully healthy and played in the spring game. WRs Aaron Burbridge and Keith Mumphery made strides.

    3. As you can probably tell, there are a lot of questions about the Offense. The leading rusher in the spring game was Riley Bullough (RS FR, 6'2 232), younger brother of MIKE Max Bullough, who had converted to RB 2 weeks prior. The other RBs, Nick Hill (RS JR, 5'7 190), Jeremy Langford (RS JR, 6'0 208) and Nick Tompkins (5'9 188) were not that impressive, though Tompkins did break a 30+ yard run. I do not believe there's a 20 carry/game RB on the roster right now.

    The TE situation was worse: not a single TE caught a pass in the spring game, though one catch was negated by a holding call and another by pass interference. RS FR Josiah Price (6'4 243) and Evan Jones (6'5 248) look a year away from contributing, RS Soph Paul Lang (6'5 260) sat out with an injury, leaving walk-on Andrew Gleichert (6'5 255) as the default starter. It doesn't look like a TE is going to replicate Dion Sims' 36 catches and 475 yards.

    The QB race is an actual race between Andrew Maxwell (RS SR, 6'3 209) and RS Soph Connor Cook (6'4 215). Maxwell had outperformed Cook in both scrimmages, but Cook threw better in the spring game. Further complicating matters is that Maxwell, despite a poor day statistically (9/20, 110 yards, 1 TD), ended up leading his team to 10 4th Q points and the eventual victory, while Cook's downfield passing was much better (11/26 217 yards, 1 TD). Cook did force some balls that may have been picked off. Watch this battle go down into fall camp; Maxwell has a slight overall lead.

    Finally, no K stood out. Incoming FR Michael Geiger was ranked the #1 K on 247 if you're the type that cares about rankings, and kicked a 56 yarder in a recent all-star game. Still, for a team that missed a FG in 4 of the 5 L's decided by 3 points or less, relying on a true FR is a dicey proposition.

    4. The guys that showed the most during the spring were mostly on defense: DE Calhoun and CB Waynes I talked about above. The safety position may be the deepest in the conference; last year's starter for the first 6 games at FS (Jairus Jones, RS SR, 6'1 210) was moved to LB to make room for RS FR Demetrious Cox (6'1 199) in the 4-man S rotation. LB-turned-FB-turned DT Lawrence Thomas (6'3 300) started playing DT for the first time this spring and has pushed his way into the top 4 (MSU rotates the top 4 heavily during games). WR DeAnothy Arnett (JR, 5'11 175), who had been cited as inconsistent for most of his career, had 2 of the best catches in the spring game, including a 22 yard TD grab between 2 defenders.

    The final name is RS FR former walk-on OT Jack Conklin (6'6 310). He's pushing to be the #2 LT behind Fonoti this fall and was credited by Will Gholston as the toughest MSU OT to get around prior to the bowl game practices, which Gholston said prepped him for his strong bowl performance.

    5. Fortunately/unfortunately, all the major injuries happened during the 2012 season: the aforementioned Fonoti and Jackson made full recoveries, C/OG Jack Allen had shoulder surgery, as did starting SAM Denicos Allen (5'11 220); both Allens have been cleared for summer workouts. RT Burkland (RS JR 6'7 315) and RG Dan France (RS SR 6'6 316) sat out the spring game, but are apparently fine. Shilique Calhoun was injured during the spring game (ankle), but later was able to walk under his own power. CB Ezra Robinson (6'0 178) injured his knee; I do not know the status on his return, but he's the #3 CB behind Waynes and returning starter Darqueze Dennard (SR 5'11 188), who made a cameo as a PR in the spring game.

    6. I left spring ball feeling about the same as I did when MSU started: the defense will be outstanding and the offense still needs to take some steps forward to expect any sort of improved 2013 record. Summer development is going to be huge. The schedule is about as favorable as possible though, dropping Wisconsin and Ohio State for games vs. Purdue and @Illinois.


    WMU - W
    South Florida - W
    Youngstown State - W
    @Notre Dame - Loss
    @Iowa - W
    IU - W
    Purdue - W
    @IL - W
    Michigan - W
    @Nebraska - L
    @Northwestern - L
    Minnesota - W

    9-3 (6-2). Toss-ups are vs. UM, Nebraska and Northwestern; the byes really help MSU in those games. I think Notre Dame is as sure an L as there is on the schedule. I think MSU and UM trade home W's for awhile. Flipping tOSU at home for Purdue is worth a home W. IU is probably going to be closer than MSU fans want to admit. I think Iowa continues to slide. Best case is 11-1 (8-0), worst case I see 6-6 (3-5), with Ls to Iowa, IU, Michigan, Nebraska and Northwestern.

    Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.

  • Concerns- Interior OL, WR, RB. I think the OL will sort itself out, the other positions scare me. Although there is talent there, just very young talent. Pass rush (or lack there of) is concerning as well.

    I wouldn't say any concerns were lessened for me personally. Spring is always full of hype. Your weaknesses from last season all turn into strengths if you listen to Spring hype lol. I guess if people thought Gardner was a concern that would be the answer. I've had faith in him since last year though.

    I think Jarrod Wilson is a guy who will step up big time. He was fairly highly recruited, but not sure many people would think of him as a major contributor. Sounds like he has had a great spring, and has a great future. Once again though, we will see when he steps out on the field and proves it. James Ross was a big time recruit, and he's going to be a big time player. Willie Henry is another one, lots of hype surrounding his game, lets see if it's just talk.

    Jake Ryan tore his ACL. Huge loss, could be back by mid-season the staff has said. I'd rather he waits to come back full strength. Michigan has depth there, but Ryan was the only proven pass rusher on the roster IMO. Probably the best defender on Michigan, and you could argue the best player on the team perhaps. Sucks to lose Ryan for sure.

    Spring didn't change anything for me. Michigan has it's strengths and weaknesses just like everyone else. I think there is a lot of talent on this team, but I think it's very young talent so despite the soft schedule I'm still not expecting "the world". Michigan will be a good team, but still a year or two away from being very good or great teams.

    I'm at work and I'm too lazy to look up schedule on this slow computer. I think Michigan goes 9-3 when all is said and done. 8-4 to 10-2 would be their range IMO. @MSU, @PSU, OSU, Nebraska, ND will all be competitive games and I think they lose a couple of those obviously. Michigan does play well at home and that is a huge benefit for them obviously, as their toughest games are at the Big House.

    All 5 of those are toss ups though.

    Some other Michigan fans can chime in obviously. These are just quick thoughts I came up with while bored and with my boss away for the day,

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  • thanks for starting up again. I will try to throw something together tonight.

  • I would think that if you're a Michigan State fan, you would have to be concerned about the coaching. In particular, the head coach and offensive coaching staff. You had talent on offense last year, but didn't produce so you add Bollman to the staff? Dantonio needs an offensive guru, not Bollman.

  • SpartanTailgate


    I don't know about other MSU fans, but I'm cautiously optimistic that Dantonio can utilize Bollman similar to how Tressel did.

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    laconophilia is everywhere...

  • I hate MSU.

    But Dantonio has done a pretty good job there. Questioning him seems pretty stupid honestly.

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  • Just an FYI, there is a Purdue board now, so you might be able to find someone to help out with covering them.

  • My team should be obvious. Some answers:

    1. In terms of depth, OL and LB. We have something like 4 scholarship LB's with one coming in the fall. One was injured during the spring. OL doesn't have great depth, but we've got a solid first five. The main issue is RT, which is manned by Adam Gress. There's some chatter that he's improved, but he didn't look good during the spring game. It's possible that converted TE Garry Gilliam (injured during spring) could earn the spot there.

    For just starters, QB, LB, and DT. QB is obvious - McGloin gone, new guy taking over. Looks like Ferguson (JUCO transfer) right now, but we'll see what kind of a fight Hackenberg can put up. LB - already discussed, but we are replacing our two OLB's (Hodges, Mauti both gone to the Vikings). Mike Hull played a decent amount last year and is expected to be one starting OLB. Nyeem Wartman is a very athletic LB who looks to be playing well. He's a RS FR - actually played a little last year, his true freshman year, but was injured early and got the redshirt. Ben Kline is the backup currently, and incoming freshman Brandon Bell should see the field. DT - DaQuan Jones is a senior, but hasn't flashed that standout ability our DT's have shown prior to breakout years. The other DT is Austin Johnson, an athletic redshirt freshman who has reportedly stood out. So some of the worries have been relieved there.

    2. DT was lessened, thanks to Austin Johnson. Ferguson looked good at QB, would be great if he could get his consistency down.

    3. A consistent starting QB, and a healthy LB corps, along with someone good at RT (really hoping Gilliam steps up, since he has two more years left and can solidify the position while we rebuild the OL).

    4. Austin Johnson at DT. Richy Anderson at slot WR. Trevor Williams at CB.

    5. Nothing significant IIRC. Everyone who is injured should be back for fall.

    6. Neither, really. I think the squad is in a decent place. No glaring deficiencies in the starting lineup.

    7. Oy. Really don't like to do these this early.

  • So ferguson was there for spring ball. If so, seems unlikely for a true frosh to come in and beat him out I would think. At least this year anyway. If he does, I would say the Hackenberg kid is the real deal

  • SpartanTailgate


    To add to the guys above, Bollman isn't going to be calling plays on game-day. He'll contribute to the game plan during the week, as well as coach TEs/OL.

    Really, I think he was brought in to help the OL out more than anything else. Dave Warner is calling the plays, so that's the ??? this year. First year play caller for the 2nd time in 3 years.

    Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.

  • SpartanTailgate


    I saw there's a Northwestern board, but right now it's just Wiltfong posting articles lol

    Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.

  • SpartanTailgate


    What's the overall DT and DL depth look like for PSU?

    What's the overall team depth looking like? I think I read that you guys are down to 67 scholarship players this fall. Any walk (run?) - ons making some noise? MSU has 3 walk-ons that may contribute this year: WR AJ Troup, OT Jack Conklin and LB Kyler Elsworth. Elsworth was the #2 SAM last year and is the #2 MIKE right now; he's actually seen a fair amount of PT. Troup broke his leg during HS; he was recruited by Minny and Wisky before the injury. Conklin I already talked about.

    Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.

  • The board is named Cat Fancy. I posted there. It got deleted.

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    "As far as the downvotes. It's a gnat biting an lion" -- A member of tRCMB Justice League, taking the internet WAY WAY too seriously.

  • Lions247


    1. RT, QB, and DT. Depth at LB & OL to a certain degree.

    2. I'd say DT was solved. Austin Johnson looked real good. Big strong kid. Probably about 6'4 305. He's a RS FR & looks like he could be a real good player now & for the future. QB wasn't lessened, but it seems as though Ferguson did player a bit better than Bench who has since transferred.

    3. QB is still a concern. No matter who we start in the fall, it will be his first time taking a snap in a NCAA game. He will have a stable of good RBs, a strong receiving core at both WR & TE, and a good OL in front of him though. RT is still a concern, as converted TE Gilliam was injured early on & was shut down for the rest of the spring. RS SR Adam Gress manned the position, and although played better than previous years, still struggled.

    4. Akeel Lynch a 6'0 215 RB with 4.5 speed. Austin Johnson DT as stated above. OLB Nyweem Wartman a RS FR at 6'2 235. Trevor Williams (6'1 190) who played WR last year but will be at CB this season. True freshman slot WR Richie Anderson also performed well.

    5. No significant injuries. RB Zach Zwinak injured his wrist but will be ready to go by Syracuse. Rest of the squad will be ready for the start of training camp.

    6. About the same. Maybe a little bit more optimistic. I like what we did in our secondary by moving Trevor Williams over to CB, thus letting Adrian Amos move to safety. Also was happy to see Jordan Lucas man the other CB spot. Our defensive backs should be real good, and it's a position we have depth too. I'm just happy to see no injuries.

    7. I think every game is winnable. OSU, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Nebraska obviously the tough ones. UCF & Indiana will be no cake walks either. I see 8-4 or 9-3.

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  • I would tend to agree. Others on the Penn State board seem to think the stage is set for Hack. Personally, I'd like to redshirt Hack, but given our current depth, it would be difficult.

  • Haha, that's what the Purdue board was like for a while, but they found a couple guys to run it. Haven't visited it in a little while, so not sure of the traffic, but it was doing decently for a fledgling board last I knew.

  • SpartanTailgate


    Yea, I just posted this over there. Hopefully someone chimes in. MSU hasn't played Purdue since 2010 and I tend to pay less attention to Big 10 teams not on the schedule (shocking, I know).

    BTW, I'm glad the MSU - PSU series is going to be an every-year affair again. We mock the land grant trophy a lot, but now that it's been a couple of years, I'm looking forward to seeing you guys back on the schedule. Who knows? Maybe, with MD coming on board and BOB keeping the ship afloat, the MSU - PSU game will actually turn into a decent rivalry, a la PSU - Iowa in the 2000s.

    Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.

  • Yeah I'm of the let them play mentality. Tell kids that you're recruiting that we don't redshirt very often here, here you play as frosh. I don't think it helps a kid with that much talent to sit the bench. Let him play, and go and recruit his replacement the next year.

  • DE:
    Deion Barnes (RS Soph., Big Ten defensive freshman of the year last year) - Not worried about him at all, kid has some developing to do, but he's flashed very well.
    Anthony Zettel (RS Soph.) - another guy who flashed last year, not as much as Barnes, though. Could play inside in passing situations.
    CJ Olaniyan (RS Jr.) - He's OK, should be solid as a rotational player.
    Brad Bars (RS Jr.) - Could play in the rotation. Reasonably athletic, but not shown enough to say he'll be good.

    DaQuan Jones (Senior). Tall, long, and will hopefully break out this year. Always had talent, but never taken it to the next level.
    Austin Johnson (RS Fr) - already discussed above.
    Kyle Baublitz (RS Jr.) - has some experience, hasn't stood out either in a bad way or good way. Should provide good depth.
    Derek Dowrey (RS Fr) - second of three redshirt freshman. Wide body, solid player from what we've heard. Haven't seen enough to go on him.
    Brian Gaia (RS Fr) - you can see now we're young at DT. Coaches like his motor, but haven't heard anything else to make him stand out.

    Basically, we should have 3-4 guys play regularly at DE and 4 guys play at DT. Pretty typical rotation for Larry Johnson.

    Linebacker is where our walk-ons should contribute. Though hopefully they won't have to see the field much. There's been a number of guys mentioned at that position, but apparently Charles Idemudia practiced well last year. Two others are DB's - Ryan Keiser (safety) and Jesse Della Valle (CB/S/punt returner). Apparently there's a WR who has shown well and is pretty fast - Deshawn Baker. Don't really expect him to play a lot this year, though.

    Overall, depth is solid. LB and OL are the issues. We've got about 8 OL who could play decently now and only 5 scholarship LB's (including a freshman who isn't on campus yet) who could play. We go two deep everywhere except those positions. CB is an issue with experience too, I will add, though we've got numbers there, especially if we need Adrian Amos to move back from safety.

  • i know im not the suggested uw person but thought about giving my input

    1) a)who will be starting qb- return stave and phillips and have juco transfer tanner mcevoy coming in june. Danny o'brien and bart houston will get a chance but really its the first 3.
    b) secondary graduated 3/4 with nothing but youth coming to replace.
    c) wr production after jared abbredaris
    d) new coaches
    2) spring saw the transition to the 3-4 and change in practice habits with new coach to more uptempo. Secondary seemed pretty good with Jean, Hillary and freshman Sojourn Shelton stepping up and Dezmond Southworthe at safety is ready to make his name. Stave and phillips seperated themselves with stave taking a slight lead into fall.
    3) biggest concern is the lack of wr help for jared and while kenzel doe had flashes they will be counting on incoming recruit rob wheelwright to step in and make plays. Also the change to 3-4 defense is still a concern because a couple of starters were out most of camp/some of camp.
    4) cb sojourn shelton will be one to watch as will redshirt freshman lb vince biegel coming off the edge.
    5) david gilbert quit due to foot injury that would never fully heal otherwise minor injuries that all will be back for fall.
    6) with change in new coaching staff would be easy to say they didn't look good but they looked alive. Open practices and spring game were very vanilla in terms of play calling on both sides. The one worry I have is how the 3-4 defense will do.
    7) umass-w
    Tennessee tech-w
    @arizona st- if 3-4 defense isn't working out yet I see it being a loss. First true test of the year
    @osu- could go either way.
    Northwestern- if it were on the road I'd lean more towards a loss since uw always has a hard time down there but being at home W

  • Lions247


    Bills, we have 5 scholarship LBs: Carson, Hull, Wartman, Kline, and Wooten. We'll add Bell this summer so 6 heading into the season.

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  • So you have UW losing one, maybe two games....really...

  • Lions247


    I'm happy to play MSU again as well. I like to see three other teams in the Big Ten do well: Northwestern, Purdue, and Michigan State. Trying to make a trip up to East Lansing one of these years.

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  • Look at their schedule and tell me where the losses will come from aside osu or asu? If northwestern or psu was on the road i would say those could happen but not at minny, illinois or iowa. Their offense returns quite a bit and their qb situation is good but have to figure out who will start. Could be said with incoming rb corey clement that rb situation won't miss a beat since gordon will get more carries. They return their entire dl minus gilbert who was injured most last year and only lost taylor at lb.

  • You're right, I forgot about Wooten.