Clubhouse leaders at WR likely to be who you'd expect at this point:
There's not much returning production at WR, but what little there is seems to have helped in gaining the top reps with Mawell during Day 1. Fowler, Mumphery, and Lippett were the trio most prominently mentioned, with Arnett, who was relatively anonymous during the Spring, also getting a shout-out from Coach D. Maxwell's familiarity with those first three names on scout and 2nd string teams, in addition to their off-season work, should pay dividends, and (though I don't want to read to far into this) considering all the factors, I'd be pretty surprised if MSU's first three wide receiver set vs Boise State was anybody other than Fowler, Mumphery, and Lippett
The Junior quarterback had this to say about Fowler's health:
"Bennie has regained the form he displayed two years ago. He really started coming on strong about a month-and-a-half ago, during our summer 7-on-7 workouts. I'm happy for him to be fully healthy and back in the lineup. He's been battling that foot injury for a long time, so it's great to see him running around again and making plays down the field. Bennie will be a key playmaker for our team."
Watching Fowler's foot injury sideline him again and again over the past (what, three years?) has been very frustrating (I can only imagine how he feels). Hopefully those troubles are finally behind him, because he's shown himself to be a versatile, explosive, player when he's healthy.
Easing them in
Well, as much as running them through like, a bunch of conditioning in the Summer heat is 'easing them in':
Under mostly cloudy skies and temperatures near 90, sixth-year Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio sent his team through a 2-hour and 40-minute workout in helmets, jerseys and shorts on the grass practice fields behind the Duffy Daugherty Football Building
This will keep going for another day before they ratchet up to full pads by the middle of next week:
The Spartans will practice again in shorts on Sunday, Aug. 5. Michigan State will conduct its annual Media Day on Monday, Aug. 6 followed by its first practice in shells. After one more day in shells, the Spartans will don full pads for the first time on Wednesday, Aug. 8.
These 'no pads' days presumably are little easier on the players and lessens the risk of a bundle of nervous energy flying around and hurting a fellow player on the first day, or of a player being negatively affected by the heat and strain of the workout. I'm fairly certain this is standard practice among football teams, but nonetheless, good call by coaches on 'tiering' these early workouts.
Arthur Ray Jr. update:
As I'm sure you've heard by now, Ray is not on the 105 man roster for this camp. I don't think this is surprising when you listened to Dantonio's public comments on Ray over the past couple weeks, but at least for me, this would still be an unsatisfying way for Ray's relationship with MSU football to end. There's been lively debate about this already and I'll just reiterate my opinion that while this decision is understandable from a football standpoint, it's still a little disappointing for everyone who is a fan of Arthur Ray and his story. At the very least, you have to concede that the timing of the announcement is bad. Though I can see the reasoning behind the decision, I still don't think it was handled especially well by Dantonio.
And, there's still this strange quote from the head coach in regards to Ray's situation provided in the above linked article (emphasis mine):
"That's a conversation that's relatively private between he and I," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said as his team began its first practice. "He will be in school and he will play football again. So we'll see."
Does he mean with MSU? Does he mean somewhere else?
Contrary to what I wrote (and thought) earlier, Ray hasn't graduated yet (he's set to graduate this Winter), so, at the least, MSU had damn well live up to that part of the scholarship bargain (it looks like it is, for the record). Also, while it's not out of the ordinary for a player who isn't going to see any playing time to sit down with the coaches and agree that it's for the best to forgo their final redshirt senior year, it is out of the ordinary for that process to happen so late in the summer, and for it to play out in the press like this. Weird saga is weird.
If I had to guess, the future is probably that Ray finishes out his degree at MSU this Fall and then would be immediately eligible to play for the next season or two at whatever school he transfers to (a la Brandon Wood), if he chooses to do that. It sure seems unlikely that we'll see him in Green and White again. In the meantime, I don't expect we'll get a clearer answer from Dantonio than what he said above. I think I can speak for everyone when I wish Mr. Ray the best of luck wherever his future takes him, and that I'll be rooting for him to succeed.
Corey Freeman also missing from fall practice roster
A practice report had this to say:
Freeman, a two-year letterwinner at defensive end, is still recovering from knee surgery. Freeman suffered the injury in spring practice and missed the Green-White Game on April 28.
"(Corey's) able to do some things, but not all things," remarked Dantonio. "We can't put him in a contact situation right now. He'll have to rehab it and see where it comes. Hopefully he can come a ways. That's a decision that's going to be made at a later time, not now."
This is much clearer statement and understandable omission. Freeman, a senior, hasn't had much production over the past two years (11 career tackles) but he has been efficient in his limited production on the field (3.5 career TFL)
It seems like 1 of 3 things happens here: Freeman recovers to rejoin the team in a few weeks/months, he sits out the year and rejoins the team next season, or he retires from football if the injury is serious enough. We'll see.
On the morning conditioning test...
"We're never 100 percent (on players passing the conditioning test). You got some guys out there at 315 pounds, 320, and it's difficult to run and make the whole test. But for the most part usually we're in the 90 percentile, which is good and were we've always pretty much been. We've held a couple of guys back a little bit because of a hamstring or whatever, so there's those things as well. I would say 90-plus players made the 20-interval test."
Bad news: No explicit reports of 300 pound terrorbeasts finishing their 20 gassers without even needing to catch their breath at the end of them. Good news: The man who got that report a couple years ago (A.R. White) is now a Senior starter and is probably snacking on the weight plates from a squat machine as we speak.
Can be found here.
Watch and be amazed as:
-Niko Palazetti paves the way through some hazardous inflatable step things for running back, uh, *checks roster* Tony Fant.
-Kurtis Drummond runs a half circle around some big foam cone thing. HELL YEAH.
-The starting center and right side of the line go all "GRAWR, RAWR" on a couple dudes holding little foam shields
-Lots of dudes running gassers. Someone jumps offside, and hey, no one told me Jerel Worthy came back for this!
-Still running gassers. Boy, that just looks awful.
-*Gasp* It's Andrew Maxwell. Wait, he's simulating dropping back for a pass but isn't throwing the ball! This could only mean- ***BREAKING*** ANDREW MAXWELL CANNOT RAISE HIS ARMS ABOVE HIS CHEST ***BREAKING***
-Keith Mumphery stutter steps, and then cuts. Andre Sims Jr. stutter steps, and then cuts. DeAnthony Arnett stutter steps, and then cuts. Whose step was the stutteriest? THIS COULD HAVE IMPORTANT IMPLICATIONS FOR THE TEAM'S SEASON!
-Andrew Maxwell surrounded by his teammates, does that Drew Brees call-and-response thing that almost always sounds cool. It sounds cool.
Annnnd scene. Is there a single valuable piece of football information in any of those clips? Haha no. Did I watch that video like, 2-3 times anyways just to make sure? Yup. Fall camp y'all.
IMPORTANT EAGLE COUNCIL NEWS NOW!!!
Is that like the Unity Council?
Yeah, probably a little bit, but with likely way more eating of live small animals:
On whether Max Bullough, Andrew Maxwell and Chris Norman are among that group of leaders...
"Yeah, they're a pretty good example. We choose what we call our Eagle Council now...we choose that council about five or six times a year. So it's pretty indicative of exactly who is leading on our football team. Those are three guys that have demonstrated that they can lead."
THESE SPARTAN DAWGS HAVE BECOME AIRBORNE AND OH SHIT THEY'RE DIVE BOMBING YOUR FUCKING FACE, SON. SKREEEEEEEE-
As it seemed to me that over the years the vital input of the Unity Council seemed necessary only when Dantonio was about to make unpopular decisions guaranteed to give the program a solid week of bad press, hopefully we will hear relatively little of the deeds of this shadow body.
More from what is sure to be another action-packed day of Fall Camp tomorrow.