A position-by-position look at the 2013 Spartans. Since the quarterbacks are going to draw the most ire, I'm working backward. Last up: quarterbacks! Previously: defensive line, linebackers, defensive backs, offensive line, running backs, wide receivers, special teams, tight ends
Here we go.
The QB battle lasted all the way up to the final week of camp, which was longer than I expected, but the final result was what I think most of us expected. While many of you are upset about that, it's important to remember a few things.
First, the obvious one. Only the coaches have seen all of these guys. We've seen Maxwell for a full season with broken pieces around him, a couple drives for Connor Cook, the spring game with redshirt freshman Tyler O'Connor and nothing from true freshman Damion Terry. So we're not in a position to judge who is better. Honestly, redshirting Terry would mean the players ahead of him did well. This would be a good thing.
Second, the leash on Maxwell is going to be much shorter. Last year, Maxwell was the only real option. You can point to Cook's (questionable) bowl performance, but he only had one year in the offense heading into the season. When it mattered most, Dantonio went with Cook for the final drive in Tempe. Not playing Cook earlier was a mistake that the coaches admitted, but they didn't expect nearly every game to come down to the wire. If MSU had taken care of Eastern Michigan, Indiana and Iowa like they should have, a backup would have been be better-prepared. Although Maxwell is starting right now, a starter for 2014 will be prepared.
As one reader pointed out in another thread, Dantonio hasn't been overly loyal to players. Larry Caper did well in 2009, but was overtaken by Edwin Baker. Le'Veon Bell overtook Caper in 2010 and Baker in 2011. Last year, Taiwan Jones overtook senior captain Chris Norman at linebacker. You can argue the 2009 QB battle went on too long, but this coaching staff has made sure the best players are in the game. If Maxwell struggles, he will be pulled and other guys will get a chance. They have three games to get things going before heading to Notre Dame.
So now it's up to you to either root for Maxwell and the team to do well in 2013, or root for him to fail. This shouldn't be a hard decision.