To me, there were two major question marks heading into next season - 1) the O-line, and 2) how can MSU replaces what they lost on defense. I'm not going to attempt to judge the offensive line, at least at this point. I do think I saw enough from our defense at the spring game to get an idea of where they are at.
Our D-line is brutal. Calhoun was in the backfield almost every play. He seems faster than last season, and it's not like he was slow back then. I realize that because both teams needed to field offensive lines that there would be some weak spots, but I also would think he would draw the other team's best linemen. Both D-lines played well, especially the defensive ends, who did an excellent job pass rushing. It also should be noted that there are special rules limiting blitzing in the spring game, so the D-lines were doing this without the O-line having to worry about picking up any blitzes. I would say our D-line is going to be very good and very deep this year. Probably better than last year's, at least when it comes to pass rushing. I would expect more sacks this coming season.
The linebacker squad that played wasn't necessarily representative of our starting line up - Ed Davis was out, for one. Additionally, each squad had to field 3 linebackers, meaning we were looking at players who were beyond the 2-deep rotation. I would caution those who don't think our linebacker squad will be decent next year to consider the way Ed Davis played last season. If for some reason Taiwan Jones can't handle MLB duties, we have Harris, who played at the position during the Rose Bowl, and it's not like Taiwan Jones will need to adjust much should he go back to his old position. If he can develop half the football IQ Bullough had, he will be more than able to handle the duties of MLB. If he plays MLB, then Harris is good enough to play on the outside. I would say that the linebacking corps need work, but it's far from fixable. Keep in mind the special rules about blitzing as well.
I personally am almost as exited about our secondary as I am our defensive line. Once again remember we were looking at players outside the 2-deep rotation for CB and Safety. We are pretty stacked at Safety - this is probably the last position we should worry about. Position battles there will sort themselves out, and whatever the outcome, it will be for the better. The cornerbacks, in my opinion played decently. I think a few of the guys who are lower on the depth chart got picked on by both team's passing games. Our presumed starters, Hicks and Waynes played well, though. As a whole, I think the unit did pretty good. We lost some guys in coverage- maybe that was more on the linebackers though. The interceptions though. I don't think most of those were bad passes,but instead making plays on the ball. We may see a higher risk-higher reward secondary this year. At any rate, Hicks and Waynes should be able to do our usual press quarters coverage, and either could be our lock-down corner.