It's Tuesday, which meant the depth chart was released for Saturday's tilt at Ohio State. No real surprises, but a few things of interest:
- Keshawn Martin is listed in the depth chart as one of the starting receivers, looks like he'll be good to play.
- Freshman center Jack Allen makes the depth chart as the third center behind Travis Jackson and Ethan Ruhland.
- Tyler Hoover and Bennie Fowler are missing; their availability to play differs. Hoover is definitely out until the Michigan game with a fractured rib, and Fowler may pay if his foot feels well.
After some general comments on the Buckeyes, Dantonio explained why he locked the players out to the media this week:
This week decided to close practice obviously but also close the interview process for the players. I know that's something that we haven't done here. I guess I can just ask you to be patient with that. I just feel like our players need to focus. I feel like I don't want them in a compromising situation this week. We've got a lot of players from Ohio, we've got guys with pressure on them, and they don't need the additional pressure. They need to get with their teammates and we need to focus on the task at hand, and this is an important game for us, and I just felt like that was the best. So bear with me.
To which I say, "whatever floats your boat." I realize the media may not like it because it makes their jobs a bit harder, but if that's what Dantonio feels like he has to do, fine. I don't think it'll affect Saturday one way or another.
He also spoke on the left tackle battle between Micajah Reynolds and Dan France, and came away impresed with Reynolds:
They're both going to play. I think Micajah did play well, especially when you look and say, well, he was just brought back on the offensive line last Tuesday...But from a conditioning perspective, he needs to probably be a little bit better conditioned to play the entire game.
About France, Dantonio remarked on composure being a factor:
He knows what to do. He's got toughness. He's very athletic and he's big. He just needs to keep his composure as a football player, not his composure as a person, (but as a football player). When you're playing in that type of environment, this environment (home), whatever the environment we play in, there's a lot going on out there for him, so he needs to just stay composed as a football player, and I think he's going to grow into that.
At any rate, Ohio State will definitely let Michigan State know by Saturday evening who the better of the two is.
With Bennie Fowler's injury there's a bit of uncertainty at the wide receiver position beyond B.J. Cunningham, Keith Nichol and Martin. Dantonio remarked on this, and class definitely plays a factor:
So he's got to play some, but the reality is that he's playing probably over on offense because of Bennie Fowler's injury. (Brad) Sonntag and C.D. Rucker are two senior wide receivers. I just can't have five senior wide receivers as our first five receivers. We just can't do it, because it doesn't allow for the future to be expressed. So we have to get a younger player in there to play him. Don't want to take the red shirt off of A.J. (Troup). I think Tony is talented. I think Tony may play certainly more receiver in the spring than he is defensive back because of the need, so that was the decision we had to make. So we forced the issue a little bit this last week.
It's interesting that Dantonio first mentioned A.J. Troup as the first younger player to see the field. The 6'2", 190lb. wide receiver was originally classified as a 2010 recruit, but a knee injury pushed him back to the 2011 class and he came to Michigan State as a preferred walk-on. It sounds like Michigan State got another steal with Troup.
Lastly, media, your infatuation with Kirk Cousins has been noticed:
I think there's pressure on a lot of points in our program. I think our quarterback gets asked a lot of questions. (He's) constantly, constantly talking to the media, and he needs to play well and he needs to get away from that. He needs to relax. I think our running backs and just certain - there's a lot of segments and facets of our team that are going to get questions, whether it's questions about the last game or questions about the next game, and I just feel like right now the best thing for our football team is to just step back away from that.
If it helps Cousins make his progressions and keeps him from throwing into double coverage, I'm all for it.