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The Good, The Bad, The Random of MSU football’s offseason

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Let’s go over the last few months before kickoff (finally) happens

Rutgers v Michigan State Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

OHHHHHHHH MAN WE ARE ALMOST BACK!

We are officially two days out and we’ve got some things to talk about. If you’re new around these parts, this is what we’ll do after every game this season. We’ll break down the good of the game. The bad of the game. And the random of the game and around the country.

So, if this is your first one of these roundups, welcome! If you’re a repeat reader WOW YOU ARE GREAT!

Let’s dive straight into it.

THE GOOD

Anything happen this offseason? OH YEAH. THAT’S RIGHT!!

AND THEN IT HAPPENED AGAIN!

AND THEN AGAIN??? THREE TIMES IN ONE YEAR?!?

AND THEN AND THEN AND THEN, THIS HAPPENS?!????

Yep, that was enough to sustain us this offseason. Thanks guys.

Alright, football talk time. All news out of camp has been pretty solid so far. Sure, MSU has been so tight-lipped that Tulsa isn’t even sure what to expect. And, sure, it’s not like MSU’s coaching staff and players would be speaking negatively during the offseason before a make-it-or-break-it season.

But there seems to be a genuine excitement coming out of camp. It sounds like a team that knows it’s a hot start away from getting its swagger back on offense and a team that knows it returns the bulk of its monster defense.

Mark Dantonio and Co. knows there’s urgency to perform this season, and reading through the lines throughout the offseason shows that. Even if there’s not many lines to read through.

Michigan State also made its 2019 recruiting class official, which was a solid class that included gems like 5-star Devontae Dobbs and 4-star high school teammate Julian Barnett. The class ranked 32 in the nation per 247Sports, which is pretty standard for Mark Dantonio and Co.

One of Michigan State’s best recruiting hauls of the offseason isn’t technically a recruit as Jayden Reed announced his transfer from Western Michigan to MSU. What does Reed bring to the table (once he’s eligible to play, that is)? Oh, just his speed and hands that earned him Freshman All-American honors.

Jalen Hunt was also a late, late add-on to the 2019 class after he went from being a future Iowa Hawkeye to a current Spartan as MSU was starting camp. Hunt’s addition gives some depth to the defensive line and keeps that Belleville-to-MSU pipeline rolling strong.

There’s been a relatively low number of injuries this offseason. Well all know that last fall Michigan State had *crunches numbers* 4,527 injuries, so this offseason might have been as anxiety-riddled within the fan base on the injury bug alone.

THE BAD

Alright so it wasn’t a perfect offseason on the injury list as backup defensive end Zach Slade is out for the season with a leg injury. Freshman receiver Tre’Von Morgan is also sidelined for the first half of the season with a leg injury as well. Cole Chewins will miss at least the first game with a back injury, and those are just GREAT with offensive linemen. AJ Arcuri, who has predominately played on special teams to this point, will start at left tackle on Friday night. All well, could be worse I guess.

People are allowed to have opinions. About most things. The neon jerseys are NOT one of those things. If whining about alternate jerseys finally makes me a crotchety old man, FINE, SO BE IT! If those jerseys were for a knock-off arena football team in a low-budget movie, they’re great jerseys. However, if they’re for a top-20 program in the country with an already-good color scheme and secondary color with the bronze…then they’re awful. I won’t even debate this.

Let’s just say I hope recruiting picks up for the 2020 class. And yes, I’m not stupid – I know MSU isn’t traditionally pulling in top ten classes. But they’re also usually not losing recruiting battles to Kentucky, Purdue, Cincinnati and Louisville and looking at themselves outside the top 50 on 247Sports. Lot of game left in the 2020 recruiting cycle, but it’s been underwhelming.

Many of you saw Bill Beekman’s email regarding the game day experience and what MSU is changing this year. Some of you heard Mike Valenti’s brutal (albeit hilarious and pretty accurate) rant on it. But for those looking for beer sales, quicker lines getting into the game, WiFi and concessions that are either a) reasonably priced or b) at least somewhat quality…look somewhere else. None of that was addressed, but they’re finally putting TVs in the concourse (something worth touting in 2019, apparently). I’ll still go to every game because I have a sickness and can’t stay away, but man, I can’t fault people for not thinking the game day experience isn’t worth spending basically their entire Saturday on.

THE RANDOM

Little-known story this offseason – the coaching staff was shuffled around on offense! Brad Salem is the new offensive coordinator, Jim Bollman is coaching the offensive line, Dave Warner is coaching quarterbacks and who knows if this will work out? This could work out in spades and make Dantonio look awesome. This could completely backfire and turn into a waste of two seasons with a great defense. Time will only tell.

The depth chart was released on Tuesday, and there’s good and bad in here, so this gets tossed straight in the “random” bin. The good – Jalen Nailor at punt returner, Darrell Stewart at kickoff returner, some solid depth sprinkled everywhere on defense and wide receiver.

The bad? Well, the offensive line missing Cole Chewins with a “day-to-day” back issue isn’t great. The depth with the whole offensive scares me, really. The running back pecking order will be a weeks-long battle as La’Darius Jefferson, Anthony Williams and Elijah Collins are all listed as the backup, but really, it won’t matter who’s running the ball unless the offensive line takes a step forward this year.

You’ll probably be reading a lot of season previews and predictions this week. We’re going to cut right against the grain here – we don’t want the high rankings. We don’t want to see our players on preseason lists. No sir. That is NOT the foundation Mark Dantonio built this program on.

No, no, no. The three Big Ten wins, command of the state and the 107 wins was built on flying under the radar. It was built on Little Brother. It was built on the likes of being unranked through the first eight games of the 2013 season. It was built on…#DISRESPEKT.

Getting respect before the season makes me uneasy. Bachie and Willekes on multiple All-American watch lists? MSU in the top 20 in the AP Poll? Someone over at CBS Sports picking MSU to head back to the College Football Playoff? I am absolutely NAUSEOUS.

The weather couldn’t be looking better for Friday with highs of mid-70s and lows of mid-50s and clear skies. The only reason this stays in “The Random” section and not “The Good” section is because MAN did summer fly by or what??

Let’s take tailgate drinking roll call. I’ll be going with light beer and perhaps a White Claw or five.

Poll

What’s your drink of choice this Friday night?

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    Beer
    (181 votes)
  • 5%
    Hard seltzer
    (16 votes)
  • 7%
    Mixed drink
    (25 votes)
  • 9%
    Just straight, hard liquor
    (31 votes)
  • 3%
    Wine
    (10 votes)
  • 16%
    No alcohol for me, chief
    (52 votes)
315 votes total Vote Now

LET’S HAVE OURSELVES A WEEKEND SPARTAN FAMILY. GO GREEN!