One of the biggest questions of this offseason (and the last few, really) is simple, yet complicated.
How is the offense going to look this year?
On Monday evening the media was able to hop on a Zoom call with two of the biggest names on the Spartan offense as running back Elijah Collins and wide receiver Jayden Reed fielded all sorts of questions.
On the new offense
Offensive coordinator Jay Johnson and his crew will have a lot of eyes around them, but also a good deal of mystery as they install a new offense to go along with new playmakers. One thing to expect? A lot of players getting a lot of touches.
“With coach Johnson’s offense, he wants to make plays,” Collins said. “He sees all the talent and skill we have in the running back room…so he wants to spread the ball around.”
And, of course, that doesn’t stop at the running back room as the receiver corps of Reed, Tre Mosley, Jalen Nailor, Tre’Von Morgan, CJ Hayes and Laress Nelson look to have big seasons.
“One of the biggest things is speed right now,” Reed said. “We already have good backs and can spread them out and some big strong receivers, so we can take the top off a little bit. Vertically, that will be a huge change from last year to this year. Vertical threats.”
On the new staff
Collins and company in the running back room have a new leader in charge as William Peagler steps in as running backs coach, joining Mel Tucker from last year’s Colorado staff.
“Working with Peagler has been amazing,” Collins said. “He’s worked with some great backs...(he’s) simply just making sure everything is tight, like footwork, pass protection and just eating up the grass.”
Courtney Hawkins is also the fresh face in the receivers room, stepping into his first collegiate coaching role as wide receivers coach.
“He’s very fundamental and high energy,” Reed said. “He expects the best — whatever you have, you have to give it. I love coach Hawk, he brings great energy and he’s feisty…he doesn’t care who’s in front of you, he expects you to win regardless…he has that Spartan Dawg mentality.”
Reed on sitting out a full season
Reed’s first season as a Spartan will come after sitting out a year since transferring to MSU after a Freshman All-American season at Western Michigan.
Sitting out the whole year and just playing scout team could’ve been a slog to plenty of prime time players, but not Reed.
“I’m glad, it shaped my character in a way,” Reed said. “It helped me become a better person and be more patient, and also get stronger and faster…I’m very happy with where I am today. Everything happens for a reason.”
Scout team reps last year also meant getting an up-close look at the secondary on a weekly basis. Even with Josiah Scott’s departure from last year’s team, he still likes what he sees on the other side of the ball.
“I like Shakur brown, he’s a very patient DB and knows how to read a lot of routes,” Reed said. “(Kalon) Gervin, very talented to me. Xavier Henderson, the whole secondary I believe has gotten better and improved.”