SDS will be looking at each SEC team’s spring practice and address concerns entering and exiting on both sides of the ball.
Lean more on the running game: Even before this spring, towards the end of last season, I was arguing that Dan Mullen and Les Koenning should have relied more on MSU’s bevy of running backs than they did. They have workhorse LaDarius Perkins, Josh Robinson, Brandon Holloway and Nick Griffin, who tore his ACL in December. Perkins is the leading returning rusher with the most career yards in the SEC for 2013 with 2,012 yards in three years, but Holloway could be an emerging star. MSU finished 10th in the conference in rushing offense, and that’s one area where there’s stable depth to rely upon in 2013.
Wide receivers will be fine: The trio of Jameon Lewis, Joe Morrow and Robert Johnson should be just as potent as Chad Bumphis, Chris Smith and Arceto Clark. Lewis is the burner of the three, has he has big-play potential, while Morrow could become the biggest deep threat of the three. Johnson is a solid receiver who will also make some plays. Adding to the rotation will be a slew of freshmen, including potential superstar Fred Ross. This group is going to be fine after losing three starters.
Strong D-line: MSU’s strength on defense will be in the trenches. Aside from losing Josh Boyd, this group returns a ton of talent and an added year of development. This spring saw backup defensive end Ryan Brown emerge as a player, and he combines with returners Preston Smith, Denico Autry, Quay Evans, Kaleb Eulls and incoming freshman Chris Jones. This group will be super athletic and should be strong against the run.
Secondary still has questions: Losing three of four in the secondary isn’t too comforting, especially after seeing Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay go in the first part of round two of the NFL Draft. Safety Nickoe Whitley is the lone returner of the group. Redshirt freshman Will Remond emerged this spring as a player, and he’ll battle fellow freshman Cedric Jiles, while upperclassmen Jamerson Love and Taveze Calhoun should garner most of the playing time. But until we get into game-like situations, this group is untested and unproven. It remains the biggest question mark on the entire team heading into 2013.
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