MSU coaches evaluating talent as spring season hits halfway mark

Published: Apr. 6, 2021 at 5:48 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Spartans are hard at work hoping to build on a season which they beat their rival Michigan, but not much else.

The team is already halfway through its spring season, and today marks the seventh day of practice.

Spring ball is when coaches begin to see progress in young players and determine who will get starting spots. This is big for head coach Mel Tucker, who did not have the chance to practice with his team last year.

Tucker says he likes what he saw from the team’s first scrimmage over the weekend.

“I really like the way our guys competed. it was a cleaner brand of football than we’d been playing previously,” said Tucker. “The scrimmage is the closest thing you can get to a game and you see who can carry things from one progression to the next.”

It’s a great way to evaluate who you have, especially the quarterbacks who are a big storyline for this season.

“I thought our quarterbacks seemed to be efficient. throw the ball to the open man, take what the defense gives you, not trying to force it. I thought we took care of the football,” said Tucker.

That’s key for finding the next guy. Payton Thorne, a backup last season, played in four games and already has a good grasp of the Spartan playbook.

“Having that last year under my belt and getting to learn the offense last year and have all the base stuff down, I’m feeling good about that. and then moving forward this year with the new stuff that we’re putting in, that’s just adding on to what I already had,” said Thorne.

But grad transfer Anthony Russo from Temple comes in with a big resumé, he played 31 games and ranks among Temple’s all-time leaders in passing yards and touchdowns.

“I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned through being in a couple different quarterback competitions is just to focus on you. you know you can’t control how other guys practice, what they do. all you can control everyday is how hard you work, how well you prepare,” said Russo.

Two different quarterbacks, two different backgrounds. But this spring will begin to show who can rise up.

“Although we are competing with one another, we’re there to make each other better. at the end of the day, the more we push each other, the more we’re gonna grow on the field and off the field and the better we will be at our position and the better team we will be,” said Russo.

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