Chris Solari Detroit Free Press Published 9:30 AM EST Nov 19, 2018 LINCOLN, Neb. — Rocky Lombardi stuck to his script. “I didn’t see any drops.” You didn’t see any drops? “No.” Of course, Michigan State’s quarterback saw them. Every one of the 88,793 bundled-up fans in Memorial Stadium did. His coaches did. Even his defense did from the sidelines. At least seven of Lombardi’s 25 incompletions touched his intended receivers’ hands —some high, some wide, some right on target. But he wanted to put the blame on himself and not spread it around. That’s simply a quarterback protecting his teammates and avoid division. That’s all the Spartans can do right now as a group. MSU arrives at the final game of a tumultuous regular season in a tenuous spot. Not just at quarterback, where coach Mark Dantonio continues to try and juggle Lombardi and Brian Lewerke. But with an entire offense that continues a drop also … [Read more...] about Michigan State football’s Dantonio has tough decisions ahead
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Jeff Seidel Detroit Free Press Published 6:56 PM EDT Oct 6, 2018 EAST LANSING — Free Press columnist Jeff Seidel tackles the tough questions after Northwestern’s 29-19 victory over Michigan State on Saturday at Spartan Stadium. What is wrong with Brian Lewerke? Statistically, he wasn’t horrible on Saturday. He completed 31 of 51 passes for 329 yards with a touchdown. But he was not sharp. "It's not in the yards sometimes, it's in the production and the points behind it," MSU coach Mark Dantonio said. Lewerke threw too many bad passes. And he didn’t see some open receivers. Cody White was out with an injury, but this was more than that. “He's got to play better obviously than he did,” Dantonio said. What's the problem? To begin with, MSU does not have a consistent running game, and that makes everything harder for a quarterback. It can even mess with a quarterback’s head. Lewerke admitted that he might be pressing a … [Read more...] about Michigan State football: What’s wrong with Brian Lewerke?
Chris Solari Detroit Free Press Published 2:31 p.m. UTC Aug 24, 2018 EAST LANSING — To the outside world, the roof appeared to be falling in on Michigan State’s football program. To those inside the walls of the Duffy Daugherty Football Building, the offseason between the Spartans’ misery of 2016 and the rebirth in 2017 was a time for insulation and reflection. And a time to remember their own expectations and goals had not changed. “I think we kind of came together in the offseason,” senior safety Khari Willis recalled Thursday. “And then headed into (2017), we kind of built a little momentum, built a little trust in ourselves. Having to always be overlooked and stuff like that just gave us fuel to go out and do what we do. And that’s trying to perform at the highest level.” Which brings MSU full circle to 2018. More: Michigan State's 2018 projected depth chart: Plenty of starters back The Spartans finished 10-3 last fall to prove … [Read more...] about Why Michigan State football is due for a Big Ten title run
Chris Solari Detroit Free Press Published 7:05 p.m. UTC Aug 19, 2018 EAST LANSING — Jake Hartbarger and Matt Coghlin give Michigan State football a strong returning nucleus at the glamorous kicking positions. Everything else on special teams remains to be determined. From who will be kicking and catching them to how they will boot and field the ball. The NCAA will now allow kick returners to make fair catches that will result in touchbacks if the ball is caught inside their team’s 25-yard line. It is another method of taking out some of the most dangerous hits out of football, but it also adds another strategic special teams element. “That will be an interesting thing to watch throughout the season, how other people do it and what we do as well,” MSU coach Mark Dantonio said last Monday. “Our intent is if it’s hung up there, you’re probably looking at fair-catching it around the goal line or that type of thing. It sort of remains to be … [Read more...] about Michigan State football seeking new kickoff specialist, strategies
Chris Solari Detroit Free Press Published 3:13 p.m. UTC Aug 15, 2018 EAST LANSING — Linebacker remains a position of strength for Michigan State. Always has been under Mark Dantonio. For his coaching predecessors as well. And for a Spartan defense that hopes to make the leap from exceptional to elite this season, finding one more starter in the middle will be challenging. But not due to a shortage of capable linebackers. The opposite, actually. At least four players — Tyriq Thompson, Brandon Randle, Byron Bullough and Jon Reschke — are competing to fill the open strong-side spot vacated by the graduation loss of Chris Frey. And all have impressed coaches and teammates through the first two weeks of preseason camp. “If one of them was having a bad camp, I’d be able to tell you who was doing good right now. But all three of them are playing really well,” junior middle linebacker Joe Bachie said after practice Tuesday. “They all have their … [Read more...] about Michigan State football: Vacant LB job’s four suitors include Reschke