THERE’S 100 DAYS UNTIL MSU’S SEASON OPENER AGAINST WESTERN MICHIGAN. YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS….
It’s still far away
But I’m getting excited
TURN DOWN THE DATBULL
THERE’S 100 DAYS UNTIL MSU’S SEASON OPENER AGAINST WESTERN MICHIGAN. YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS….
It’s still far away
But I’m getting excited
TURN DOWN THE DATBULL
Today, MSU long snapper Taybor Pepper– one of my favorite MSU players– posted something very touching on Facebook.
Here’s what he said:
When i was in the hospital this year i met a guy named Fernando, Nando for short. He was in the hospital because of his stomach problems and was getting it fixed. That day my mom went out and got a couple of souvenir MSU Footballs for me to sign for him. He was ecstatic and was a true Spartan Football fan. We talked for about two days straight and really got to know each other. He had a wife and a beautiful toddler girl.
We kept in touch and for Christmas I got him a full sized ball signed by the whole team. He appreciated it very much.
This week he died. He wasn’t my age, we didnt “hang out”, we had really only known each other for a couple of months, but we were true friends. Our families were friends after that short period of time. Nando’s mother called my mom today and told her how much Nando would talk about me and football and how much he appreciated our family. He was an amazing guy and left us too soon.
This season is for you.
Now, there’s not much else to this story. I don’t know who Fernando is or anything about him, but I just want to acknowledge Taybor Pepper for being a good person and Nando’s family for staying strong.
Greetings, Spartans faithful, Mr. and Mrs. America, and you, whoever you are. Not wanting to appear as though I am only ringing in the new season with regard to Le’Veon Bell, I thought it best to do a quick post on the rest of this year’s NFL rookie class with MSU origins. I got a list, here’s the order of my list that it’s in.
Selected by the Dolphins in the fourth round(106), Sims is expected to push for playing time this season and at the very least should find work in double tight end sets. It appears as though Dion has shed a few pounds and is beginning his new venture with a positive attitude.
Selected by the Bucs in the fourth round(126), Big Will is slated as a backup for now but he landed on a decent team and his contract should go a long way toward taking care of his family.
Now we enter the realm of the UDFA’s…
Johnny signed with the Texans shorty after the draft and as is the case with any player who is undrafted, he will have to fight to hold a roster spot. I think he will stick, as I was a little surprised that he didn’t get drafted somewhere in the late rounds to begin with. Sure, he got lit up on plenty of occasions, but he does possess a solid skill set. We shall see.
Anthony Rashad White:
Picked up by the Steelers so he can hang out with Le’Veon at least! Plus, the Steelers love them some hard working D linemen and can never have enough of them around.
Snagged by the Patriots. Belichick and all that. You know. Definitely worse places he could have gone.
If you want a little more on the above three, check out this MLive post. Not a ton of information there but more than I’m including!
Also picked up by the Raiders, White is projected as a special teams player on this site. I’m sure he would be happy to start with that and see what transpires.
That’s all for now as I believe I have all the players who landed with an NFL team this year covered. I know that we all wish them well.
I haven’t done a post in some time(because I’m lazy)but Jameson hadn’t locked me out of the blog so here I am. I started to wonder how much information I could find about the latest Spartan additions to the NFL and I was pleased to stumble upon some interesting tidbits about Le’Veon Bell straightaway. Armed with a dip of Grizzly Wintergreen and a keyboard, I shall endeavor to share some of the more interesting links.
Le’Veon Bell was selected 48th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in this year’s draft. Being taken in the second round was a slightly better result than many had hoped for and being selected by the Steelers was the best possible scenario for Bell, and for more than the fact that his style is a perfect fit in Pittsburgh’s system, ostensibly. As I discovered while doing a bit of poking around on the interwebz, Bell had grown up as part of Steeler Nation and many members of his family are of course fans as well. Here is a 2 minute interview with a very ebullient Le’Veon Bell for your viewing pleasure. That interview was conducted at the Steelers Rookie Minicamp and along with the usual athlete-speak there exists some gold such as “Nothing was ever given to me, and I don’t expect it to be given to me here.”
There is more than one article floating around making the assertion that Bell could have a breakout year. This is certainly not shocking given that the Steelers love to run the ball, but it was still nice to see several sources concur on his promise. We have this from Sporting News expecting Bell to lead all rookie rushers and this from Rant Sports asking if Bell could possibly be the Offensive Rookie of the Year. Toss in this from MLive chronicling the love Steelers GM Kevin Colbert has for Le’Veon and it’s difficult to see anything but a bright future for the young man.
Personally, when I heard Bell’s selection I did a little happy dance. Okay, so I can’t dance, but if I could I would have. Few NFL teams even bother to make a serious effort at running the ball and Bell wasn’t going to thrive catching swing passes out of the backfield. Landing in the Steel City was a godsend for him as it will give him his best opportunity to be an impact player in the NFL. Additionally, when I was a boy a loaf of bread cost ten cents and either the Steelers or the Cowboys were going to win the Superbowl every year. Given the fact that I loathe the Cowboys, I always rooted for Bradshaw and the Steelers and it kind of became a habit to follow them ever since. I love my Lions but I’m pleased that Bell went to my AFC consolation team just the same. I do believe it’s a perfect marriage and I’m excited about the kid’s potential for a big season.
I asked a couple of questions to sophomore MSU long snapper (and possibly my favorite player) Taybor Pepper. Here’s how it went.
When did you start playing football? What position did you start your football career at?
I started in 2nd grade as a quarterback all the way through 7th grade.
How did you get your start at long snapper?
In 6th grade we started punting and my dad taught me the basics, I thought it was cool, but I didn’t take it very seriously then.
When did you realize that you were actually a really good long snapper?
10th grade was when I realized I could go to college for it. So then, I guess.
I bet it came as a shock when you started being recruited at long snapper. Did you ever think you could get a scholarship out of this?
Yeah that was always the hope, but I had a really good feeling going into my senior year.
You originally committed to Michigan as a preferred walk-on. Walk us through what it was like when you got an offer from Michigan State.
It was a no-brainer to go to state. State was my first choice through the whole recruiting process. Easy choice.
Did you think you’d end up going to State even though you were committed to Michigan?
No. I would’ve stayed given the circumstances. It’s just an awesome coincidence that state offered me.
Yeah, I’d imagine. Last season you saved the special teams after long snapper Steve Moore was injured. What was it like being thrown right into the action from day one?
It was fun. I knew I could handle the pressure. Mentally I was ready to start from my first day on campus.
On that note, you seem like a mentally player for being such a young starter. You made a few pretty good plays downfield tackles last year on special teams. You don’t see many long snappers do that. What makes you that way?
I’m hungry! I don’t know, I guess I’m quicker than some other long snappers so it’s an advantage.
You are pretty athletic for a long snapper. Do you foresee any other duties in your future at Michigan Sate?
I highly doubt it. It’s not even a thought at this point. It’s fun to think about though.
One can always hope. What are your thoughts on the importance of long snapper?
It’s a must have on any team. That’s what makes Coach Dantonio so awesome. He realizes it, it’s not something he overlooks.
This is your first year of spring ball. How is it different from fall practices?
It’s a lot of fun to watch everyone compete for jobs. Also, I can tweak different things about my form without worry. I can’t do that during the season, well I can, but you’re not supposed to.
Maybe you can pull a Draymond Green and lobby coach Dantonio to let you play tight end this spring. How does that sound?
I forgot about that! I’ll let my boys Evan [Jones] and Josiah [Price] take over at that spot.
Probably for the best.
Thanks for doing this, Taybor. Anything else you’d like to add for Spartan Nation?
Go green and hug your closest Long Snapper today.
Spring football is on the horizon, and one of the most intriguing match ups over the next few weeks will be between the potential leaders of the 2013 Michigan State offense. The quarterback position.
Last season, junior Andrew Maxwell took a lot of heat in his first year as a starter. He came in to the season heralded as a better and more mobile version of ex-Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins. Granted, that was much more hype than he deserved and he was destined to fall short of those expectations. That’s still no excuse for his awful quarterback presence and lack of leadership on the team last year. MSU finished 97th in the FBS in total offense (41 spots lower than their 2011 ranking) and was the main reason MSU had a disappointing record. Although Maxwell took a lot of heat for his sub-par performance, he remained the team’s starter until the second half of MSU’s bowl game against TCU, where redshirt freshman Connor Cook came in and led the Spartans to victory, thus beginning the quarterback battle.
While the two front-runners are definitely Cook and Maxwell, redshirt freshman Tyler O’Connor and true freshman scrambler Damion Terry* are also in the mix for starting quarterback. Let’s take a closer look at each of these players and see what they bring to the table.
*Damion Terry cannot participate in spring football because he has not enrolled yet.
In his first year starting, quarterback Andrew Maxwell was disappointing at best. He came into the year as an exciting player with a great arm and above-average mobility. Except that wasn’t very true. In games, we could see he had a skill set that was pretty good, but it was drowned out in his hesitant play. He never looked very comfortable in the pocket, never had great composure, was very inaccurate and did not really use his mobility to his advantage. He had a 52.5% completion rate (0.8% lower than Denard Robinson, for those of you that are wondering) coupled with 13 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. There were a lot of issues with the receiving core early in the year, but once they got their problems solved Maxwell had no one to blame but himself.
So far in spring ball, coaches are saying he’s “outstanding”. That’s a good sign, but that’s what people said about his development early in his MSU career, so I’m not sure how much I believe that.
Outlook: Maxwell will be the starter, most likely, but we can’t write it off already.
Cook is a 6’4″ sophomore quarterback, and he’s probably the biggest threat to Maxwell this spring. He almostkindofbasicallydid take Maxwell’s starting job in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl last year and led the Spartans to victory. His stats didn’t show it (4-11, 47 yards), but he had so much more confidence and composure behind center than Andrew Maxwell did.
Cook is a big quarterback who has decent speed and an arm, and he uses that to his advantage. When you get a player that is big and is able to run around and make plays out of the pocket, you have a threat. He’s not great at decision making and is still adapting to Dantonio’s offense, but that’s not a huge setback. Maxwell’s decision making hasn’t been too great, either.
Outlook: Look for Cook to give Maxwell a run for his money this spring. I don’t think he’ll beat out Maxwell but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him starting in the fall.
As we move towards the younger bunch, we hit Tyler O’Connor. O’Connor’s first year on campus was last season. He got redshirted, so eligibility wise is still a freshman.
O’Connor is one of the most talented quarterbacks on this MSU team. He reportedly ran a 4.7 40-yard dash and ran over a defender in line drills earlier this week. The kid’s a hard worker who wants to play. Bad. I know that sounds cliche, but he’s made comments all spring about what he brings to the team instead of Cook and Maxwell, and made a comment about how he’s playing to be starter He has a really bright future ahead of him, but his biggest disadvantage is his inexperience. Since he was still in high school last spring, this is his first season of spring ball. He’s still learning how to run plays, but he is the team leader that this MSU offense needs. I’m really excited for his future here in East Lansing.
Outlook: Unfortunately, O’Connor’s inexperience coupled with the reputation of Cook & Maxwell leave him out of contention for the starting job. I would like to see him wait another year before he becomes he Spartans’ guy.
With in the next few days, I’ll be posting more of the spring football match ups. Stay tuned!
After a hiatus (otherwise known as basketball season) the Banks of the Red Cedar twitter mailbag is back and ready for some football! Of course, there will be basketball questions answered and that’s 100% ok. Let’s get going.
Do you think Adriean Payne needs another year in school? (@Tmagnotti)
Do I think he needs it? No, he doesn’t need it. He could become a serviceable NBA player after this season if he really wanted to. Would it help to stay another season? Yes it would. If he stays, he could hone his already insanely athletic skills and possibly be a really good NBA power forward. If he can improve his shooting a little bit more, my god could he be great.
How much will MSU get murdered by Notre Dame?(@FreeBigMacs)
Ah, the weekly MSU troll Blake. Last year they lost 21-3. This year they don’t have Manti Te’o and hopefully Maxwell won’t be starting. NO MURDERING HERE, SORRY.
THE TOURNAMENT HAS STARTED, FOLKS. MSU kicks off the tournament with a matchup against 14-seeded Valapraiso.
Follow me on Twitter @BOTRC for more updates, as they’ll be more rapid and frequent than on here.
Enjoy the Madness.
Wee big ten tournament weeeeeeeeeeee!
Here is a table of every team in the Big Ten Tournament finals game from 2003-2012. The only team omitted was the 2008 Illinois team, because although they made the finals of the tournament, they were a #10 seed and didn’t end up getting a tournament berth. In total, there are 19 teams.
So, to sum up the table, I sorted it by rank, and within each ranking section, recency. I color-coded each team to make it easier on the eyes (you’re welcome).
First, let’s look at something obvious. Ohio State has made the finals seven times in the past nine years, going 3-4 that stretch. In their three wins, they were ranked #1, #5 and #1 in the AP poll afterwards. In their four losses, they were #7, unranked, #6 and unranked in the AP poll after. After their wins, Ohio State made it to the Sweet 16 twice and lost in the National Championship once. In their losses, they’ve made it out of the first round two times: one time, they were eliminated the next round and the other time they made the Final Four. On average, once Ohio State made the Big Ten Tournament finals in the past nine years, they advanced 3.0 rounds, which is Sweet 16. Obviously, they’re expectations were never high when they entered the tournament finals unranked in 2003 and in 2009.
Other than that, there’s only a couple of things worth noting. One of those is this: in 2007, #1 in the country Ohio State played #3 in the country Wisconsin, defeating them 66-49. Ohio State played up to their expectations in the NCAA Tournament, eventually losing to Florida in the National Championship. Wisconsin, however, was upset in the second round by UNLV.
The other big surprise was Iowa in 2006. They finished off the season with a victory over Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament championship, and got a 3 seed in the tournament. In their first game, they were upset by 14 seed Northeastern, 64-63.
Since 2003, teams who have at least made the Big Ten tournament have advanced 2.74 rounds, somewhere between the Round of 32 and the Sweet 16. Teams who won the Big Ten Tournament have advanced 3.2 rounds on average, somewhere between the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. Teams who have lost the Big Ten tournament average elimination after 2.22 rounds, between the Round of the 32 and the Sweet 16.
The Spartans suddenly find themselves mired in a three game losing streak and the play of the squad has been, of course, less than pretty during this stretch. What has made it particularly troubling is that the streak comes on the heels of the team’s finest hour this season. No, not the Nebraska victory, the colossal drubbing of then No. 4 Michigan at home. It definitely appeared as though the Spartans had finally put it all together and were going to be full speed ahead for the remainder of this season, barring injuries. Since oh, around the second half of the Indiana game, the MSU team that drove us crazy earlier in the year decided to come back and visit for a time. Defensive lapses, offensive woes, bumbling through stretches of each game. Good stuff. Sigh. Jameson chided himself for posting this recap, but I felt as though he captured the way many of us felt rather well. Losing streaks take a toll on the fan base.
In the aftermath of the first game against Michigan, there was some moaning from Derrick Nix about how the Spartans hadn’t been given much respect or attention this season. His statement’s weren’t inaccurate, but they likely weren’t helpful either. I mean, it’s best to let your play speak for you in this regard. Win and the accolades will follow. It also occurs to me that he was speaking out at the time for more than just himself. Perhaps a number of Spartans felt they had arrived? Possibly, a few of them allowed themselves to get carried away by the rush of winning that big game? Of course that is pure speculation, but since Izzo has criticized the leadership of his players a few times since that game I think it is entirely possible that some of the guys had grown too media dependent.
Two players have struggled mightily of late. Dawson has 8 points, 8 points, and 2 points in his last three games. Appling has put up 6 points, 3 points, and 9 points.The play of Keith Appling is easily the most worrisome for me, however. The Spartans will only go so far as Keith can take them. I know many people have suggested that he be pulled from the lineup due to their frustration with his play, and I get where these folks are coming from. The question is, who plays in his stead? Trice? Travis Trice is a great asset off the bench but that is the most he can be. Valentine? Denzel Valentine is not ready to take the helm. In another year, maybe. Certainly not now. This is Appling’s team to lead and when he is right so are the Spartans. I am confident that he will emerge from the funk he has been in and get the team back on track in the process.
As for the rest of the team, this bit of adversity they are facing could end up being a blessing in the long run. The big dance looms and MSU is still in position to get a favorable slot despite the recent difficulties. I’d rather see them struggle now then watch them do so in the tournament. They won’t be media darlings, many pundits will write them off. Who cares? Just play.