MSU Football 2012: 5 Reasons Spartan Faithful Should Feel Optimistic This Year
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Now that college football programs have begun spring practices, fans and the programs themselves are aiming to answer the question, "Where do we stand right now?"
Whether it's position changes, injuries, staff changes or anything related to college football, we as fans can’t get enough of the preseason thrills. For the Spartan faithful of Michigan State, they definitely have the itch to get the season started.
The Spartans have recently produced two consecutive 11-win seasons, along with being considered a legitimate contender for a second Legends Division title. After all of the achievements this program has produced the last two years, could you expect a similar outcome for 2012?
To ease the worries of the Spartans nation, here are some reasons to get pumped up for the end of August.
Michigan State commit Demtrious Cox, safety from Jeannette, Pennsylvania
Michigan State hardly ever strikes the top 25 of the recruiting polls, but these recruiting scores seem to be irrelevant to its success lately.
The main focus for Michigan State this season was to reload the positions that needed replacement. The recruiting coordinators at Michigan State have been doing a superb job finding great players to fit the system.
The Spartans have been known for their ability to create sound football players, regardless of the ratings given to them. Even though they would love to receive multiple top-notch players in the country, they won’t be disappointed with the players they receive.
You can count on this program to utilize these recruits in the best ways for the system, proving again that they can make any recruit a star.
The Coaching Staff Means Business
Coach Mark Dantonio during the Wisconsin vs. Michigan State Big Ten Championship
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The coaching staff influences the program more than people tend to claim.
The head coach can easily be the one to blame, as much as he or she can be praised. What tends to be overlooked is that all staff members have their part of the job. For Michigan State, the Spartans have gained stability from head coach Mark Dantonio along with coordinators Pat Narduzzi and Dan Roushar. The positional coaches and trainers also have their share of the workload.
Both offensive and defensive coordinators have been offered job opportunities from other programs due to their efforts at Michigan State. As much as they were honored for the opportunity, both decided to remain in East Lansing.
With coach Dantonio being around for the “long haul” and staff members being comfortable where they are, this creates a healthy system to promote great things for MSU this upcoming season.
All three coaches have established an effective system based on their role, and with no coaches leaving, they bring confidence to the program.
A Strong Depth Chart
Andrew Maxwell attempts a pass during the Michigan State vs. Iowa matchup
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As mentioned before about recruiting, Michigan State has been doing a great job fitting athletes into their system, but coach Dantonio is not afraid to give the red-shirt to a player. Michigan State last season lead the Big Ten with the most red-shirted players for a team. With these players finally getting the opportunity to play along with the returning athletes, this brings a young and prepared group to the 2012 season.
Michigan State will definitely have to address some key personnel losses on both sides of the ball, and young players or returning athletes taking over can honestly sound scary. Michigan State has lost many key players to graduation, many of them that have impacted the program extremely. Ironically, this was a situation Michigan State has been through multiple times.
Have no fear, this program has succeeded in improving the inexperienced many times before, and most of these red-shirt freshmen players have been given more preparation than the starters who are now gone. Even though these players can't guarantee a perfect replacement from the player before them, don't underestimate their chances just yet.
A Tough but Favorable Schedule
Johnny Spirit and the Michigan State Alumni at Spartan Stadium
Beyond the difficulty of the schedule itself, the teams that Michigan State will be facing this season are of great interest. Not only does Michigan State face tough rich-storied programs, they will be facing many of these teams at Spartan Stadium. We all know that the home crowd can be a huge impact during a football game, and Michigan State has been among the undefeated the last two seasons on their home turf.
Season ticket orders for MSU’s 2012 season have been climbing steadily, almost to the point where they intend to eliminate single-game tickets. From the season opener to the final home game, Spartan Stadium will be the place to be.
To make things sound even better, the athletic department has decided to install new scoreboard systems with enhanced sound technology. This upgrade also includes a fascia strip video panel. This will be a tough season for the green and white, but the games will be spectacular and crowded. Sign me up!
A New Beginning
Michigan State wins the Outback Bowl against the Georgia Bulldogs
Michigan State has been at the top before, but its past doesn't necessarily shine as bright as other programs do. While that seems to be changing due to the last couple of years, the Spartans must begin a new season with larger goals in mind. The most successful group of football players in MSU history have graduated, leaving the younger classes a huge legacy to uphold.
This program will be facing a difficult road when the season begins, but expectations are higher than ever. The criticism will be given from many doubters of this team, but they have proven to overcome adversity and succeed in the toughest of times.
Every team in college football is special, but there are the few that push further than the rest. With the confidence growing and the foundation being set, Michigan State will continue to prove they belong among the elite.