Michigan State Football: 3 Reasons Maxwell Will out Perform Denard Robinson
Okay, I know what you guys are thinking, how can a guy who has never started a game in college outperform a Heisman-hopeful?
Well, although Andrew Maxwell is a first-year starter at quarterback, he has the tools to be one of the best at that position in the conference. Yes, even better than rival quarterback Denard Robinson.
Maxwell will have a lot to prove this year if he wants to adequately fill the shoes of former team captain and star quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Here is why Maxwell will outperform Denard this season.
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Even though Denard Robinson has won the "September Heisman" award for the past two seasons, he has yet to prove himself as a strong passer.
Denard had a completion percentage of 62.5 in 2010 but followed it up with a mediocre 55.0 percent last season. Along with this mediocre percentage, he managed to average more than one interception per game, throwing 15 in the 2011 season.
He has been criticized heavily for his lack of an accurate arm. He is more of a running quarterback than a traditional pocket passer.
This fact can work in Maxwell's favor. Coming out of high school, Maxwell was rated one of the nation's top 10 pro-style quarterbacks by rivals.com. Although he has such a small sample size in his collegiate career(just 29-for-51), he has the arm to be an even better quarterback than Cousins.
He won't be able to run the ball as well as Denard, but he will end up with a higher completion percentage, more yards and less interceptions than the Wolverine quarterback.
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Let's face it, Michigan has a better overall offense than Michigan State with Denard at the helm rushing for over 100 yards game after game. However, Michigan State has more potential weapons surrounding their quarterback and a better offensive line.
Denard can make an offense look good by himself, but Maxwell has the players around him that can make him look better.
Maxwell has solid, yet unproven targets such as Dion Sims at tight end who can run opponents over, Tennessee transfer DeAnthony Arnett (who is a deep threat) and Heisman-hopeful running back Le'Veon Bell, who has the moves to make any opponent look foolish.
These are just a small sample of the weapons that Maxwell has at his disposal. He has a handful of young, quick receivers that can end up being great players at that position, and there is depth at the running back position with Larry Caper and Nick Hill. These are guys that Maxwell can dump the ball off too when the young receivers have a hard time getting open.
With these solid weapons and an experienced offensive line, Maxwell will be well-protected and put up the stats that a veteran quarterback would be proud of.
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Michigan State has one of the best defenses not just in the Big Ten, but in the entire country.
The Spartans were one of two Big Ten teams to allow less than 300 yards per game last season and allowed the least yards per game in the conference.
They were sixth in the entire country in this category, allowing just 277.4 yards, all while being one of the nation's best scoring defenses as well.
They have two potential top-20 picks in next year's NFL Draft in defensive end William Gholston and Cornerback Johnny Adams.
You may be wondering why the defense has anything to do with how well Maxwell performs, but it has a lot to do with his play at quarterback. If the defense can stop a team from getting long drives for touchdowns and get the ball right back to the offense, Maxwell will have more opportunities to rack up stats. The more he has the ball in his hands, the better opportunity to throw touchdown passes and elevate his stats.
Also, if the Spartan defense doesn't give up too many points, Maxwell won't have to play comeback all the time and he would avoid throwing errors that could lead to interceptions for the opposition.
They are returning most of their starters on a defense that was tops in the Big Ten and will be poised to be one of the best in the country once again. Defensive Coordinator Pat Narduzzi is one of the best at what he does, and he will have this defense ready to dominate come August 31 against Boise State.