The leader or playmaker? The veteran or transfer? Kirk Cousins or Keith Nichol? That is the question many Spartan faithful have been asking since the end of spring practices. Many thought that the competition would become clearer after the spring game, but 357 yards later by both candidates made this closer than anyone could have ever guessed.
Coach Dantonio has stated numerous times that he could go with a two quarterback rotation to start the year if he feels like neither candidate has an edge over the other. The loss of Javon Ringer has far-reaching effects on this program, not just in the running back department. Either Cousins or Nichol will be an upgrade on Brian Hoyer from last year, and will have more opportunities because we wont see forty-five rushes a game.
Kirk Cousins is a returning red-shirt sophomore who has been watching on the sideline for the past two years. In his brief appearances (five games) in 2008 he posted a 145.67 efficiency rating, 74.4 completion percentage, 310 yards, and 2 touchdowns to 1 interception. In all five games he managed the game well, but didn’t show play making abilities. He could develop into a great leader and manager, but don’t expect him to light up with great stats.
Keith Nichol is a transfer red-shirt sophomore from Oklahoma, where he battled Sam Bradford for the starting job as a true-freshman. Hasn’t had nearly as much on the field experience as Cousins but still has more raw talent and play-making abilities. If he would have stayed the course with MSU all along instead of going to OU, he very well could be the starter this year. If he does indeed start, expect this to become one of the more explosive offensive units in the country with three or four big time receivers.