An injury left Lawrence Thomas unavailable until last week, when he made the trip to Iowa but did not play. (David Guralnick / Detroit News)
East Lansing — Sophomore Lawrence Thomas has yet to play a game this season for Michigan State, but that hasn't stopped endless speculation as to when he might see the field.
Thomas, who played fullback last season as a redshirt freshman, moved to defensive tackle in the spring, and there were high expectations for him entering the season. But an injury left him unavailable until last week, when he made the trip to Iowa but did not play.
As Michigan State continues to prepare for Saturday's game against Indiana, defensive line coach Ron Burton said it could still take a couple of weeks for Thomas to contribute.
"He looks fresh, that's for sure," Burton said Wednesday, "and looks stealth. But he's got to get back in gamesmanship mode, using his hands at the point of attack, and that's gonna take a couple weeks. But it's good to have him out there. What shows right away is his quickness and his agility."
When Thomas does come back, playing time doesn't appear to be guaranteed.
The Spartans have been getting solid play out of starters Tyler Hoover and Micajah Reynolds, while Mark Scarpinato and Damon Knox have been effective rotating in for the No. 1 defense in the nation overall and against the run.
"Tyler Hoover is a big kid being inside, has really improved being able to play with good pad level and have some success to help our backers flow," Burton said. "And he's been having some pressure in the pass game. Our other kid over there, Reynolds, has done a good job. He has another guy who is battling him right now in Scarpinato, who's done a terrific job in the run and in the pass. So right now we got three guys we really like strongly in there including Damon Knox, who is the fourth."