August 8, 2014 at 8:55 pm

Damion Terry practicing with confidence as he vies to be Michigan State's backup QB

Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook (18) and Damion Terry (7) roll out in a drill with other quarterbacks as the Spartans hold their first football practice last weekend in East Lansing. (Dale G. Young / Detroit News)

East Lansing — A year ago, Michigan State faced a four-man battle at quarterback.

Heading into the first scrimmage of preseason camp today, that battle is a distant memory as Connor Cook is the clear No. 1 after enjoying a breakout season in 2013.

But the intrigue is still there for which player will be the backup, and that means there again will be plenty of attention paid to redshirt freshman Damion Terry. As a true freshman last season, Terry got a shot in practice but never saw the field.

After suffering a shoulder injury during the spring, he is happy to be back in the mix for backup QB with sophomore Tyler O’Connor.

“I’ve gained a ton of confidence,” Terry said. “This fall is really big for me, coming from last fall and last season — I was really just scout team and didn’t really learn too much of the offense. But now with spring ball and fall camp I have that confidence and feel way more comfortable in this role.”

The injury to his left, non-throwing shoulder is still limiting Terry a bit, and he won’t be hit during Saturday’s scrimmage.

But getting live work will be important.

“We want him to do something,” quarterbacks coach Brad Salem said. “We need to get him some snaps so that he is doing stuff. You can’t sit and wait and keep him out of everything, so you have to be careful with it.”

Wherever Terry ends up in the pecking order, there is no doubt it will have a different feel than last season.

As the offense was struggling early, fans were clamoring for the highly-rated freshman to get in the game.

“It was kind of crazy,” he said. “I was just a true freshman and my first ever game in this big stadium and then people are cheering my name. I didn’t really know how to react. It was surreal so I just let it go and worked on my game.”

mcharboneau@detroitnews.com
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