MSU offense enjoys 'explosive plays' in scrimmage

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
Madre London

East Lansing – Michigan State completed its second scrimmage of preseason camp on Saturday, and this time it was the offense that came out on top with a 34-18 victory over the defense under a modified scoring system.

The Spartans went 155 plays and, while details were scarce once again, judging by the comments of coach Mark Dantonio, it sounds like the offense is rounding into form.

"The offense produced some explosive plays," Dantonio said. "I thought (Madre) London played very, very well, and our quarterback play was excellent. The thing you're impressed about from a coaching standpoint is zero turnovers. Any time you don't turn it over in 100-plus plays, that's a positive. We've got to continue to strive to stop the unforced errors and penalties ... things of that nature. That's all a part of this (process)."

London has been in a tight battle at tailback with sophomore Gerald Holmes, true freshman LJ Scott and junior Delton Williams.

The quarterback situation is clear at the top as Connor Cook enters his final season 23-3 as a starter. The bigger question is at No. 2 as junior Tyler O'Connor and sophomore Damion Terry compete.

"All three quarterbacks played well," Dantonio said. "Cook played extremely well early, and the other two guys (O'Connor and Terry) played well."

Like the first scrimmage last week, the Spartans didn't push some of the veteran players and instead focused on getting some young players plenty of work.

"We tried to play everybody, especially the guys we need to find a little bit more about," Dantonio said. "Certain guys we know a lot about, so we don't play them as much.

"We have a veteran football team, but there are always some young guys pressing (for playing time) and doing some things well. They may take a step back (in a practice or scrimmage) and then they move forward, so it's all about the reps. We're trying to get everybody reps, so they can show what they've got."

Practice resumes Sunday and Dantonio said the focus will begin to shift for the Spartans, who open the season Sept. 4 at Western Michigan.

"We need to sort of change gears a little bit (next week) and get off (concentrating on) ourselves and move to our first opponent, Western Michigan," he said. "We need to finish up some (game) situations; go back and (review) them a little bit more. We also need to study ourselves and make sure we're playing the right guys."