On Saturday at 1:00 pm MSU will have their annual spring game in Davis Wade Stadium. It is a free event this year where fans can get a glimpse at how the 2013 squad is shaping up after spring training. It’s one thing for fans to watch the game as fans and primarily follow the ball. We watch the QB either hand off or throw it and we watch the running backs or receivers afterwards. On defense we watch the players run to the ball and make the tackle or perhaps get an interception. I’m going to give the hardcore football junkie some things to keep an eye on that the average fan will miss. A lot of these things I’ll suggest are crucial to our season.
OG Justin Malone- He will be the full time starter at G next year. He has a big time ceiling but is only a sophomore. He does very well in pass blocking because he has really good feet. The crucial thing to watch with him is his run blocking. Keep a close eye on if he handles our DT’s well.
WR Fred Brown- Jameon Lewis and Rojo have asserted themselves as our top WR options but there has been a dogfight for the rest of the reps. Fred has done a great job this spring putting himself in the conversation at WR. When he came to MSU he was small and has worked to put on size and strength. He runs great routes but keep a close eye on how well he gets off the line in press coverages. He’s still a bit on the small side so if he can do this well, expect to see him play a lot.
WR/RB Brandon Holloway- The guy is lightning fast and all spring we have seen the staff work hard to get him touches. Keep an eye on how surprisingly well he runs between the tackles and watch all the positions the staff puts him in to get touches.
DE Preston Smith- Denico Autry gets much of the fanfare at DE but Smith has quietly had a great spring. Many forget he led us in sacks with limited snaps last year. Take the time and watch him on a few plays. The guy is a great pass rusher. Even if he can’t hit the QB watch the bull rush and count how many sacks he could have had.
DT PJ Jones- We needed someone to step up and be a leader at DT and PJ has done a great job. He looks like he’s gotten bigger. Watch him battle in there a few plays. He moves really well and gets good push. Especially watch if it’s an outside run and how well he pursues the ball. You’ll be pleased.
DT Nick James- First off, he is a mountain of a man. He gets push on almost every play, even when double teamed. The main thing I can tell you is watch how much fun he is having on the field. You will have fun just watching him.
CB- Not really 1 in particular but watch how close the competition is between Justin Cox, Cedric Jiles, Will Redmond, and Jamerson Love. There is not much that separates any of these guys and the competition is fierce. If I had to pick 1 thing, watch how big and physical Cox is.
FS Nickoe Whitley- It should immediately jump out at you that he has lost weight. Watch him by himself a few plays and look how much better he is moving out there. He looks like he has regained his step and just looks smooth out there. I think you’ll see Nickoe of 2011.