It is finally time for the changing of the guard to be complete and have Coach Dantonio lead the 2007 version of the Spartans onto the field for the first time at noon on Saturday to take on the Blazers of the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
Last season opener against Idaho, while a win, should have served notice to Spartan fans as to what kind of season to expect from MSU. MSU defeated Idaho 27-17, but the game was certainly much closer than that.
In this game, I would look for the Spartans to pound the ball with Ringer and Caulcrick early behind an offensive line which outweighs the UAB defensive line by 35 pounds per man.
With that, the first depth chart of the season was released and I think there are a few things worth noting:
- Senior wideout Terry Love is listed as a backup to junior Devin Thomas. Thomas started one game last season, but played in 10 catching just six passes for 90 yards in those games. Love on the other hand played in 12 games and caught 18 balls for 234 yards in 2006. Love, who had some academic issues he needed to work out before joining the team for fall practice, still looks like he needs to earn his time from Coach Dantonio.
- The other wide receiver slot will be filled by true freshman Mark Dell out of Farmington Harrison. Dell will be backed up by junior Deon Curry who has played in seven games in his one-year MSU career, but only has one catch for seven yards. Another reason MSU will be a running team this season.
- Senior linebacker SirDarean Adams is listed as a backup behind redshirt freshman Jon Misch. Misch is undersized for the Big Ten, but has a big heart and plays over his head according to reports. SirDarean had played the famous "bandit" position under former coach John L. Smith and can certainly hit. Have to keep a look out to see how long he stays behind Misch.
- Dantonio has not decided on a backup to junior quarterback Brian Hoyer. The battle has been between redshirt freshman Connor Dixon and true freshman Nick Foles. Let's hope Hoyer is durable this season.
For the record:
- MSU and UAB have never faced each other in football
- MSU is 4-1 against current members of Conference USA, defeating Marshall (9/00), Memphis (9/97), Rice (9/02) and SMU while losing to Houston (9/67).
- MSU has won nine of its last 10 home openers, including eight in a row. The Spartans' last loss in a home opener came in 1998 when MSU lost to Colorado State, 23-16.