Every prognosticator knew Andrew Maxwell had a tough task to complete when he was asked to fill Michigan State football quarterback legend Kick Cousin’s shoes. However, no prognosticator believed that it would be THIS brutal of a task for Maxwell to complete in 2012.
MSU kicks off its Big Ten conference portion of the schedule this Saturday against Ohio State in East Lansing, and the Spartans are not where the team needs to be at offensively to compete against the powerful defenses in the conference.
“I think our offense is very capable. We got the guys, but we just have to put it together and play more confidently,” head coach Mark Dantonio said during a conference call on Tuesday. “We need to grow in the passing game.”
No one has stepped up as a consistent pass-catcher in the Spartans’ offense. Dantonio can continue to berate the media about how the offense has the ability to get it done, but clearly the team doesn’t. The team cannot fallback on its excuses about having young players or getting off to rocky starts in games anymore now that team is ready to put its conference reputation on the line.
The team’s receivers are hopeless. You want to know how ineffective Michigan State’s passing game has been? Dantonio said that he has thought about playing cornerback Johnny Adams at wide receiver. The reason? He caught a single pass in the spring game.
Clearly the Spartans are lacking personnel to get it done, but it’s not like his past pass-catching recruits were slouches coming in to the season. Bennie Fowler has shown flashes of a being a great receiver, but that was against lowly-outmatched Central Michigan. Dion Sims hasn’t put together a complete game offensively yet this season. DeAnthony Arnett has been completely ineffective. Tony Lippett hasn’t had his name called nearly as much as he did last season.
I like the Spartans to hang with the Buckeyes for a little while in Saturday’s game, but ultimately the team will lose because of its inability to move the chains through the air. The Spartans cannot rely solely on the talents of running back Le’Veon Bell.
Someone needs to step up at wide receiver or else this is going to be a tremendously long and grueling season for Michigan State football.