Andrew Maxwell’s progression at quarterback has been rockier than most prognosticators thought it would be. Gone are the video game-like statistics that Kirk Cousins put up a season ago. Left in place of those numbers are the struggles of an inexperienced junior unable to grasp the mental aspect of playing his position.
Michigan State’s struggles on offense have correlated with the figures in the stat book. Maxwell is ranked 113th in the nation in quarterback rating and has completed less than 55 percent of his passes. Those numbers are not what an offensive coordinator wants to see out of his starting quarterback.
“I don’t know if it was Andrew Maxwell not getting the right read,” Michigan State offensive coordinator Dan Roushar said in his postgame presser Saturday after losing to Iowa 19-16 in double overtime. “From our perspective, we thought we got a little anxious on one of them and the ball came out to Le’Veon (Bell) really quick.”
Maxwell will start the eighth game of his career this coming weekend and it’s hard to argue that he should be a completely polished quarterback at this point. However, coaches would hope that their signal caller is competent enough to find the open receiver down field.
“You go through the progression; you go off your key and whether you’re getting your coverage. Then you move through your progress and you go. We thought we missed one for sure, maybe two.”
Roushar and head coach Mark Dantonio have been preaching each week about evaluating the game film and making the appropriate changes to the offense. Perhaps after facing one of the best defenses in the country in Ann Arbor this Saturday, the coaches’ evaluation of Maxwell will merit a call to the bullpen. Michigan employs a stingy defense that has a knack for grabbing interceptions. This weekend’s matchup will surely be a barometer of Maxwell’s ceiling behind center.