Michigan State Football: What worked and didn’t work against Western

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Sep 4, 2015; Kalamazoo, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans cornerback Vayante Copeland makes a stop on Western Michigan Broncos wide receiver Daniel Braverman (8) during the 1st quarter of a game at Waldo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Backs

The biggest question mark coming into the season for the Spartans was cornerback. After spring ball it looked like the question was down to who would take up the cornerback position opposite Demetrious Cox who had solidified himself as a starter after playing safety his first two years.

Related: MSU Football: Grading the Spartans in the win over WMU

By the end of the first game, that question was answered but another emerged.

What went well: Vayante Copeland

During the game I had the following text exchange:

L: “Copeland looks the part. Montae a stud.”
T: “Stud.”

This was well before Vayante Copeland made the game clinching interception — looking like Darqueeze Dennard against Michigan two years ago and Trae Waynes against Nebraska last year.

Copeland was also a sure tackler against the run and out there in space on the bubble screens. Oh and Montae Nicholson is the real deal — it seems like he will be playing at the next level.

What didn’t: Right cornerback/nickel package

Demetrious Cox was exposed a bit and picked on during Western’s last drive. He has a bit of work to do to get to be the kind of cornerback his coaches imagine he can be.

Unfortunately, the guys behind him — Darien Hicks, Arjen Colquhoun and Jermaine Edmondson — all got beat when they were in there in the nickel package. Cox is still the best bet at corner opposite Copeland, but MSU will need all of their corners against Oregon this week — and need them to play well.

Next: Special teams