Michigan State Football: Week 4 depth chart reaction


Michigan State football was able to hold off Air Force and come out of the game with minimal injuries. With the suspension of Riley Bullough for targeting and the continued progression of freshmen, there were a few changes of note on the depth chart for the fourth game of the season against Central Michigan.

Note: MSU actually names 12 offensive starters on its depth chart, depending on offensive sets.

WR – Aaron Burbridge, Macgarrett Kings, R.J. Shelton
OL – Jack Conklin, Brian Allen, Jack Allen, Donavon Clark OR Benny McGowan, Miguel Machado OR Donavon Clark
TE – Josiah Price OR Jamal Lyles OR Paul Lang
RB – Madre London OR LJ Scott
FB – Trevon Pendleton
QB – Connor Cook

DL – Shilique Calhoun, Joel Heath, Malik McDowell, Lawrence Thomas
LB – Darien Harris, Shane Jones, Jon Reschke
DB – Demetrious Cox, Montae Nicholson, RJ Williamson, Arjen Colquhoun

Special Teams
KO – Kevin Cronin
PK – Michael Geiger
P – Jake Hartbarger
SN – Taybor Pepper
HLD – Matt Macksood
KR – R.J. Shelton, L.J. Scott
PR – MacGarrett Kings

Take a look at some of the initial reactions following the depth chart release:

Replacing Riley

Riley Bullough will miss the first half of MSU’s game against Central and Shane Jones’ inclusion as the No. 1 middle linebacker reflects this in the depth chart. Jones was a highly sought-after recruit, but has yet to make the kind of impact that was expected.

As a high school senior, many envisioned him eventually taking over for Max Bullough after Max graduated. However, in the interim it seemed that Jones was passed over by two other Bulloughs – Riley and little brother Byron. Jones has done well to work his way past Byron and take over the backup duties for Riley.

Nov 29, 2014; University Park, PA, USA; Michigan State Spartans linebacker Shane Jones (49) and defensive end Shilique Calhoun (89) react following the completion of the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Michigan State defeated Penn State 34-10. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O

When it was clear Riley Bullough would be out, there was some speculation that Jon Reschke would move back to the middle — where he was Bullough’s backup before Ed Davis went down with a season ending injury — and Chris Frey would start on the outside.

However, it looks like Jones will get the first shot to make it work. Of course once Bullough is eligible, he will be right back in there as he has been the Spartan’s best linebacker.

Cornerback situation

Sep 12, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Oregon Ducks wide receiver Byron Marshall (9) makes a touchdown catch against Michigan State Spartans cornerback Arjen Colquhoun (36) during the 2nd half of a game at Spartan Stadium. MSU won 31-28. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

With No. 1 corner Vayante Copeland out for the year with a neck injury, Arjen Colquhoun gets the nod at starter opposite Demetrious Cox. Jermaine Edmondson backs up Colquhoun and Darian Hicks is 2nd string behind Cox.

Expect all four of those corners to play. Now that MSU is in the middle of their season and Vayante Copeland isn’t coming back one of those three have to step up their game.

Freshmen moving on up

L.J. Scott has moved up to co-starter at running back with Madre London. This is probably just a reflection of how the games have gone. Scott and London have split the carries pretty evenly so far this season.

True freshman, Grayson Miller, who played in his first game against Air Force, has moved up to second-string safety behind Montae Nicholson — and also seems to have taken Nicholson’s place on kick coverage.

Felton Davis III also played his first snaps of the season against Air Force and he’s sharing duties with AJ Troup to back up burgeoning star wide receiver Aaron Burbridge. Cornerbacks Josh Butler and David Dowell and safety Khari Willis appear as third-stringers.

In his post-game press conference, Coach Dantonio indicated that the coaching staff can only integrate one or two freshman per week to be game ready. If another true freshman is to play, expect him to be one of those three defensive backs.

Other Notes

It’s not clear what’s happening at tight end with a third player added to the starting lineup. Blocking specialist, Paul Lang, is now listed as a starter alongside Josiah Price and Jamal Lyles. It’s likely just a show of recognition for the hard work Paul Lang has put into the run game. On the other hand, it could be a message to Price and Lyles that they need to do better with blocking.

The offensive line situation has not become clearer after a week of practice and an entire game. Neither Miguel Machado nor Benny McGowan shined in the game against Air Force, so the depth chart reflects the continuing battle.

Finally, Evan Jones is listed as the backup defensive end. This makes sense as Dantonio revealed at his weekly press conference that Montez Sweat is suspended. Jones played a lot of minutes against Air Force because Sweat was suspended for the Air Force game, as well.

Next: Air Force vs. Michigan State: 5 players who earned the game ball