Michigan State Football: What worked and what didn’t against Central Michigan

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Sep 26, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Central Michigan Chippewas wide receiver Anthony Rice (80) is defended by Michigan State Spartans defensive back Demetrious Cox (7) during the 2nd half of a game at Spartan Stadium. MSU won 30-10. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive Backs

The defensive backfield continues to be the weak link of the defense — and maybe the whole team. Coming into the season, there seemed to be only one major question mark: the cornerback opposite Demtrious Cox.

Must Read: College Football Top 25 Rankings: Spartan Avenue’s Week 5 edition

Unfortunately, that question was answered and then opened back up when Vayante Copeland seized it and then went down to a season-ending neck injury. And now there are even more questions in the secondary as super athlete Montae Nicholson has played far below seasonal expectations.

A second true freshman safety lost his redshirt against Central, will a true freshman corner be the next?

What went well: Improved tackling

There weren’t a lot of busted tackles and bad angles taken from the secondary like against Air Force. There were a few too many tackles made by the secondary — four out of the top seven MSU tacklers were defensive backs — but the majority of the time they wrapped up well and made the play. There were still a few busts, most notably by Montae Nicholson.

What didn’t: Safety

Last week true freshman Grayson Miller was activated against Air Force and was subsequently added to the depth chart for the game against Central. Miller continues to get most of his run on special teams taking Montae Nicholson’s place. This week another freshman took Nicholson’s place for a handful of plays — this time at safety.

Khari Willis dropped his redshirt and responded by getting a pass breakup late in the game. Nicholson sat for a few series with Demetrious Cox moving over from corner to take his spot.

Unfortunately, R.J. Williamson went down with what appeared to be a shoulder injury. Nicholson came back in to take his spot. Between Williamson’s injury and Nicholson’s up-and-down play there are serious question marks raised at safety in addition to those already surfaced at corner.

Next: Special Teams