Michigan State Football: Spartans could go to two-QB system

Mark Dantonio hints at two-quarterback system

6/5/13 in NCAAF   |   Tyler_Waddell   |   426 respect

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio reiterated the fact that Andrew Maxwell is the Spartans' starting quarterback on Tuesday, according to Mike Griffith of MLive.com.Blog Photo - Michigan State Football: Spartans could go to two-QB system

"As I said after the spring game, right now Andrew Maxwell is our quarterback,'' Dantonio said, "and we're moving in that direction, but we've got to play well.''

Although he doesn't sound too confident that it'll stay that way throughout the entire season (he used the infamous "but"), he's at least giving Maxwell the chance to rebuttal from last year's underwhelming performance.

He also doesn't leave out the possibility of a potential two-quarterback system, which could very well play itself out if Maxwell shows that he can't become more of a consistent passer during summer practice.

"In line with the quarterback situation, I think it's important to recognize that Maxwell is a senior and we need to get someone ready as we move forward, so you'll see another quarterback playing a little bit,'' Dantonio said. "Certainly, there will be competition in camp to see where that's at.
"I do think it's important we take a broad-based look at all four quarterbacks that are in camp.''

Michigan State had a very similar situation in 2009, when Kirk Cousins hadn't established himself as the starting quarterback by the start of the regular season. Dantonio used Keith Nichol—who switched to wide receiver the following year—21.7 percent of the Spartans' pass attempts that season.

So the burning question is: Who will compete for and win this part-time job?

There's redshirt sophomore Connor Cook, who probably owns the best throwing mechanics on the team. He has a very smooth, quick release that helps him get off passes quickly and avoid pressure, and has above-average mobility outside of the pocket.

Cook saw limited playing time as a freshman in 2012, but threw a touchdown in a comeback win against TCU in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

"... Connor Cook [is] coming back [and] has the game experience and bowl experience where he really led the team to a winning score,'' Dantonio continued. "There is talent at that position. All those things are a positive. We've got to make plays and deliver at that position.''

Then there is redshirt freshman Tyler O'Connor, who takes care of the ball and makes good decisions in the pocket. He has a cannon of an arm, but needs more development with his downfield passing. O'Connor ran the ball a bit in high school but would be used primarily as a Pro-Style quarterback in East Lansing.

The final candidate is a complete wild card but could be the most intriguing of them all.

Incoming freshman Damion Terry was a consensus four-star quarterback and the No. 5 dual-threat for the class of 2013 (247Sports). He has great patience in the pocket and can deliver a ball with great velocity whether it be five yards behind the line or on the run.

At 6-foot-4, he can see the field very well and makes great pre-reads. His size also makes him deceptively fast, and he already runs a 4.6 40-yard dash. His outstanding athleticism and mobility makes him a dangerous weapon at quarterback and he's definitely the future of Michigan State football.

Terry is of course a true freshman and has yet to learn the offense, and would likely have a leash when it comes to how much Dantonio lets him do when in the game. Still, he's a viable option for an offense that seemed lifeless for much of the season.

And Dantonio seems fine with any of the three.

"I think our quarterback situation is in better shape than it was last year, we have four scholarship quarterbacks,'' he said. "We have a redshirt freshman who has a lot of practice experience, We have a dynamic freshman coming in, we have an experienced quarterback coming back that's played in 13 games."

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