Friday, April 20, 2012

Michigan State College playing Michigan at dedication of Macklin Field in 1924. The stadium opened in the fall of 1923, but the official dedication was the following year, where MSC almost upset U-M, but fell 7-0.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

From MSU:
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EAST LANSING, Mich. – Under partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-60s, the Michigan State football team held its second jersey scrimmage of spring practice Thursday afternoon in Spartan Stadium. Utilizing a modified scoring system, the offense defeated the defense, 62-59, in a “situational” scrimmage.

In the first scrimmage held on Saturday, the defense came away with a convincing 72-32 victory.

The biggest difference for the offense in the second scrimmage was the running game. Senior Larry Caper led the way with 106 yards on 21 carries (5.0 avg.), including a 22-yard touchdown and another rush for 31 yards, the longest of the day. Sophomore Nick Hill carried the ball 12 times for 51 yards, while junior Le’Veon Bell had 48 yards on 13 attempts. Hill (15 yards) and Bell (2 yards) also had touchdown runs. The three running backs combined for 205 yards on 46 carries (4.5 avg.) and three TDs.

The Big Ten announces Thursday that St. Paul, Minn. and Detroit will rotate as hosts for the first four conference men's ice hockey tournaments. 

The 2014 and 2016 tournaments will be at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul and the 2015 and 2017 tournaments will be at Joe Louis Arena.

The locations make sense, as Minnesota and Michigan are two of the top college hockey states and hockey in general. Michigan has "Hockeytown," while Minnesota declared itself as the "State of Hockey." With Penn State adding ice hockey as a Division I sport in 2013-14, the sport had enough sponsors to become part of the Big Ten. MSU, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ohio State are set to leave their current conferences and join the Big Ten, which has created tectonic shifts in the college hockey landscape. 

Here is the release from the Big Ten:
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A men's intramural softball game from 1957.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Michigan State College playing Kentucky at Macklin Field in 1947.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

According to the , quarterback Andrew Maxwell suffered a sprained knee in the first spring scrimmage and will be sidelined for at least a week. MSU said Maxwell is questionable for the Spring Game on April 28.

That leaves redshirt freshman Connor Cook as the No. 1 quarterback with fifth-year senior Peter Badovinac and redshirt freshman Tommy Vento has the backups. Spartan Tailgate's Dan Kilbridge said Dantonio told reporters the injury occurred while Maxwell was leaving the pocket and ""

This also might explain why the defense dominated the scrimmage as much as they did.

For Maxwell, this appears to only be a minor setback. While getting more reps with the young receivers is important, it doesn't seem to be a major injury. For Cook, it will be an big opportunity to develop chemistry with the young receivers, whom Cook could be throwing to as the starter in two seasons. The coaches have liked what Cook has shown in practice over the last year. Incoming freshman Tyler O'Connor likely will be the No. 3 quarterback when he comes to MSU this summer.

Looking at the big picture, this will be a chance for MSU to develop a reliable backup. In five seasons, Dantonio has only had to deal with a serious injury to his starter in 2009, when he had two No. 1 quarterbacks in Kirk Cousins and Keith Nichol. (I define "serious" as not being able to start the next game). Sometimes you forget the backup quarterback is only one play away from taking over the reins of the offense.

Injuries happen in the spring. This one just gets more attention because it's the quarterback.

While the Spring Game might not be as exciting without the starting quarterback, the next two weeks will be a good opportunity for Cook to take a step forward in his development, which will help MSU should anything happen to Maxwell again.

A 1923 illustration of the MAC campus. This view is looking south from the Michigan Ave./Grand River Ave. intersection. You can see how North Campus is the only developed part. You can see Macklin Field (Spartan Stadium) alone on the south side of the Red Cedar River.

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Cousins' second go-around with Jon Gruden's QB Camp debuts tonight on ESPNU. Here's a sneak peek from ESPN.com:



And about Cousins.

I love when Gruden does these things. As ESPN starts to drift more toward the drama of football and less about the Xs and Os, I love getting a detailed look at what coaches and players talk about and look for. I know Gruden enjoys his role as a commentator, but still think he'll get back into coaching. Maybe his work with college quarterbacks with his annual camp could push him to being a college coach.

From 1913: "Fans at a M.A.C. vs. University of Michigan football game. On the front: "M.A.C. --- 12" "U. of M. --- 7." On the back: "Property: MSC Historian" "The stands at Ferry Field going wild with first victory of M.A.C. over Michigan."


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Saturday, April 14, 2012

MSU defense dominates first scrimmage, 72-32

Given the amount of talent returning on each side of the ball, it shouldn't be a surprise that the MSU defense won the first scrimmage of spring practice 72-32.

MSU ran 104 plays in a situational scrimmage. The defense had 10 sacks and three interceptions. Will Gholston and Joel Heath each had two sacks, including a safety for Heath. Johnny Adams had two interceptions, including one for a touchdown.

On offense, Andrew Maxwell went 6-for-11 for 57 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Le'Veon Bell had 12 rushes for 49 yards. In the quotes (below), Mark Dantonio wasn't surprised at how well the defense played, but didn't like the amount of turnovers on offense. While 10 sacks seems like a lot, there were 104 plays, so those numbers are bound to be high when you factor in each string. I wouldn't look too much into that.

MSU will get back to practice on Tuesday. The Spring Game is scheduled for April 28.

Here is the release from MSU:

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Journey: Big Ten Football 2012

This is going to be awesome.

Thoughts on the Derrick Nix situation

It's hard to have a wrong opinion on what Tom Izzo should have done with Derrick Nix following his drug arrest (later ).

Drew Sharp said that . Joe Rexrode said that by reinstating Nix to the program with TBD punishments. While Sharp's opinion is valid, I agree with Rexrode. I'm a guy who believes in giving guys chances to redeem themselves, especially college kids.

But the only person whose opinion matters is Izzo. It's quite clear that he knows what is best for his program. This isn't a case of a guy letting his kids away with everything. Some guys have been able to move past troubles and flourish (Mateen Cleaves), while others didn't take advantage of their second-chances (Chris Allen, Korie Lucious).

As for the car, it was a completely legitimate question, especially given Nix's background. As frustrated as Izzo was by the issue, it is the duty journalists to look into that. As it turned out, there was nothing wrong. But there's a difference between journalists doing their jobs by looking into it and message board fans accusing Izzo's program of cheating. It was looked into, cleared up and that's the end of it.

Anyone who has been around Nix knows he's a great kid, a gentle giant who is not afraid to speak his mind and is full of jokes. During the 2010-11 season, I wrote a story about  I called Nix's mom for the story. She was busy and told me to call back and another time, but never again answered my calls. After the story ran, Nix apologized to me for his mom not getting back to me. He also wanted to know how he could get the story (The State News is free in newsstands all around campus).

I'll never be surprised when a college kid gets in trouble with marijuana. Like Sharp, I've never smoked pot, but I'm not going to berate people who do. I know it's almost as common as alcohol in most places. Both have the potential to ruin lives, but that often comes down to the individual person. When like alcohol, that should give you an idea of things.

But that doesn't change that Nix broke the law. He will get in trouble. When the War Drill is part of practice, I don't want to know what punishment from Izzo is. Nix will be worked. He will learn his lesson. He had been on the right track after getting in batter shape and having a solid junior season. This is a step back, but it could result in multiple steps forward.

Nix's first two seasons on the court were basically wasted because he couldn't get his weight in order. But that's what college is for. It's about growing, changing, improving. Nix has the skills the play professional basketball some day, it has always been about getting serious about priorities. I do believe Nix was serious with the tears streaming down his face at Thursday's press conference as he apologized to everyone, especially Izzo's son.

I agree with Izzo's view on role models. No one is perfect. The best role models are the ones who learn from their mistakes. I believe that is what will happen from Nix. Unless Izzo forbids it, I still expect Nix to be named a captain next season, and I also expect Nix to finally live up his potential on the court. Some people just need a wake-up call. This could finally be it for Nix.

Random MSU Photo of the Day: 4/13

Cows graze a field near MSU buildings. The year is not listed. My grandfather, a U-M grad, told me they used to refer to MSU as a "cow college." I have no idea why.

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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Howard Griffith of Big Ten Network was in East Lansing recently to talk with Ken Mannie about MSU's strength and conditioning work.

The intro music is super intense, and some of the b-roll shows that Chris McDonald is leading the "Spartans" chant, so he seems to be moving into that leadership role as everyone expected.



A bonus video from BTN's YouTube account:

"The image shows students working in a field (in 1892). A classroom building now stands on the garden site." 


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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

From the  today:

Q. What was your opinion of Kirk Cousins going into the interview, and where do you project him to go?

JON GRUDEN:  We got to know Cousins well in the Outback Bowl.  Mike Tirico and I did the Outback Bowl, and we spent a lot of time with Michigan State and with Cousins specifically.  We got to see him practice.  We had him down here at the FFCA headquarters twice.  What you’re getting is a three‑time team captain at Michigan State, so that tells you what type of leader he is.  He does have, I think, NFL prototype size.  He’s in a very good offense at Michigan State.  They ask him to do a lot of different things.  He’s under the center, he’s in the shotgun, there’s a two‑back attack, there’s a no‑back attack.  And quietly Michigan State has become one of the premier football programs in college football.  They’re the winningest team in the Big Ten over the last three years. 

"Action shot from a M.A.C. vs. University of Michigan football game, October 15, 1910. On the front: 'Hill kicking field goal,' M.A.C. vs U of M. Oct. 15th '10, 'M.A.C. 3 U. of M. 6.'"


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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Random MSU Photo of the Day: 4/10

Michigan State was admitted to the Big Ten in 1948, so it expanded Macklin Field to 51,000 seats and renamed it Macklin Stadium. Here it is under construction.


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Monday, April 9, 2012

Random MSU Photo of the Day: 4/9

The first Wells Hall.
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Sunday, April 8, 2012

After losing the first two games in the weekend series, MSU won the third game against Michigan in Ann Arbor on Sunday by a 10-8 score in 13 innings.

U-M won 4-0 in Ann Arbor on Friday, the Wolverines' first win against MSU since 2009. U-M also won 4-3 in East Lansing on Saturday.

Here are the BTN highlights of Sunday's game.

In the closest race since 2005, MSU incoming freshman Gary Harris was  on Sunday.

Harris picked up 154 votes, while Indiana-bound Yogi Ferrell had 103 votes. Per BTNStatsGuy, Harris is the .

Harris, whose parents both went to Purdue, was heavily recruited by the home-state teams as well as Kentucky. But Harris signed with MSU, upsetting a lot of people in the Hoosier state. The shooting guard is a consensus five-star recruit and was listed as in the country by ESPN. MSU's 2012 recruiting class is ranked No. 7 by ESPN.

Last month, fellow MSU signee Matt Costello was named Mr. Basketball in Michigan.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Random MSU Photo of the Day: 4/6

The 1884 Michigan Agricultural College football squad. Although football didn't become a varsity sport at MAC until 1896, MAC and Albion played the first intercollegiate football game in Michigan in 1884. Football became a club sport at MAC the following year. (Side note: Look how big that football is)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Random MSU Photo of the Day: 4/5

Bryce Jenney throws a pitch during the Clash at Comerica last April. MSU defeated Central Michigan 3-1 in the first college game ever at Comerica Park.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Random MSU Photo of the Day: 4/4

"Spectators watch Wells Hall burn during the 1905 fire. This was the first Wells Hall on campus. There have been two since."

"The back reads, '6:30am Day Updigraft from B.C. Steward.'"

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Torey Krug makes NHL debut with Bruins

Two weeks ago, Torey Krug was preparing for his first NCAA Tournament appearance with the MSU hockey team. Last night, he made his NHL debut with the Boston Bruins, in 18:18 of ice time.

Krug signed with the Bruins on March 25, choosing to forgo his senior season for a professional opportunity. He spent the last week and a half practicing with the Bruins and got the call that he'd be in the lineup last night. The Bruins lost to the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-3. 

Krug looked a little nervous, but played solid. :
"You can see him in the defensive zone trying to think about how to play in our system," said (head coach Claude) Julien. “And sometimes, maybe there was a fraction of a second delay, which is totally normal. But once he had to do it, he went."
His teammates were impressed, too.
"He made some good strong plays at the puck and he took his shots at the net when he had them," (forward Milan) Lucic said. “I definitely see a lot of potential in his game."
According to that Globe story, Krug now gets the NHL money from the first year of his three-year, $2.75-million deal he signed. Per CapGeek, . I'm not a salary cap-ologist, so I'm not 100 percent sure about that, but it sounds like Krug will make nearly $1 million for playing in at least one game for the Bruins. Because he was signed after the trade deadline and was not on the reserve list, he is not eligible to play in the postseason.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins have two regular season games remaining and are locked into the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Report: Derrick Nix arrested, jailed

From , Derrick Nix was arrested Monday night for operating a vehicle in the presence of drugs and marijuana possession. Other news outlets have reported the same.

From Rexrode:
"Operating with the presence of drugs is a 93-day misdemeanor, and marijuana possession is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of a year in jail. Nix is out on bond and has 10 days to appear in court for an arraignment.."
MSU has released this statement from Tom Izzo:
“Based on the information we have received, Derrick Nix has been suspended indefinitely from our basketball team, and his future with our program is uncertain. He made an irresponsible decision that has put his future with our program in serious jeopardy.”
This past season for the men's basketball team was all about moving past the 2010-11 season, when two players were accused of rape (), Chris Allen was , Korie Lucious was (later ), then  and later .

Delvon Roe recently : "On a serious note sucks to hear what is going on with Nix really is a great dude. Hopes he gets back on track. Great potential"

A little more than a week after the 2011-12 season has ended, and a senior-to-be who could be a captain next season was in jail and his future with the program is uncertain. There weren't any documented issues on or off the court this past season, but the 2012 offseason is certainly off to a rocky start.


Random MSU Photo of the Day: 4/3

The Michigan Agricultural College varsity baseball team from 1914.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Random MSU Photo of the Day: 4/2

Tom Izzo and a teary-eyed Mateen Cleaves watch the "One Shining Moment" video after MSU won the 2000 national championship.



Sunday, April 1, 2012

NABC names Green nation's top player, Izzo top coach

All Anthony Davis everything.

Once Kentucky reached the Final Four and Davis started to win every national player of the year award, I didn't think Draymond Green had a chance. But if there was an organization that was going to honor Green, it was going to the coaches.

Sunday night, the National Association of Basketball Coaches named Green the nation's top player and Tom Izzo the nation's top coach. Green becomes the third Spartan to win a national player of the year award, joining Scott Skiles (1986, Basketball Times) and Shawn Respert (1995, NABC, Sporting News).

Earlier this season, I made the case that the national player of the year race had three candidates, not two.  Most places seemed to think it finished as a one-man race as Davis won every national award and . But the coaches went with the coach on the floor; the guy who did everything.

For Izzo, this is the fifth season he has won national coach of the year honors.

Here is the release from MSU: