The Journal Star looks at the Big Ten teams heading into fall camp. Today we check out Michigan State, and Friday will be Minnesota.
Date camp opens: Saturday
First game: Aug. 30, Western Michigan
Big man on campus
Senior Max Bullough. He’s started every game at middle linebacker since the beginning of the 2011 season — that’s 27 straight starts — and has 223 career tackles, including 21 for loss. He’s on watch lists for five national awards and will be the top player on one of the nation’s best linebacker corps.
It’s no secret that Michigan State’s offense last season was predictable, bland and, as a result, dismal. How does coach Mark Dantonio plan on fixing it? The defensive-minded coach spent more time around the offense in the spring, and he’s got a new guy calling plays. But question marks remain at virtually all of the skill positions, including quarterback, where fifth-year senior Andrew Maxwell, although listed No. 1 on the depth chart entering fall, certainly isn’t a lock to start. Three others will challenge him, including athletic true freshman Damion Terry. (Of note: Dantonio has never started a true freshman quarterback.) Michigan State also must replace workhorse Le'Veon Bell, who accounted for an astounding 92.3 percent of the Spartans' rushing yards last season. As many as seven candidates will be in a wide-open race to start at running back.
Dantonio hired former Ohio State offensive coordinator Jim Bollman and promoted quarterbacks coach Dave Warner; together, they’ll be the offense's co-coordinators, replacing Dan Roushar, who left to accept an assistant coaching job with the New Orleans Saints. Bollman was at Ohio State from 2001-11, and was offensive coordinator for the 2002 team that won the BCS title. Warner, however, will call plays. Also, junior offensive tackle Skyler Burkland has announced his retirement from football because of multiple injuries. He had 14 career starts.
— Brian Rosenthal