After weeks of speculation over who would be the Michigan State football team’s starting quarterback, Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio came right out and told the media exactly who that guy will be at his weekly Tuesday morning press conference.
“Andrew Maxwell will be our starter,” Dantonio said. “I think what he does is he brings consistency in terms of knowledge of our offense. He’s going to make good decisions. He’s got experience with 13 games last year. He’s been very impressive these last number of practices.”
The decision comes after a seemingly ‘four horse race’ opened up in camp between 5th year senior Andrew Maxwell, red shirt sophomore Connor Cook, red shirt freshman Tyler O’Connor, and true freshman Damion Terry.
Maxwell returns as starter a year after leading the Spartans to a 7-6 record, where he completed 52% of passes for 2606 yards, 13 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. However, the competition certainly isn’t over yet.
“Connor Cook will also play in the game,” Dantonio said. “Another guy that has extreme athletic ability, arm strength and size. He’s got game experience as well and he’s looked very, very good.”
As for the other two guys, O’Connor and Terry, they are still very young and it might be a while before they see a ton of action out on the field. Nevertheless don’t be surprised if you see them out there at some point come Friday night.
“I tried to give everybody opportunities,” Dantonio said of the competition in camp. “I tried to provide them with a very competitive situation mainly to put pressure on everybody. You have to feel the heat. You have to feel the pressure so we can evaluate them in pressure situations and that’s as close to a game situation as we can get. I think we always felt Andrew was going to be the guy and that was a general consensus among our coaches. I will always play the best guy and I think Andrew has proven that he is that guy.”
At the end of the day, the decision from Dantonio doesn’t come so much as a surprise. Maxwell by far has the most experience of the four and it certainly is the safe way to go. However, after a season full of stalled drives at the 50 yard line and 3 and outs, the leash certainly will be shorter this year with three very capable quarterbacks right on his heels.
And the Michigan State football team will have their first chance to see some of those quarterbacks in action this coming Friday at 8 PM, when the Spartans kick their 2013 campaign off at home, under the lights against Western Michigan.
Follow Ryan Squanda on Twitter @squandaryan