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August 09, 2010

Opening day thoughts

It was conditioning tests in the morning -- 20 "half gassers," or sprints the width of the football field and back. About 95 percent passed, Dantonio said, and those who didn't will keep trying and possibly lose depth-chart ground in the process.

    “Yeah, it could hurt them a little bit,” Dantonio said. “We’re never gonna reward somebody if he doesn’t make a test. It’ll just move him down one step. He’s still gonna get reps. We’re not gonna be mad but there does have to be some consequences there.”

    In the afternoon, MSU practiced in shorts and helmets and media got to observe for about 50 minutes after a brief chat with Dantonio. In shorts and a helmet, I can tell you that William Gholston is already an All-American. In full pads against other college football players, we'll have to see.

    * The OL ones on the first day, with several combos likely in the next few weeks: LT D.J. Young, LG Joel Foreman, C John Stipek, RG Chris McDonald, RT Jared McGaha. Later in practice, I was impressed with what I saw from J'Michael Deane. On media day Tuesday, Deane will be there but McGaha won't. Don't know what any of it means, do know it's close there and at RG between McDonald and Zach Hueter. Antonio Jeremiah looks like a No. 3 right now.

    * The DL ones on the first day, as expected: DE Tyler Hoover, NT Jerel Worthy, DT Blake Treadwell, DE Colin Neely. Johnathan Strayhorn lurking at No. 2 DE, perhaps with a chance to challenge for a starting job. Dan France right in there with the twos and looking powerful. JUCO transfer Rashad White is thick and moves pretty well. 

    * Dantonio cited freshmen Isaiah Lewis, Mylan Hicks and Darqueze Dennard for passing the conditioning test. Right off the bat, Hicks has the look of a player, quick feet, speed, swagger. Dennard has athleticism, no doubt. The young safeties all looked capable in drills, but there's a big gap between their understanding of things and that of starters Trenton Robinson and Marcus Hyde. Robinson looks like he added some upper-body muscle. Same with Dana Dixon, who needs to keep adding. He has the height at 6-2. Chris D. Rucker working at cornerback, not sure if that'll stick but it makes sense considering WR depth and lack of it at CB. I'll make a call right now: Patrick White earns some kind of role on the defense this season.

    * Jeremy Langford working at RB to start. ... Both kickers were accurate when I watched them today, which wasn't for long and we were indoors. ... MSU has three players with the No. 2 -- Mark Dell, Gholston and Hicks.

    “I know the difference between those three guys, that’s all that matters," Dantonio said.

    True, but what if Gholston and Hicks both play this season on defense? Are they battling in camp for the right to the No. 2?
    “I don’t know," Dantonio said. "I just told them they could be No. 2, so they’re No. 2.”



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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter

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