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July 28, 2011

Dantonio talks roster, injuries, Tressel

Tough news for MSU junior tackle Zach Hueter, who had to have another shoulder surgery in the summer -- his fifth or sixth, Mark Dantonio said -- and has decided to hang it up. Hueter was expected to compete with Skyler Burkland (note the name change from Schofner) for the starting job at right tackle.

    Encouraging news for Henry Conway, who has been cleared by doctors to take part in camp after he missed all of last season with a neck injury. Dantonio didn't want to speculate on whether Conway can realistically compete for time after a year off, but if he's over this, that could be big down the road. Antonio Jeremiah is still struggling with his surgically repaired knee, and it does not sound promising for him to play in 2011.

    Meanwhile, Jairus Jones won't do much in camp but MSU hopes he can start running in September, and perhaps play by late September, early October. That's extraordinarily fast for an Achilles' tear, Dantonio said, but MSU obviously has to make contingency plans for at least the first month of the season.


    * Dantonio clearly is excited about the potential of Fou Fonoti, reports are positive on his effect on locker room chemistry over the summer. Fonoti and Dan France should have a tight battle at left tackle. Dantonio mentioned the possibility of Chris McDonald sliding out to right tackle if needed. He isn't sure yet if Micajah Reynolds will end up on offense or defense. Right now he is listed as a nose tackle.

    * Asked about Jerel Worthy's draft projections, he said: "If Jerel's gonna be a top-15 pick then we'll be just fine on the defensive line, we'll win a lot of football games, so we'll be good to go." Dantonio was bullish about his defensive line and its potential this season, mentioning that Tyler Hoover is up to 290 pounds.

    * Asked about Jim Tressel, Dantonio called the situation "heart wrenching" for him and his family. "Usually, tragic heroes have the ability to rise above it all in the end," he said.

    * I cannot recall an opening Big Ten media day with less MSU personnel news. Usually, there's a transfer, an academic casualty, something to report. Not today. All relevant veterans are back (other than transfers Fred Smith and Donald Spencer, which we already knew). And all recruits are on the roster (except Onaje Miller, which we already knew).

    * The preseason depth chart doesn't include incoming players, so it should be taken with a shaker of salt, rather than the usual grain with which all depth charts should be digested. But there were some notable items. Cunningham OR Nichol at X and Martin OR Fowler at Z. Celek OR Linthicum OR Sims at TE. Jackson OR Treadwell at center. Gholston OR Drone at end. White OR Pickelman at NT. Allen, Bullough, Norman listed as the starting backers.



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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter

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