It was especially difficult for Spartan fans to deal with because out of their five conference losses, they only lost by a total of 13 points in those games. They were right there in every single game they played, but couldn’t make the big plays necessary to come out with the win.
For the Spartans, their offense will be looking for some play makers to step up in key situations and help them put points on the board.
The entire quarterback position can be listed as a key position for the Spartans in 2013. The quarterback play of Andrew Maxwell was a mess last season, he lacked true game experience and also lacked confidence. Back up Connor Cook will be fighting with him for playing time all through training camp and into the season.
Aaron Burbridge is also a key player to watch for the Spartans. The receiving play for Michigan State last season was nothing short of a joke. Nobody could catch a pass, and there was virtually no playmaking outside of Burbridge. Look for him to be one of the stars of the conference this upcoming season.
On defense, a key player is going to be Shilique Calhoun. He will replace Will Gholston, who left for the NFL, and looks to boost the sack numbers for the Spartans, who struggled getting to the quarterback in 2012.
Another key player on defense will be cornerback Trae Waynes. Waynes fills in for long-time starter Johnny Adams and will be targeted immediately because opposite corner Darqueze Dennard is one of the best in the country. Waynes has all the tools and performed well in the Spartans’ bowl game.
Some newcomers to watch for the Spartans will be players like Gerald Holmes, a powerful running back from Flint, Mich. He will step into a backfield with little depth and should be able to compete for carries right away.
Another player to watch is quarterback Damion Terry. There is a lot of buzz surround Terry as he arrives in East Lansing. Head coach Mark Dantonio hasn’t had a dual-threat quarterback like Terry, and Spartan fans are interested to see how he will be used.