August 3, 2013

Notebook: Geiger, Williams make strong first impression

EAST LANSING - Day One of August camp at Michigan State included a strong initial performance from a new place kicker, a good first physical impression from a freshman running back, a nice ending for embattled receivers, and more of the same from the quarterbacks.

The most unassuming new face on the first string may belong to true freshman place kicker Michael Geiger. But there was nothing ordinary about his task during Saturday morning's practice. In a rare case of a true freshman getting reps as the first stringer on day one of fall camp, Geiger - of Toledo Ottawa Hills High School - met the challenge well.

"I had him kick with the ones today," Dantonio said. "He did a nice job."

Dantonio said at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago that he wanted to test Geiger with the big boys. He followed through with that play, Saturday, with sound reasoning.

"Unless you stick him up there and pressure him, you're never going to know," Dantonio said.

In the spring, redshirt freshman walk-on Kevin Cronin (6-1, 209, Traverse City West) edged ahead of scholarship senior and kickoff specialist Kevin Muma (6-0, 206, Troy High) in the competition to succeed the graduated Dan Conroy. But Dantonio had Cronin and Muma step aside on Saturday in order to pressure the new guy with first-string reps.

"That's as big of pressure as we can give him - standing there and everyone watching him with the ones," Dantonio said. "He did a nice job."

So far so good, for Geiger. Of course Saturday's reps came against soft, walk-through contact at the line of scrimmage. Players do not wear pads for the first day of practice. The Spartans were in helmets, shorts and jerseys, thus there was no full-fledged rush from the defensive line during Geiger's kicks.

The Spartans will transition to "shells" this weekend (wearing helmets, shoulder pads and shorts) and then full pads midway through next week.

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