October 1, 2009

O-Line should be at full strength for Michigan

EAST LANSING - Michigan State played with the same offensive line the entire 2008 season. The 2009 Spartan offensive line has played a game of musical chairs during the month of September.

This year's Michigan State offensive line has looked different each week. Fifth-year senior Rocco Cironi is the only returning starter from the 2008 line that has started in each of Michigan State's first four games.

Injuries have impacted three-year starter Joel Nitchman, second-year starter Joel Foreman, and week-one starter and J'Michael Deane.
It has not always been easy.

"Ideally you want to have the same guys out there every Saturday, but that is not really realistic in the college football setting," said Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins after the Wisconsin game. "Guys get hurt, things happen and you have to play your five best linemen and shuffling o-linemen is going to be the way we have to do it at times because guys get hurt. It is obviously not ideal but you have to deal with that … and I think the o-line is doing a fine job."

Despite the injuries, Michigan State's front five has played well enough to keep the Spartans' atop the Big Ten in several categories on offense. The Spartans possess the No. 1 offense in the Big Ten despite ranking second to last rushing attack in the Big Ten. The Spartans rank No. 1 in passing offense and No. 8 nationally with 320.8 yards per game. Michigan State's passing attack has also accounted for 13 passing touchdowns, which is four better than second-place Penn State.

"I would say our offensive line has performed pretty well," said Mark Dantonio. "we've got some different guys going in there interchangeable, but the main thing that you see is you don't see a lot of missed assignments. We need to get better in terms of technique, but you don't see a lot of missed

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