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April 19, 2011

Cousins impressed by young talent, team depth

EAST LANSING - Spartan captain Kirk Cousins continues to be impressed with the young talent in the Michigan State football program.

"There is depth at basically all positions on the field," Cousins said during media briefings following practice on Tuesday evening. "Again, that is a tribute to the recruiting that the staff has done to bring in a lot of talent so that they don't have to play guys by default, but that they play them because they are really the best guy. And they are going to help us win Big Ten championships.

"We have more depth on this team than we have had in the past, but we also have a lot of youth. If there was one weakness, I would say it is just getting guys experience and getting guys reps."

Michigan State's third-year starter has said throughout the spring that he is determined to bring young skill players and offensive linemen along during the final spring football session of his Michigan State career. Cousins reiterated that point on Tuesday.

"I have been a captain and I have been a leader but I think even more I need to step into that role," Cousins explained. "Even more I need to make sure that I am taking the focus onto other guys and investing in other guys."

This spring Cousins has spent a lot of time during and after practice working with Michigan State's trio of centers, Travis Jackson[/db ], [db]Blake Treadwell, and Ethan Ruhland in an effort to gain a measure of chemistry with each. The fifth-year senior has continued to work tirelessly with the deep and talented wide receiver stable in the Michigan State program.

"We have a lot of talent there and when you add the tight ends you have plenty of options," explained Cousins, who threw "But we want to be as perfect as we can be. You are never fully there. We are always working to get there and we are going to continue to build chemistry between us and get a good feel for route adjustments and coverages and what angles guys are going to take their routes out at. When we get on the same page, good things are going to happen."

The return of veteran wideouts B.J. Cunningham and Keith Nichol, as well as an emerging star in sophomore Bennie Fowler and high-ceilinged red-shirt freshmen Keith Mumphery and Tony Lippett have led to speculation about the potential of four-wide receiver sets in 2011.

"Obviously it is one of our strengths to put a lot of receivers on the field, because we have great receivers," Cousins said. "We also have great running backs. When you add something on the field, you lose something else. Also, when you do that defenses can adjust with their personnel to be ready for four wide receivers and a tight end. It is always a cat and mouse game."

The Spartans have run a pro-style attack as their base offense since Mark Dantonio took over the program five years ago. But Michigan State has been multiple on offense during the Dantonio era. If match-ups are favorable, the Spartans will spread the field or even empty the backfield.

"I think that one of our strengths will be that whatever personnel group that we put in, we are going to have guys that can make plays," Cousins explained, "whether it is guys stretching the field with four wide receivers or bringing in two tight ends and pounding the rock with Edwin (Baker), Larry (Caper), Le'Veon (Bell) or whoever. We have a lot of skill; it is just a matter of finding the right combinations. That is what spring ball is for and training camp is for."

Kirk Cousins, April 19, 2011 from SpartanMag on Vimeo.




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