Posted: 6:35 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30, 2013
By Bryan M. Vance
It's finally football season. P.J. Fleck and his Western Michigan Broncos start their maiden voyage on the road at the always difficult Michigan State.
Again, a big thanks to Chris Vannini for answering some questions for us. Follow him on twitter @ChrisVannini or hit up The Only Colors for some good MSU coverage. In case you missed our summer Q&A;, check it out here. And lastly, I answered some questions for him too. Check them out here.
1. First things first, who is going to be quarterback on Friday? For the season?
EDITOR'S NOTE: At the time of publishing, MSU coach Mark Dantonio hadn't picked between his 4 scholarship quarterbacks. The following answer is based on the most likely choice for Friday's game.
Senior Andrew Maxwell will once again be under center for MSU. There's a good history of second-year starters making big jumps at MSU, so the hope is that will continue. Will Maxwell make it through the season? It's really hard to say. MSU is favored in seven of its first eight games, so Maxwell will have the opportunity to do well, unless things completely fall off the rails at Notre Dame. The difference between this year and last year is the leash will be much shorter. There are three talented options behind Maxwell, so if he gets off to a slow start, Mark Dantonio won't hesitate to try someone else. Of course, the pieces around whoever the quarterback have to work, too. They didn't last season.
2. After a full slate of fall camp has been wrapped up, who looks to be the main playmakers on offense?
Drops were a major problem last season, but the entire receiving corps returns from last year, so that theoretically would mean there's no where to go but up. Aaron Burbridge is the most talented one and could really have a breakout year, while Bennie Fowler will be the experienced senior. Outside of that, playmakers were really hard to find last year. It looks like Riley Bullough is the starting running back, but this is going to be a multiple-back offense with a number of young and unproven options there.
3. Besides Max Bullough, who are the key players on defense looking to shut the Broncos down?
Darqueze Dennard should be one of the best cornerbacks in the nation. The former two-star recruit from Georgia has a good mix of physical ability and speed, making him a great lockdown defensive back. Safety Isaiah Lewis is always a big play waiting to happen, and linebacker Denicos Allen is looking to become the sackmaster he was in 2011. On the defensive line, sophomore end Shilique Calhoun replaces William Gholston and perhaps brings a better pass-rush. He's a bit of an unknown, but he could be a surprise for a big game Friday.
4. Another Friday night opener in Spartan Stadium against the Broncos. This time, you face the in-state ones. How do you like these Friday night openers?
I love it. It lets me watch (or attend) MSU's game and keep all my focus there, and then I get to watch any/every game on Saturday and enjoy them. Of course, MSU hasn't lost a recent Friday game, yet, so that helps. It lets fans have more time for Labor Day weekend. Mark Hollis is trying to make this an annual thing, and I hope it stays that way.
5. MSU is favored by 27 points. Do they cover the spread? Do they even win?
I'll say MSU wins. As for the spread? MSU only scored more than 27 points twice last season, so I'm going to say no. I'll believe they can put up points when I see it.