From The Spartan Sideline, Gamecock Edition: Michigan State vs. Jacksonville St. Preview

Michigan-State-Spartans-Logo-jpgThe Michigan State Spartans will kick off their 2014 football season in uncharted territory for the program. Following an outstanding 2013 year, the Spartans are the hunted, being undisputed Big Ten and Rose Bowl champions.

Now, for the first time in two decades, a title defense begins in East Lansing. Standing in the way first are the Jacksonville State Gamecocks, a team that went 11-4 a year ago and had plenty of their own personal success.

How can they upend the Spartans on their big night? What can Michigan State do to set up a huge game with the Oregon Ducks next weekend? Spartan Sideline returns to break down all the action. Continue reading

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2014 Michigan State Football Preview 2: Breaking Down the Expected Roster Contributions and Depth

Michigan-State-Spartans-Logo-jpgOn August 29, the Michigan State Spartans kick off their 2014 season as defending Big Ten champs and Rose Bowl champs. We’re previewing their season with a two part piece. Last week, we talked schedule and results.

Entering the 2014 season, the Michigan State Spartans will lose plenty on defense roster wise, but otherwise look to be in excellent shape, returning the meat and bones of a very stout team on both sides of the ball.

Considering their modest returns early in 2013 and positive growth throughout the season, the opportunity exists for huge strides to be made on offense. The Spartans have had time to jell, and now have the confidence that can only be gained through game experience to rely on. The defense should remain stout, and the offense should have an easier time putting things together early on this year.

What is the outlook for starters and backups position by position? Here’s a look at the roster.

Offense

Quarterback: Connor Cook, Damion Terry. Cook and Terry are options 1 and 2 for the Spartans, but it might be closer to 1 and 1A. Had Cook not taken the job with both hands last season, Terry was likely in line to be the starter. Now, Cook has his team behind him entirely and will look to lead the offense. Expect a quietly solid season from the veteran. In the end, Cook might be closer to a Heisman Trophy candidate than Langford, who’s getting a tiny bit of national love.

Wide Receiver: Tony Lippett, Macgarrett Kings Jr., Aaron Burbridge, Monty Madaris, DeAnthony Arnett, Keith Mumphery. A deep group, perhaps the deepest spot on the team. Lippett made fantastic strides in 2013 and looked poised for a breakout season, while Kings, Burbridge and Arnett figure to play solid roles as well, and Mumphery is a senior leader. Watch for more depth Tres Barkdale and A.J. Troup to stand out, as well. Both have been raved about plenty as the offseason has progressed.

Running Back: Jeremy Langford, Delton Williams, Gerald Owens, Nick Hill, Madre London. Langford is the unquestioned leader and starter, but expect the Spartans to have plenty of depth here as well, perhaps using Williams and Owens in a smash mouth role, while Hill is likely the speed man. London, a freshman, could see time here as well, but only if he makes a significant impact.

Tight End: Josiah Price, Jamal Lyles, Andrew Gleichert, Paul Lang, Dylan Chmura. Yet another position with great young depth, Price is the starter after making plenty of great catches last year and stepping in. Lyles is developing as well as a devastating blocker and capable catch, and Gleichert is probably a blocker. Chmura is interesting as a redshirt freshman and the son of former NFL tight end Mark Chmura. Watch for his inclusion at times, given he has been talked up significantly over the past few months. A stacked deck here.

Offensive Line: Jack Conklin, Travis Jackson, Jack Allen, Donovan Clark, Kodi Kieler. All were listed on the first Michigan State depth chart. The beat should go on for Michigan State’s line, which helped pave the way to plenty of success last season. In Kieler’s spot, watch out for Miguel Machado, who has impressed. Also, Brian Allen will back up his brother at center and Brandon Clemons will back up Clark. All told, Michigan State should be deep and strong again. Kieler is the question mark, but has earned the spot.

Defense

Cornerback: Trae Waynes, Darian Hicks, Jermaine Edmondson, Arjen Colquhoun. With Darqueze Dennard off to the NFL, many will be concerned about the Spartans’ ability to find a lock down corner. Expect Waynes to take his place almost seamlessly. Hicks will play on the other side, and Colqhoun and Edmondson will also contribute. Michigan State has long

Linebacker: Taiwan Jones, Jon Reschke, Ed Davis, Riley Bullough, Shane Jones. The biggest question on defense will be how Michigan State deals with the departure of Max Bullough, Denicos Allen, a pair of erasers. Jones appears to be a solid option to step up, and Davis saw plenty of snaps last season, which should make his inclusion fairly seamless. Also impressing have been young Reschke and Jones. If all else fails (which realistically, it shouldn’t), the Spartans still have a Bullough to turn to in a reserve role.

Safety: Kurtis Drummond, R.J. Williamson, Demetrious Cox, Mark Meyers. Another stacked position, the Spartans figure to get a big year from Drummond,a fifth year senior, and Williamson. There to push Williamson is Cox, who has been a hard-hitting play machine throughout camp according to most. A strong group will be led by Drummond, the unquestioned leader.

Defensive Line: Shilique Calhoun, Joel Heath, Lawrence Thomas, Marcus Rush. With Calhoun anchoring things, expect the linemen to play a significant role in Michigan State’s success again. Rush isn’t to be discounted on the other side either, and Thomas has taken over a vacancy in the middle along with Heath. Also worth watching? James Kitteridge, who will see time, freshman Malik McDowell and Demetrius Cooper, who could become the next terror off the edge.

Special Teams: Michael Geiger, Mike Sadler. Expect the Spartan special teams to remain elite in 2014. Both Geiger and Sadler were fantastic last season, and Sadler will be punting as a fifth-year senior in the award discussion. Geiger steadied the kicking position, and will only get better as a sophomore.

Overview: There’s no lacking for capable depth and bodies. Michigan State once again looks the a deep, physical team that they have evolved into recently. There’s a few concerns regarding graduation on the defense, but expect newcomers to step in and step up. Offensively, the Spartans could excel instead of struggle, given the confidence gained over the past year. If that happens, something special could be brewing in East Lansing.

Max DeMara is a senior editor at The Detroit Sports Site. You can find him on Twitter @SportsGuyTheMax

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GIF: Reggie Bush Breaks Off 86-Yard TD Run

Reggie Bush and Joique Bell could be one of the better 1-2 punches in the league this year, as they reminded everyone on Friday night against Jacksonville. After a penalty backed Detroit up inside its own five, a couple of Bell runs picked up a first down … and set the table for Bush.

The Lions’ speed back then made a nice cut to his right and burst past Jaguars safety Jonathan Cyprien for an 86-yard touchdown. Continue reading

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Detroit Tigers Rumors: Red Sox ‘Favorite’ for Rusney Castillo, Tigers Still in the Chase

The Detroit Tigers could use some help in center field, but it may have to come from someone other than Rusney Castillo. The coveted Cuban defector continues to mull over his MLB prospects, with several teams including the Tigers pursuing him.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports reported Friday morning that the Boston Red Sox appear to be leading the chase.

Boston remains “heavily involved” according to people familiar with the situation, and executives with other interested teams suggest the Red Sox are the favorite to win Castillo’s services.

Boston and Detroit were tabbed as the favorites a couple days ago by Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston, and the Red Sox remain in close contact with Castillo, an exciting speed-power combo, according to league officials.

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VIDEO: Andre Drummond Throws Down Alley-Oop Dunk for Team USA

Andre Drummond put an emphatic exclamation point on his case for a Team USA roster spot by slamming home a one-handed alley-oop against the Dominican Republic. Drummond finished with a dozen points in the USA’s 105-62 rout. Continue reading

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The Detroit Sports Show: What is Wrong With the Detroit Tigers

This week’s show starts with Max DeMara and Andrew Tomlinson discussing what is going on with the Detroit Tigers.

The show then moves to who is more to blame for the Tigers and is there any way to possibly fix it. Andrew then goes on a rant about Brad Ausmus and there is a discussion about whether or not he should be fired or if he should be given more time.

After the Tigers the two transition to the Detroit Lions with preseason game three is about to happen on Friday.

Max, who covers the team, talks about his impressions of Caldwell and what storylines he is watching. That discussions transitions to a discussion about Nick Fariley.

Finally both Max and Andrew give their bold roster predictions.

More Sports Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with The Detroit Sports Show on BlogTalkRadio
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2014 Michigan State Football Preview 1: Analyzing the Schedule and Predicting Results

Michigan-State-Spartans-Logo-jpgOn August 29, the Michigan State Spartans kick off their 2014 season as defending Big Ten champs and Rose Bowl champs. We’re previewing their season with a two part piece. Next week, we’ll look at the roster.

Prior to 2013, most didn’t figure the Michigan State Spartans, coming off a rough 2012 season, would be able to contend for much. Many thought a nice rebound season was in order, but the team shocked by riding a wave of momentum to an amazing finish.

Not only did the Spartans win the Big Ten, they won the Rose Bowl, and had several exciting finishes along the way. Their schedule, while not exceedingly difficult, did help pave the way for a fantastic finish to the year by battle-testing the team against many different styles of football.

This season, the Spartans will try to repeat as champs, and while the schedule might still be favorable in many different spots, it does present a few significant challenge early and late that could help set the tone for the rest of the season. Here’s a 2014 schedule preview along with game-by-game predictions. Continue reading

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Detroit Pistons Rumors: Greg Monroe’s Agent Pursued Sign-and-Trade With Five Teams

Yep, the Detroit Pistons are still waiting on some resolution to Greg Monroe’s restricted free agency.

Michael Lee of the Washington Post reported that Monroe’s agent, David Falk, actively tried to find that finish line by seeking out sign-and-trade partners for the Pistons.

Monroe and his agent, David Falk, never sought an offer sheet from another team but pursued sign-and-trade proposals with at least five other teams, including Portland and Oklahoma City, according to person familiar with the discussions. Monroe denied receiving a reported five-year, $60 million offer – or anything close – from Pistons and would’ve been unlikely to accept either way.

As the only power forward in the Eastern Conference to average at least 15 points and nine rebounds last season, Monroe certainly could have commanded more on the open market; his current salary cap hold with the Pistons is $10.2 million. But his motivation has been moving on, not the money. The money lost to Monroe in the interim is the cost of his freedom, and his desire to leave Detroit makes the price tag palatable.

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