Lewerke’s arm “live” according to Dantonio, offense “explosive” as MSU completes first scrimmage of spring

Lewerke’s shoulder “100%” through two weeks of spring practice as MSU prepares for spring game April 13th


Photo: Joe Dandron / WDBM

Joe Dandron, Asst. Sports Director

EAST LANSING — Coach Mark Dantonio and the rest of Michigan State’s offense was all smiles following the first scrimmage of the year at Spartan Stadium.

“Almost 150 plays or so on Tuesday, so we’re working it,” said Dantonio after practice. “I thought guys took a step forward, some explosive plays on the offensive side of the ball and good quarterback play as well. Then obviously our defense did some things as well.”

The offense and quarterback Brian Lewerke won 49-43 in what is a good sign for an offense that ranked among the worst in the NCAA during the 2018 season.

After he heard the score, quarterback Brian Lewerke was asked if this was the first time the offense had won during his time as a Spartan.

“No,” said Lewerke. “We’ve probably won three or four since I’ve been here.”

The expectations put on the offense and Lewerke will only continue to get higher as the fall approaches. This is especially after the last time they played, a 7-6 loss to Oregon in the Redbox Bowl.

“It felt really good to be running plays in a live situation again,” said Lewerke. “It was a good day for us.”

According to Dantonio, Lewerke’s arm was “live,” saying the senior looked as good as before the injury that he suffered against Penn State in the middle of last year. Lewerke says he is near or at 100 percent through the opening two weeks of spring practice. A good sign for a team that struggled to find consistency under center, with Lewerke or sophomore backup Rocky Lombardi.

The defense also will return all of its front-seven, buoyed by the return of all-Big Ten defensive end Kenny Willekes and linebacker Joe Bachie. The casual fan would expect the Spartans to improve on their 7-6 record last year.



As a junior, Darrell Stewart Jr. is among those returning to a wide receiver room that is going to be expected to replace what Felton Davis III provided prior to his Achilles injury last year.

“My personal expectation is just being a playmaker,” said Stewart. “We want it all, we aren’t wide receivers, we are retrievers, as a group. We’re going to go get the ball regardless and we are instilling that in everyone’s mind that on third down, it’s the money down”

The coaching staff looks a little different from last season, as former offensive coordinator Dave Warner has been moved to quarterbacks coach and Brad Salem takes over as offensive coordinator for the impending season.

“It goes back and forth, spring practice is one of those things,” said Dantonio. “I keep talking about it, football is really a game of execution. It’s a game of technique and fundamentals.”

“We are going to go the Nth degree to find out where to put our emphasis. Then after that it’s up to our players to perform. We’ll always do that, we’ll always give them a chance to play and stay ahead of the game. But they’ve got to know what do and do it well. That’s the key to coaching.”

MSU brings in a couple of freshmen who look to play a key role as well. Tre Mosley, an early enrollee, is among those expected to contribute. Five-star offensive lineman Devontae Dobbs and cornerback Julian Barnett out of Belleville are also projected to play big roles this coming season.

The Spartans will play in the annual Green & White spring game on Apr. 13 at 2 p.m. in Spartan Stadium.