Friday, August 10, 2012
History says Maxwell won't be a problem
The junior quarterback from
Midland is coming into his first season as
starting quarterback, and doing so with a team that is largely primed to
contend for a Big Ten Championship.
If Maxwell is able to handle the pressure, the Spartans should continue their trend of being one of the top teams in the Big Ten. If he can’t handle it, they will likely take a step back.
Maxwell will be the third first-year starting quarterback Dantonio has had during his time as head coach of the Spartans. In both previous cases, things have went pretty well in regards to performance.
In 2007, Dantonio’s first year as coach, Brian Hoyer was the first-year starter for the Spartans. He posted solid numbers of 2,725 passing yards with 20 TD’s and 11 INT’s. He received Honorable Mention All-Big Ten honors, but MSU went just 7-6 overall with a 3-5 conference record.
In 2009, Kirk Cousins overcame an in-season quarterback battle and was the starter throughout the year. He threw for 2,680 yards with 19 TD’s and 9 INT’s. Again, MSU didn’t have a great record, as they went just 6-7 overall and 4-4 in the Big Ten.
With Maxwell being a junior, you have to expect that he won’t be as rattled to be the starter as a freshman would be. Learning from Cousins over the past few years should help with his composure and confidence.
One of the big challenges Maxwell has is the young receivers he will work with. MSU lost their top four receivers from a year ago, so this year’s receivers will be unproven as well. They do have
Tennessee transfer DeAnthony Arnett in the
mix, but he also has a lot to prove.
One thing going for Maxwell is that he has a much better overall team than Hoyer or Cousins had in their first year as a starter.
MSU returns four starters on the offensive line and has a reliable starting back in Le’Veon Bell. Add in some solid backup backs, and the running game should help take pressure off of Maxwell.
Also, the MSU defense shouldn’t be a group that allows a great deal of points. Maxwell will likely not be asked to take part in a number of shootouts, so as long as he plays a smart, conservative game, he can give the Spartans a chance to win each week.
While anyone’s initial reaction to a new starting quarterback is to expect a big drop off, I personally think that Maxwell is walking into a pretty good situation and could be an above average starting quarterback.