Coach: Bobby Williams
12-11-0, 2 years
2001 Record: 7-5
at Notre Dame WON 17-10
at Northwestern LOST 26-27
IOWA WON 31-28
at Minnesota LOST 19-28
at Wisconsin WON 42-28
at Purdue LOST 14-24
Fresno State WON 44-35

2001 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

With continual improvement, Jeff Smoker could turn out to be one of the best quarterbacks in the nation.
2002 Outlook

Watch out for the Spartans this year. They have some great numbers returning. What a major disappointment it has to be to lose All-American tailback T.J. Duckett early to the NFL, as this team was primed for a great run. Before you label the chances of reaching the 2003 Rose Bowl slim, hold off and take a look at Duckett's replacement Dawan Moss. It seems the coaches are thoroughly convinced this kid has the makings of a champion. Once a prognosticator hears those sentiments, the outlook starts to improve once again. There is plenty to be excited about in East Lansing. Offensively, from tackle to tackle every man is returning and the receiver spot is set with Charles Rogers. At this point you still have to figure that MSU is going to make a push for conference front runner if they can only win the games where they are favored, which was not the case last season as they went 2-1 against conference bowl teams and 1-4 against conference teams that did not go to a bowl. Guess that shows how crazy the Big Ten can be. The Spartans must learn to take care of business against the league's bottom-feeders. The non-conference schedule in 2002 is completely winnable. A veteran core with Moss to Rogers is plenty enough to slide through the first eight games. If Coach Bobby Williams can continue with the success he had in the last two games of the 2001 season, things could really get interesting. This team fits right in with the others when dissecting the options for Big 10 Champion

Projected 2002 record: 9-4

QB - 4 DL - 2.5
RB - 3 LB - 3
WR - 4 DB - 4
OL - 4.5 ..

Passing: Jeff Smoker, 166-262-8, 2579 Yards, 21 TD's

Rushing: Dawan Moss, 25 att., 93 yds., 0 TD's

Receiving: Charles Rogers, 67 rec., 1470 yds., 14 TD's

Scoring: Charles Rogers, 16 TD's, 96 points

Punting: none

Kicking: Dave Rayner, 8-14 FG, 36-37 PAT, 60 pts.

Tackles: Thomas Wright, 92 tot., 68 solo

Sacks: Mike Labinjo, 5 sacks

Interceptions: Broderick Nelson, 5 for 40 yards

Kickoff returns: Jason Bradley, 2 ret., 10.5 avg.

Punt returns: Charles Rogers, 18 ret., 8.8 avg.


OFFENSE: Herb Haygood-WR, Chris Baker-TE, Little John Flowers-TB, T.J. Duckett-TB (NFL)
DEFENSE: Nick Myers-DE, Josh Thornhill-MLB, Duron Bryan-CB, Craig Jarrett-P

Heading into this fall, Jeff Smoker has already established his passing skills. With continual improvement he could turn out to be one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, which many folks have overlooked. The Spartans have a top pass-catch combination when throwing in the name Charles Rogers, a top rated All-American who just made huge waves in his first season last fall. The record-smashing Rogers is sure to be Mr. GoTo. Are there two other consistent receivers to run along side with Rogers? His 2001 introduction was baked pretty well with a receiving soufflé that included NFL draft picks Herb Haygood and tight end Chris Baker. The Spartans will miss those men, but won't miss the double teams that Rogers is about to take on. The ability of the second receiver to shake free and diversify the pass coverage will be key to the Green and White aerial assault. Smiles are quite popular around East Lansing when contemplating the depth issues on offense. The loss of big man T.J. Duckett at tailback is cause for some concern as he opted early for the NFL. No doubt has been left about who will fill his shoes. That honor goes to senior workhorse Dawan Moss after being moved over from the starting fullback spot. Moss is a 233-pound power runner with 4.6 40-yard speed. The Spartans need an incumbent to step up at the fullback spot with the movement of Moss. The front wall will be quite steady with all five starting linemen from last season back in the fold.


Returning Starters in Bold
QB Jeff Smoker-Jr Damon Dowdell-So
FB Mark Goebel-Jr Jason Bradley-So
TB Dawan Moss-Sr Mike McConnell-Jr
WR B.J. Lovett-Sr Robert Strickland-Fr
WR Charles Rogers-Jr Ben Steckler-So
TE Jason Randall-So Ryan Woods-Fr
OT Ulish Booker-Sr Stephon Wheeler-Fr
OG Joe Tate-Jr Paul Harker-Sr
C Brian Ottney-Jr Chris Morris-Fr
OG William Whitticker-So Joe Patrick-Jr
OT Steve Stewart-Jr Sean Poole-So
K Dave Rayner-So ..



How well the Michigan State 2002 plans unfold will revolve mostly around defensive questions considering the skills returning on the offensive side of the ball are extremely legit. The weakest position has to be at middle linebacker where Josh Thornhill ruled the last two seasons. He needs replaced, and it looks as if the job will fall to Seth Mitchell or Jason Bradley. Both players have a long way to go to prove they can handle the responsibility. Some other questions an observer might ask, who are the experienced horses up front on the defensive line and who is going to provide the fresh legs when the game is on the line at the end? Stopping the run will be the potential difference between winning and losing the conference head-to-head battles. The defensive front seven will be lucky to survive in the Big Ten. However, opponents would be better off not underestimating the MSU secondary. Do you know who Cedric Henry is? Five interceptions to his credit in 2000. He is just as good as he always was and has continually been able to stay with Charles Rogers through out the practice sessions. Broderick Nelson had five interceptions last season as well. The cornerback slots are pretty well saturated. Both safeties return in young Robert Flagg and Thomas Wright, who may be the most underrated safety in the country. Look for MSU to play the corners out on an island this fall with the safeties and linebackers blitzing more. The secondary is well stocked and will be tough, but the front seven has been depleted leaving a void for playmakers with the exception of sack leader Mike Labinjo. Look for a lot of shootouts in East Lansing. (Commentary provided by: sparty on & Chris Lees)


Returning Starters in Bold
DE Greg Taplin-Jr Darrell Hamilton-So
DT Kyle Rasmussen-Jr Greg Yeaster-So
DT Kevin Vickerson-So Matthias Askew-So
DE Clifford Dukes-So Dominick Brown-Jr
SLB Mike Labinjo-Jr James Cooper-So
MLB Seth Mitchell-Fr Michael Bazemore-Fr
WLB Ronald Stanley-So Monquiz Wedlow-Jrq
CB Broderick Nelson-Sr DeMario Suggs-Sr
CB Cedric Henry-Sr Damien Fortson-So
SS Thomas Wright-Sr Eric Smith-Fr
FS Robert Flagg-So Jason Harmon-So
P Michael Servis-Jr Matt Heppner-So
The record-smashing Charles Rogers is sure to be Mr. GoTo.
PHOTO COMPLIMENTS OF the Lansing State Journal.
© Copyright 2002