2012 Season Review
It was supposed to be a position of strength heading into the 2012 season, but with season ending injuries to starting left tackle Fou Fonoti and starting center Travis Jackson, the position of strength quickly turned into an inexperienced, unimpressive offensive line. Andrew Maxwell was not given the necessary time needed in the pocket to get off his passes. Le’Veon Bell was not given the push and the holes necessary for him to be effective, although Bell did have a great season much to his own doing and effort. The good news for the offensive line in 2013 is that only one starter from last season is gone. Chris McDonald was a mainstay on the line and although he didn’t get drafted, he did sign a contract with the New England Patriots quickly after the draft and will also be joining his brother who also plays for the Patriots.
2013 Season Preview
Heading into the 2013 Michigan State Spartans football season, the offensive line should be a position of strength in my opinion. Fou Fonoti could have decided not to return to the Spartans, but after talking it over with his family and friends, Fonoti ultimately decided to take the medial redshirt in 2012 and come back for his final season in East Lansing. Travis Jackson is also coming back from injury and will reclaim his spot as the starting center. Dan France is also back for his final season in East Lansing and will be the starting at right guard or could potentially move outside to right tackle to take over for Skyler Burkland. It was reported earlier this spring and early summer that Burkland could be taking a medical DQ because of a back injury, but nothing was either confirmed or denied by the Michigan State football program. Losing Burkland would be a big blow to the Spartans offense in 2013. The Spartans do have the depth at each position along the offensive line needed if a starter goes down to an injury, but the depth is young and inexperienced. Backup left tackle Donnovan Clark saw playing time in 2012 when Fonoti went down with his season ending injury, but Clark struggled mightily.
Collectively the starting offensive line is experienced with 3 seniors and 2 juniors anchoring down starting positions. The offensive line needs to become the position of strength that was expected in 2012. If the offense is going to improve in 2013, it starts with the offensive line. They need to give Maxwell the proper time in order for him to find the open receivers. They need to get a good push and open holes up for the running backs. If the offensive line can do these things, the Spartan offense should be better in 2013.