The Michigan State Spartans kick off the 2012 season with a prime time ESPN game at Spartan Stadium on Friday, Aug. 31 against the Boise State Broncos. With fall practice about to begin and the opener mere weeks away, The Only Colors is getting pumped up for a big season that has the Spartans pointing toward the opener ranked 13th in the USA Today preseason poll.
Among the five fall camp story lines the The Only Colors will be tracking is how the Spartans approach their opener with Boise State. With so much attention on the first game and a chance to impress a nationwide audience, not to mention poll voters, the Spartans will need to find a balance between being primed and ready for Boise State while also being ready for Big Ten play.
Also, youth is not a critical component on the depth chart, but getting a big impact from a rising sophomore or redshirt freshman can swing a great season to special.
There's a senior presence there, but no one so large that a huge chunk of the team will be graduated by next year. There's a huge contingent of juniors many of whom have extensive starting experience already. There's a block of talented sophomores hungry to prove themselves for the first time in starting roles (with the exceptions of Travis Jackson and Marcus Rush, who I still can't believe both have three full years of eligibility left, if they want it). And finally, there's a crop of RS freshman plugging holes here and there, but, crucially, are not being forced into starting roles (well, yet... *crosses injury prevention fingers*).
It's not an ideal class distribution for a football depth chart, but it's pretty close in my opinion. And typically, the younger the team, the more important the Fall Practice is to their overall development and performance. I'll be especially curious to see how some of those new sophomore starters, or RS freshmen in the two deep, perform at their last big auditions before the season starts.