Sometimes when you write something, it becomes MORE relevant later than at the time you published it.
This exclusive with Michigan State quarterback Michigan State, an
interview I conducted and later published in August, is actually more on
point today than when it first went live back in the summer.
I have to admit it, I'm drinking the green colored Kool-Aid being manufactured in East Lansing, Michigan this summer. I truly believe that Ohio State and Iowa are the class of the conference; but after that, Michigan State
leads the way. I think they're the most complete team of the nine which
happen to be a peg or two below the big two, and if anyone's going to
contend for that Big Ten conference crown, and knock off the Buckeyes and Hawkeyes, it'll be the MSU Spartans.
And on offense it all starts with their quarterback Kirk Cousins, a preseason all-conference pick who was rated the league's "most accurate passer" by Lindy's.
The 6-3, 202 junior from Holland, Michigan already ranks tied for
eighth in MSU history with 21 passing TDs. In his career Kirk Cousins
has completed 62 percent of his passes (230-for-371) for 2,990 career
yards. Last season, he was in a fierce position battle with fellow
sophomore Keith Nichol for the starting quarterback job. The battle
lasted long into the season. But Cousins won out, and Nichol moved over
to wide receiver during Alamo Bowl practice. This year the job belongs
to Cousins alone and Nichol is the starting split end. So both will be
on the field all the time in 2010.
"I see a lot of excitement between the two of them when they make a
play together. Keith is still an outstanding football player at
quarterback, and he could still play in that position, but the bottom
line is he's too fast, he's too good of an athlete, he's too powerful,
he's 223 pounds now, so when you have a guy like that you have to give
him an opportunity to be on the football field full time," Michigan
State Head Coach Mark Dantonio said.
"I view Drew Brees as the guy that I want to be like, people may or
may not think the's the best, and they have good reason to say maybe Tom
Brady or Peyton Manning is the best," Cousins said.
"But I've always wanted to emulate Drew Brees, how's he played with
fire and the passion since his days at Purdue when he took his team to a
Rose Bowl when I felt that team had no business going to a Rose Bowl in
2000. That's the kind of leader and player I want to be, he's gone a
long way with what he's had," Cousins continued.
Leadership is definitely an area where Cousins has earned his
stripes. Last year he became only the second sophomore to be named a
captain in Michigan State's 113-year football history. He also earned
the Biggie Munn Award as the team's most inspirational player on
offense. And just how awesome of a name is Biggie Munn? "Biggie Biggie Biggie can't you see? Somehow you words just hypnotize me....."
Part of the reason I'm so sold on State is the way their schedule
plays out. Their first five games are at home, their first seven are in
the state of Michigan, and the eighth is at Northwestern, where the
crowd could very likely once again be 40-60% MSU fans. So that could be a
de facto neutral site game. In other words, the whole first half of the
season is perfect for the Spartans to get comfort and confidence; two
of the most critical components for building a winner.
"Like you said, confidence can get going early if we're sitting there
with a 4-0, 5-0 kind of a record, and the confidence in our team, the
belief in our team is only going to snowball. And that can only help us.
So like you said, the schedule sets itself up well, and now we just
need to go out and make big time plays, take care of things in crunch
time and we can have a special season," Cousins said about the favorable
Written by Paul M. Banks, president and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest-focused webzine. He's also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Tribune's blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network and Fox Sports.com