A few takeaways from the new-look Michigan State football team at its annual spring showcase

Print More

Emily Lance

EAST LANSING — Just under a month into spring, Michigan State football returned to Spartan Stadium for its Spring Showcase. Led by new head coach Jonathan Smith, as well as a plethora of his coaching staff and transfer players who now call East Lansing home after some time at Oregon State, the team was eager to take the field and play in front of the Spartan faithful. New starting quarterback Aidan Chiles, a sophomore who transferred from Oregon State to follow his head coach Jonathan Smith, talked about what it was like to get his first taste of what Michigan State football is all about. 

“Being my first time in Spartan Stadium, being my first time around all the fans…Realizing how much of a family it truly is,” Chiles said.  

After a long and hectic 2023 campaign for MSU football, the 2024 season is just around the corner with new weapons and playmakers eager to bounce back and make a bowl game for the first time in two seasons. After some drills and an offense versus defense scrimmage, here are a few takeaways from the first time this revamped squad took the field. 

The team is bought into the new culture and new QB Aidan Chiles

With a completely new coaching staff and a lot of new faces donning the green and white jersey, creating a positive culture and chemistry within the team can be a challenge. For Jonathan Smith and Michigan State, the struggle of creating that new environment didn’t seem to be an issue.

It was apparent as soon as Chiles walked to the podium for his post-game press conference with his teammate, junior defensive back Dillon Tatum, already hunched over the microphone, that Chiles is a fan-favorite in the locker room. As Chiles relaxed in his chair, Tatum was asked what he had seen out of his new quarterback in this young season. 

“Close your ears, bro,” Tatum said with a chuckle. “Aidan has great size, I think he can run really really well and we see the arm that was put on display today. An elite-level quarterback like Aidan Chiles who’s going to continuously give us work, and we’re gonna continue to get better. I think [Chiles] is going to be top of the Big Ten if not top of the country.”

Helmet communication is going to play a big factor in the 2024 season

Along with the new College Football Playoff format, some other new changes are being introduced to college football this season. Communication between coaches and one player on the field will now be allowed through audio in the designated player’s helmet. Instead of the signs and signals from the sideline to the players on the field, helmet communication will make it easier for teams to communicate plays. 

MSU was able to test out the new helmet communication during the spring showcase, and according to Jonathan Smith, MSU had been experimenting with it throughout its spring practices and everything was smooth during the showcase. Smith likes the idea and thinks that it will be a positive addition to college football moving forward. 

Freshman Nick Marsh is going to make an impact right away for MSU

To no surprise, Michigan State is going to need production from a lot of new faces this season. Clearly, Chiles is going to be one of them, but freshman wide receiver Nick Marsh is going to catch a lot of passes from the new leader of the offense. Catching a lot of deep balls and even a touchdown, Marsh proved to the Spartan fans why he was a four-star recruit out of River Rouge, Michigan.  

“I think Nick has really come on the last half I’d say,” Smith said. “In practice, he’s making some plays. You can tell he’s getting more and more comfortable in this scheme, and he’s gifted.”

In the end, it is only a spring showcase and there are still months of preparation and practice before the Spartans take the field in late August. But the program as a whole and its fans were excited to get an early look at what the product is going to be in the fall. 

“Really, it was a great day,” Smith said. “I thought it looked like football out there.”