Cousins enters spring as Spartans starter

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

After performing well as Brian Hoyer's backup in 2008, sophomore Kirk Cousins is listed as Michigan State's starting quarterback entering spring practice, which began today in East Lansing.

Cousins and Oklahoma transfer Keith Nichol will compete throughout the spring, and possibly much longer.

"I'm in no hurry," head coach Mark Dantonio said when asked when a decision will be made about a starter. "Both of those guys have been in positions of leadership their entire lives. There's no egos."

Dantonio praised Cousins' performance last year on the field and Nichol's on the scout team.

"They're going to get a lot of reps, a lot of live reps, a lot of reps with the [first team], both of 'em," Dantonio said. "So you have a little bit of a feel coming out of spring practice. You'll go into August with the same idea. One guy may completely reverse that in August.

"I see using both quarterbacks until one clearly becomes the guy."

Some other quick notes from Dantonio's pre-spring news conference.

  • Defensive tackle Antonio Jeremiah will be auditioned on the offensive line for at least two weeks. Patrick White and Donald Spencer will see time at both wide receiver and defensive back.

  • Returning running backs Andre Anderson, Ashton Leggett and A.J. Jimmerson each will get about 20 carries during the team's spring scrimmages.

  • With All-American running back Javon Ringer gone, Dantonio considers All-Big Ten linebacker Greg Jones "a little bit of the face of the program right now." Jones has led the team in tackles his first two seasons.

  • Dantonio didn't comment further about running back Glenn Winston, who was indefinitely suspended after pleading guilty to assault charges stemming from an off-campus fight that left a Michigan State hockey player seriously injured.

  • Safety Roderick Jenrette, who left the team in August for personal reasons, remains off the squad this spring. Dantonio didn't rule out Jenrette's return at some point.