The offseason is here, folks, and we're taking a look at what each team must do in the long months ahead before the games begin again in late August.
Up next: the defending Big Ten and Rose Bowl champion Michigan State Spartans.
1. Reload at linebacker: Michigan State survived the Rose Bowl without Max Bullough, but the Spartans now must prepare to replace both Bullough and Denicos Allen, multiyear starters who both earned All-Big Ten honors. Taiwan Jones returns at the "Star" position, while Darien Harris and Riley Bullough both are options in the middle. Sophomore Ed Davis showed some promise this season with four sacks. Replacing the production is one thing, but replacing the leadership both Bullough and Allen provided might be more significant.
2. Solidify interior lines: Michigan State's interior line play went largely unnoticed in 2013, but it played a significant role in the Spartans finally taking the step to become champions. MSU must replace both starting offensive guards, including co-captain Blake Treadwell, as well as starting defensive tackles Micajah Reynolds and Tyler Hoover. There seems to be decent depth on the defensive side with players like Damon Knox and Mark Scarpinato, but it's vital for the Spartans to maintain the enhanced level of offensive line play seen this past season. Jack Allen and Travis Jackson (yes! yes!) have experience at both the center and guard spots, but others must step up.
3. Find place for Terry: Damion Terry came very close to taking the field for Michigan State last fall and possibly claiming the top quarterback spot, especially when Connor Cook and others were struggling. Cook has established himself as the starter, but Michigan State should find a role for Terry, who brings unique skills to the quarterback position. Whether it's a package of plays or the ability to run more of a spread look, Terry can enhance an offense that will be leaned upon more in 2014.
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