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August 16, 2008EAST LANSING - With several Michigan State starters on the sideline for Saturday's scrimmage at Spartan Stadium, a number of younger players saw their work load increase.
Nowhere was that the case more than along the defensive line. Starters Brandon Long and Trevor Anderson charted plays on the sideline giving back-up defensive ends Colin Neely, Dwayne Holmes, and Tyler Hoover an opportunity for increased reps.
Those young players and a number of other standouts including sophomore linebacker Greg Jones helped the Spartan defense regain the green jerseys they lost to the offense during the first controlled scrimmage in pads.
Neely has been healthy this training camp and has avoided the knee injuries that have curtailed his development during his first two seasons in East Lansing. After the scrimmage, Dantonio said that Neely has been able to practice in all but one of training camp sessions.
Linebackers coach Mike Tressel has raved about the ball skills of true freshman Drew Stevens. Those skills were on display as Stevens sniffed out a screen pass and picked off No. 3 quarterback Aaron Bates.
An honorable mention freshman All-American at punter last year, Bates zipped a pass complete to Chris D. Rucker before throwing a pick to Stevens. Bates earned a scholarship as a punter, but he was an above average high school quarterback at New Concord (Ohio) John Glenn.
Oren Wilson has separated himself from Antonio Jeremiah as the No. 1 nose tackle. Jeremiah played well in the scrimmage, but Wilson made the most plays of any Spartan at the nose tackle position. Ryan Wheat was No. 3 at nose tackle for the Spartans.