EAST LANSING - Senior quarterback Kirk Cousins has always been quick to criticize himself, especially after scrimmages. But he gave himself a break on the interception he threw during Saturday's first scrimmage of training camp.
"The interception was probably one of my better throws of the day," Cousins said between sessions on Monday. "It had rained, and we had just went out there, and the field was slippery. The receiver ran a post route and slipped and I threw it just over the linebacker, as tight a spiral as I threw all day. But the safety was able to jump in front of it because the receiver slipped.
"So you kind of walk off the field shrugging your shoulders saying, 'Hey, chalk that one up to the circumstances,' and that's going to happen during the season. I was glad that we bounced back from that and had a great scrimmage.
"It actually was one of the better scrimmages that I've had, and that's not saying much."
Cousins was 17-of-28 for 216 yards in the scrimmage with two touchdowns and interception. He connected with Dion Sims (10 yards) and Keshawn Martin (11 yards) for the TDs.
Cousins was quick to point out a mistake that he made during the scrimmage.
"There was a play when uncharacteristically I just missed a 'hot,' where they brought more than we could protect," Cousins said. "I have to get the ball out. I didn't see it, and got sacked and in a game I probably would have fumbled. In a game, that's where you say that's a critical error, not seeing that blitz. Things like that, I have to get much sharper on."
Mark Dantonio agreed.
"You get into a two-minute situation, you can't take a sack as a quarterback and both of them (Cousins and Andrew Maxwell) did that," Dantonio said. "Some how, some way you have to get out of trouble, throw it away. You can't take a sack at the end. Nice defensive plays. Other than that, I thought he (Cousins) played very well."
Nick Hill Impressing Teammates
Redshirt freshman running back Nick Hill led all rushers with 72 yards on 14 carries in the scrimmage. Dantonio, Cousins and Trenton Robinson all mentioned Hill when asked who impressed them during the scrimmage. Hill accumulated most of his yardage as part of the third-string offense against the No. 3 defense, but his unquestioned talented was squarely on display.
"Is he the fourth? Is he the third? Is he the second? He's a good football player and he makes plays," Dantonio said of Hill. "He is an electrifying runner. He is just in a position where there is some depth there right now. But he can make plays. There is no question about that. You will see him maybe as a return man, but we also have Keshawn Martin back there. Nick Hill has had a very good summer camp thus far.
"He has a burst. He is tough. He is very powerful and he can make you miss in space. He is very confident as well."
Said Robinson: "He's tough. He gets hit and he pops right back up."
Said Cousins: "He can take a 4-yard run and make it an 8-yard run."
Sims Speaks For First Time Sophomore tight end Dion Sims was made available to media on Monday for the first time since missing last season due to off-field issues.
Sims was sentenced last December to one year's probation and 15 hours of community service after pleading guilty in September of 2010 to felony receiving concealing stolen property. He was one of 10 men involved in a crime ring which organized the theft of 104 laptops from Detroit public schools.
Under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, if Sims follows the terms and conditions for his probation the incident will be cleared from his record.
According to The State News, Michigan State's campus newspaper, 36th District Judge Kevin Robbins,, who presided over the case, stated during Sims' sentencing that he would support Sims regaining an active status Michigan State's team if Sims completes his probation.
"I will go up (to East Lansing) myself or do it by letter," Robbins said. "Whatever it's going to take."
Sims was reinstated to the team last spring, prior to completion of his probation.
"I'm just grateful for the second chance," Smith said. "Coach D and the rest of the coaching staff gave me a second chance. Everybody supported me, from the players to the coaches. I'm just thankful for that second opportunity. It's exciting to be back out there with the team."
Sims (6-5, 280, Detroit/Orchard Lake St. Mary's High School) is expected to make a major splash with the Spartans this fall. He had 11 catches as a true freshman in 2009.
"He is one of the best players on our team," said quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Sims is in the best shape of his career.
"I'm pretty much the same weight (as when I was a freshman)," Sims said, "I just transferred the weight from fat over to muscle. I feel like I didn't really miss a year. I worked out in the off-season well. I feel comfortable.
"I think we are a strong group of tight ends. Our job is the same as everybody else's. I don't think we should be overlooked because we are a big key to the offense."
Cousins, Foles Still 'Competing,' Still Texting
Cousins has been listed among the top three quarterbacks available for the 2012 NFL Draft by some analyst, often grouped tightly with former Michigan State teammate Nick Foles, who is now starring at the University of Arizona.
Foles played a few snaps at MSU as a true freshman in 2007 while Cousins redshirted. Cousins and Foles competed at MSU in the spring of 2008. Foles decided to transfer to Arizona during that off-season.
Foles and Cousins crossed paths at the Manning Passing Academy in Thibodaux, La., in July.
"That was the first time I had seen him in a couple of years," Manning said. "He's the same old Nick. He's a great guy, and a hard worker and a great person. It was great to see him. We do text back and forth after games."
Cousins and Foles were honorable mention all-conference in their respective leagues last year, and may next find themselves competing again at the NFL Draft Combine, if not the 2012 Rose Bowl.
"Unbelievable how stories go," Cousins said. "I think it goes back to that 2007 recruiting class which a lot of people said was put together at the last moment, and are we really going to be that talented? Coach D had his back against the wall trying to figure out who is going to be in that class, and then you have Greg Jones in that class, Aaron Bates,, Nick Foles and myself. It just goes to show that they did a good job putting that class together within a month."
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