April 17, 2012

Roushar discusses big opportunity for QB Cook

EAST LANSING - Losing his starting quarterback for the rest of the spring is not a development Michigan State offensive coordinator Dan Roushar wanted to see in the first scrimmage of the spring last Saturday.

But now that Andrew Maxwell has likely been lost for the remainder of the spring after sustaining a sprained knee during the scrimmage, Roushar is determined to turn an unfortunate setback into an opportunity for positive growth.

"Andrew is going to be sidelined for at least a week and possibly until the end," said Roushar following Tuesdays practice. "As we look at it, Connor is going to get every opportunity and every rep. Only through repetition do I think you get better. He will learn every time he takes a snap. Dave (Warner) does a great job with him and he is a quick study. We are going to turn it into a positive."

A redshirt freshman, Cook entered the spring preparing for a role as Maxwell's back-up after running the scout team last fall. The strong-armed Ohioan had taken the majority of the his reps with the twos during the spring before taking all of the snaps against the first-string defense after Maxwell's injury in the scrimmage.

Cook got an eyeful during the scrimmage against a blitz-happy defense that threw a lot at him.

"Our defense does such a great job of applying so many different types of pressure," said Roushar. "Typically when you prepare for a game, a defense might have four or five different things that they do. I am sure that our defense has that same mentality on game day. But during the spring, they are working on all of the different things that they do. So Connor is seeing it from every different angle. I know that he is learning and I think it is a great challenge for him. But I think that it will only make him better as the game slows down."

Cook was 9-of-14 for 76 yards in the first scrimmage, which ended with a 41-yard interception return for a touchdown by senior cornerback Johnny Adams, a first-team All-Big Ten defensive back in 2011.

"We are going to get Andrew back healthy," said Roushar, "but in the meantime Connor is going to get an awful lot of reps and get an opportunity to step into the huddle with the ones, demonstrate his leadership, his command of the offense. I think he can do a lot of good things."

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