Despite having one of the top quarterbacks in the country, Michigan State quarterbacks coach Dave Warner knows the basic fundamentals remain important for the overall success at the position.
“Footwork continues to be a point of emphases and I think we’re getting better,” said Warner. “We are never going to stop working on it because it is something Kirk (Cousins) needs constant work on and something every quarterback does from young guys all the way up. It is something we try and do every day. I see improvement from Kirk, but we’re certainly not there yet.”
Along with the basic fundamentals, Warner also tries to make practice drills as game like as possible.
“It’s darn near impossible,” said Warner. “We try and make it as game like as we can. Those guys have fun doing it as they realize it is important. When they realize it’s important they get more out of the drill.”
Every top quarterback needs quality wide receivers to catch the ball. Has Warner seen a rise in the quality of receivers coming from the high school level with more passing attacks at the prep level?
We’ve gotten our share of very good ones,” said Warner. “Certainly kids with size, but we’re always looking for difference makers. I feel there are always quality receivers and I think with more passing going on at the high school level there could be a case for that.”
While Spartans fans would like to see backup quarterback Andrew Maxwell get some reps early in the season. They also know Kirk Cousins needs to be behind center for the Spartans to have the year many expect.
How has Maxwell been doing?
“Good,” said Warner. “I’ve seen improvement from all the quarterbacks throughout the fifteen practices and I feel it’s a constant point of emphases. We’re getting better, are we there yet? No! and we’ll never be there as you will always have young guys your trying to develop and improve their footwork as well.
“We hope to give him (Maxwell) experience as he’s earned it, he deserves it, but we’re going to win football games and that is our number one deal with Kirk Cousins behind center. As we see the opportunity we’ll throw Andrew in there.”
One thing Warner loves about his senior quarterback is his desire to get better.
“He (Cousins) never thinks he’s got all the answers,” said Warner. “Kirk is always looking for information whether it be from surfing the internet, YouTube and watching NFL guys or from the camps he went to this summer. He’s trying to get information from everybody not just myself. That is the way he is as he’s always looking to improve.
How much will Warner allow his veteran quarterback put his two-cents into what the Spartans do on offense?
“As much as he wants to as we are receptive to it,” said Warner. “Not that we do everything he wants, but I think it’s important for a quarterback to have input especially one with the experience that he has.
“So he suggests plays and I’m going to pick his brain as to what he likes about certain plays and how he can see us improving on certain plays and any new plays he may like to look at. We’re going to talk about then and some things we’re going to try and some changes we’ll make, so we’re open to it.
“He’s earned the right to have input I think you could say.”