Coming off of a disappointing 2018 season for both himself and the entire Michigan State offense, Brian Lewerke entered the offseason looking to return to his 2017 form where he guided the Spartans to a 10-3 record.
And while the season is still months away, Lewerke turned in a strong effort in the spring and the annual Green and White Spring Game, where the Michigan State signal caller threw for 181 yards and two touchdowns on 14-of-20 passing, and most importantly, Lewerke looked healthy for the first time since the beginning of 2018.
“I think today went well,” he said. “My arm felt great; I think I was focusing on my footwork and my form, I didn’t feel any pain whatsoever. I think it was good.”
Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio felt that his junior signal caller performed well in the Spring Game and throughout the spring season, but also credited the players around Lewerke for having strong springs as well.
“When you throw the ball well, and you’re connecting on receivers, that’s great for you, that’s a practice to practice thing,” he said. “You go back to how good we are on the other side of the ball, and it’s not just the quarterback all of the time, you have to separate as receivers, you have to protect the quarterback. So there’s a lot of things working and as I said to my players today, if you talk to an offensive lineman and a defensive back, you wouldn’t know they were playing the same game based on what they’re being taught and how complex the offensive line play is compared to how to play at corner. It all goes hand in hand; football is a game of execution, you have to pass protect, you have to have a rhythm throwing the ball, throw it to the right place, you’ve got to defend it, you have to have a pass rush.”
Dantonio also noted that he felt that Lewerke showed signs of returning to form throughout the spring, but did note he wants to see more confidence and better body language from him moving forward.
“I thought he threw the ball effectively,” he said. “He’s done that throughout the spring, his arm strength is good. That doesn’t mean he’s going to be on the money all the time, but his arm strength is good. He looks healthy, and I hope his confidence is there – that’s what I plan on and it seems to be with how he performed today. Quarterback is such an inspiring position; you need to inspire people, not just having confidence in yourself – I don’t care if you’re one, two, three or four – you have to inspire other people, not just yourself. I think he’ll be ready to go.”
While much of what a quarterback is judged on is based on what he does on the field and what the statistics show, confidence and body language are two key areas that can affect a player’s performance, and, at times, Lewerke admitted that he could have been better in both areas a season ago.
“I think just being positive, just be enthusiastic,” he said. “Last year was kind of a tough year for me; I think maybe it affected the whole team. My attitude could have been better, so he (Dantonio) wants me to be more positive and be more lively for the offense and the whole team.”
Lewerke said that being “more inspiring” and more positive and having more confidence is easily aligned with improved play and added that he understands the importance of remaining positive and being a positive influence for his teammates.
“I think it comes with me playing well, I think that goes hand-in-hand with that,” he said. “I think just being upbeat, up-tempo all of the time and encouraging people.”
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