Offense was a big question for Michigan State heading into the season, and it remains a big question for the Spartans as they enter Week Two.
Michigan State opened the season with a 26-13 win over Western Michigan. But the offense managed only 297 total yards and scored one touchdown. The Spartans had two defensive TDs and kicked two field goals. They also punted 11 times.
Last season, despite having a defense that was among the nation's top 10, Michigan State finished just 7-6 because the offense was so poor (97th in total offense, 110th in scoring offense).
Wednesday, Spartans co-offensive coordinator Dave Warner told reporters that personnel changes are possible for this Saturday's game against USF, which is coming in off a 32-point loss to FCS opponent McNeese State. Asked whether redshirt freshman quarterback Tyler O'Connor might play, Warner said, "It's always a possibility."
O'Connor is listed third on the depth chart, behind co-starters Andrew Maxwell and Connor Cook and one spot ahead of true freshman Darrion Terry. Maxwell started last week's game and Cook played as well; they combined to go 17-of-37 -- a 46 percent completion rate -- for only 116 yards.
Tuesday, coach Mark Dantonio expressed displeasure with the offense but wouldn't talk about whether there would be a quarterback change.
"We're going to look at things as the week progresses and make some decisions near the end of the week," he told reporters. "I'm not going to talk about who is starting right now. We're going to find out some things in practice and we're going to make decisions as we move forward."
Just last week, Dantonio said he felt comfortable that the Spartans had a No. 1 quarterback, and it was Maxwell.
Michigan State has numerous draft prospects on this season's defense, including senior cornerback Darqueze Dennard, senior strong safety Isaiah Lewis and senior linebackers Denicos Allen and Max Bullough. But it's hard to see anybody on this season's offense going in the 2014 draft. That's a stark indicator of the issues on that side of the ball, considering Michigan State has had at least one offensive player selected in every draft but one since 1981.
Also worth noting: Michigan State's total offense ranking has dropped in each of three previous seasons (from 38th in 2009 to 53rd in 2010 to 56th in 2011 to 97th last season) while the total defense ranking has improved each season (from 73rd in 2009 to 43rd in 2010 to sixth in 2011 to fourth last season).