Football Tour: Prepping for Spartans' practice

The BTN bus heads back west, trekking toward East Lansing, Mich., where on Wednesday we will check out a white-hot Michigan State program that has won 11 games in each of the last two seasons. Watch the Michigan State Preview Show at 10 p.m. ET Thursday.

When it comes to this season’s Spartans, people always point to quarterback, where Andrew Maxwell must replace three-year starter and captain Kirk Cousins.

[BTN.com: 10 reasons to be excited about Michigan State in 2012]

I am eager to watch this retooled offense, which also must break in a host of new receivers. How is Maxwell developing chemistry with the receivers: Bennie Fowler, Tony Lippett, Keith Mumphery, Andre Sims—among others? I expect to see running back Le’Veon Bell in midseason form running behind one of the best lines in the Big Ten.

The defense also should be great. I want to see the depth of talent at linebacker. And how dominating will end William Gholston be? He may be the best end in college football. It will be fun to watch a secondary that includes stars like safety Isaiah Lewis and cornerback Johnny Adams, two of the best in the Big Ten at their respective position.

[BTN.com: Michigan State's 2012 schedule analysis]

I also want to see the mind-set and attitude of this team. Does it still have a chip on its shoulder as it looks to get over the proverbial hump and advance to the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 1987 season? Michigan State can’t lose that edge.

BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is on Twitter and Facebook, all of his work is at btn.com/tomdienhart, and you can subscribe to it via his RSS feed. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below.

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