It wouldn't be fair to say that high school quarterback recruit, Damion Terry, who committed to Michigan State last fall, was happy, per se, to see current Spartans' QB Andrew Maxwell struggle during the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, but it certainly made him realize his days playing in an actual game in East Lansing could be closer than they might seem.
On Monday, Terry spoke with Spartan Nation Radio about his experience in watching the bowl game at the end of last year and it was clear that the young athlete realized the competition for starting quarterback would be heating up.
Maxwell was benched during the match up against TCU in favor of back up, Conner Cook, who helped to lead the Spartans to a narrow 17-16 victory over the Horned Frogs. And while Terry is already a determined MSU fan through-and-through, he wouldn't deny his slight pique of excitement when he saw what appeared to be an obviously-struggling Maxwell benched.
Still, through it all, Terry knows just how tough waiting for your chance to shine on the field can be and sympathized with Maxwell. It's clear that this is a young player that isn't looking to prematurely steal the spotlight from anyone.
"I'm always cheering (Maxwell) on because I want us to do well along with win," Terry said. "When I was watching Andrew, I know he was struggling a little bit even though he made a lot of good throws, but in the back of my head, I'm like, 'Yes, yes, open competition.' But that's not who I am. I'm just trying to root for him, make sure he does good and then when Connor came in, the same thing.
"Everyone wants to compete, and everyone wants to play as soon as possible, but you're always rooting for your team to win. And I feel like the coaches will put the best player they believe that will do the best for the team out on the field."
Michigan State head coach mark Dantonio was mum concerning the subject of next year's starting quarterback during the post-bowl game press conference and wouldn't weigh his hand one way or another.
"I don't want to slight anybody, say this guy is the new quarterback," Dantonio said to reporters.
With Maxwell benched, the starting duties for the player under center come this fall could go to Cook for his game-winning efforts in the BWW Bowl, or they could fall upon redshirt freshman Tyler O'Connor, or perhaps even Terry himself. Knowing Dantonio's coaching style, the ball and playcalling duties could still be in the hands of Maxwell come next season--it's just too early to tell.
In the end, Terry hopes to at least snag the back up role for the upcoming season so that he might get a chance to display his talents on the field.
"No. 2 is especially big because if they're playing a bad team and they're up, I go in for a little just to some snaps for the future, get me prepared," he said. "But now knowing that I actually can start next year, it's a possibility that's real crazy to think of. But I know I'm going to put in all the hard work I need to do to try to get myself, my body and just my mind set right for next year and get prepared for it."
And as Terry prepares himself physically, he'll soon realize that honing the mental aspect is no easy task either.
"Some people actually want me to start next year even though they've never seen me play," Terry reflected. "It is kind of amazing.
"It just hits me that this is real. Next year, my next football game will be against South Florida or Western Michigan or someone we play. That's just crazy to me. It hasn't hit me yet."
You can follow MSU Examiner, Michael Ferro, at twitter.com/MichaelFerro.