Hoke was top notch at this aspect of his job.
Despite its weak offensive output, MSU has only one loss this year, mainly due to its aggressive, physical defense. However, MSU's aggressive, physical defense has led them to becoming the 117th worse NCAA team (out of 125) for penalty yardage [70 yards/gm].
At ND, MSU's aggressiveness on defense led to numerous key defensive penalties which gave away the game to the Irish.
After the ND game, MSU AD Mark Hollis made an inquiry to Big Ten officials regarding the penalty calls against the Spartans. Mark Dantonio was quoted by the Detroit Free Press as questioning whether the penalty calls against his DB's reflected a change in standards for pass defenders. Many media members questioned the calls against MSU. In MSU's most recent home game vs. Purdue, MSU was only called for 2 penalties for 14 yards.
I think the key determinant in Michigan's upcoming game at Michigan State will be whether the refs fairly call MSU penalties, especially for pass interference/defensive holding and roughing the passer. If Big Ten officials continue to experience a "backlash" effect and exhibit reluctance to fairly call MSU penalties in East Lansing, it will doom Michigan's chances for a big road win. In addition, excessively rough play by MSU (as has occurred in past match-ups) could also result in injuries to Michigan's key players.
I just want to throw something out there for discussion because it's been bothering me for a number of days now and I thought some input from the Board would help me understand. My question is this: Why does the speed with which M executes it's spread offense seem so slow? In watching the Oregon/USC game, I was in awe of how quickly Oregon was executing its offense. They were running off plays at a tremendous clip. One of the intents of the spread offense is to execute it so rapidly that the defense barely has time to think. Yet, when M runs it, it seems like they take too much time getting the plays off rapidly. The opposing defense seems to have all sorts of time to get set and collect their thoughts. Any insights would be appreciated.
So I have been thinking on this topic for awhile. And I'm sure it's been done here many a times, but I thought I'd just throw out my all M team.
Not all of these players are great NFL players and not all of them would fit on-the-field in the positions as such, but I just thought I would throw out a list of my favorite M players that I have seen play in my lifetime. I'm sure many people will flame some of my picks, but they are mine. Feel free to post your own.
QB: Chad Henne, Drew Henson
RB: Tim Biakabatuka, Tyrone Wheatley
WR: Braylon Edwards, The New Math Mario Manningham, Mercury Hayes (if only for the name alone)
TE: Jerame Tuman
OL: Jake Long, Steve Hutchinson, John Jansen, David Bass, Couldn't name a single M center not on the roster.
DL: Lamaar Woodley, Brandon Graham, Alan Branch, Terrance Taylor
LB: Larry Foote, David Harris, Jarrett Irons (haha), Sam Sword (Super nice guy)
CB: Ty Law, Charles Woodson, Marlin Jackson, Leon Hall
S: Ernest Shazor, couldn't name a decent Safety besides ES, but I could be over looking.
P: The one and only Space Emperor of Space Zoltan Mesko
K: Hayden Epstein (I just have fond memories for whatever reason)
KR/PR: Black Jesus Steve Breaston/Charles Woodson could play here too.