Hopefully this is alright to post. It's Friday before a great rivalry, I assume work isn't on the forefront of many a mind this morning for either MSU or Michigan fans, so I thought I'd give some distraction substance for those inclined in getting into the details. I'll link things that apply to both MSU and Michigan.
One thing I'll start with is that we all know this is likely to be a tough game, but that doesn't mean it's impossible to come away with a win. The matchups aren't great. As an MSU blogger put it, MSU's defense this year is a bit of "break but don't bend", and well, Michigan has lacked explosive plays.
But Michigan has been good against the run this year, something MSU still relies on to set up their offense. My feeling is that MSU will struggle at times, but a vast amoung of run schemes will eventually get them into space - where Michigan struggles - and that'll keep them on track.
But Michigan's defense is multiple in it's coverage, which is something Cook has struggled with. Despite the sack numbers, MSU has schemed quite a bit to keep Cook from getting sacked; lots of half rolls, PA, etc. Cook has struggled a bit on the move, and he has flushed quickly when he has felt uncomfortable at his set point, something Michigan's DL is capable of doing.
What that all means is that while MSU is clearly the better team going in, there are things that Michigan can take advantage of, and if they do, then they can set themselves up for some success and maybe even steal a rivalry win.
Anyway, here are my breakdowns of MSU and Michigan so far this year. Hope you enjoy.
This first one highlights why teams generally attack the safeties in MSU's scheme. They have a lot of responsibility that makes it very difficult for them to cover everything
Here I look at a breakdown in coverage by MSU vs Oregon. I don't think MSU is making the same adjustment vs Michigan for a variety of reasons, but it's still notable in that this sort of theme has hurt MSU for some big plays at several times this year.
This is a look at Nebraska vs Northwestern, but it's of note because Nebraska struggled against Northwestern's Cover 4 scheme (that they played similar to how MSU runs Cover 4). Then Nebraska made some adjustments
However, when they faced MSU, MSU was sound fundamentally and that shut down some of how Nebraska tried to counter the scheme
This year I've gone in-depth with three MSU games.
I also looked at their jet sweep package, which after last week you can now add "Buck Sweep" to the package
As far as Michigan I've looked at a few games this year for them as well.
On top of that, I broke down their Run Game playbook extensively
Let me know if there are any questions, or anything you want to see. I'll check back after the game around Monday to see if there is anything that people want broken down or whatever, and I'll be checking back today if anyone has any questions today. And as always you can leave comments on my site and I'll be sure to answer there as well.