"Northwestern fans can be both heartened and disheartened by the loss to Minnesota just like how nineteenth-century resurrectionists were heartened when they pried a heart from a freshly-buried corpse and then disheartened it when they sold it to a disreputable anatomist."
Lately I've noticed several threads that all go something like, "This media person thinks X but I think Y!" Seeing this and also knowing how mgobloggers like having lots of small threads even less than they like the opinions of media people, I thought I would try turning them all into one big thread.
The main benefit is for people who want to get some insight into the game that's outside of, or even contrary to, what the mainstream media is reporting.
A couple of the ideas below are drawn from this blog, some come from blogs like SBNation, but most of them come from someone who doesn't know that much about football (me), even though he's been watching it since he was a wee tyke waiting for Bo to throw his headset into the ground again so that his dad would laugh.
So, without further ado:
Advantages - Things the media missed that will help Michigan
Brandon Herron. Although he's not a safety that's coming back, Brandon Herron is a junior. And that means experience -- something the defense needs just as much as it needs deep-backs. Also, his return frees up Roh to play at DE and rush the QB like a hungry Rhino with rabies. Which leads us into....
Hitting Cousins on the Road (courtesy of this thread by brewandbluesaturdays). It turns out Kirk's numbers drop pretty reliably in road games. Check out last season's difference in his average per-game stats. HOME: 16/24.5 (60%) for 220 yds, .33 INT, 1.5 TD, and 4 wins out of 7. AWAY: 17/31.2 (54%) for 233.4 yds, 1 INT, 1.8 TD, and 2 wins out of 6. Some of this stems from a tendency for Cousins to make mistakes when under pressure. The combination of MSU's first true road game, the increased stadium noise, and the return of Herron bode well for Blue.
Denard Robinson. Okay, the media has said plenty on this front. But one thing they haven't brought up is his history (a short one, yes) against the Big Ten. Last year, Denard ran just fine over Big Ten defenses. Overall, he rushed for 351 yards, averaging 5.1 per carry. Much of that came against stalwart defenses like Iowa, Penn State, and Wisconsin; and, all while he couldn't pass. They knew he was going to run and still could do little to stop him. His average bumped up to 5.8 ypc against those three. Here's the other thing that often goes under the radar: Denard's pass-efficiency is now #3 in the country. So, guess what? He can throw now too.
Penalties and Turnovers. Yes, the media has pointed out how MSU is the most penalized team in the Big Ten (91st nationally) and ranked 8th in turnovers (67th nationally). They might even mention how well Michigan is doing: 5th in penalties (32nd nationally) and 3rd in turnovers (15th nationally). What they don't mention is that this is key to Michigan's defense doing anything. Although our defense has about the same strength as recycled tissue paper, its
greatest only hope is for the opponent to make mistakes. By playing bend-dont-break and stopping the big plays, Michigan will force MSU to run as many plays as possible, hoping to increase the number of drive-ending penalties and turnovers they commit.
That Golden Dome. Despite being so early in the season, Michigan and State have one mutual opponent: Notre Dame. Of the two games, Michigan won theirs more convincingly. They did it on the road, and they didn't need a trick play in overtime.
Disadvantages - Things the media missed that will help State
Awash - Things the media thinks matter but don't
Again. Carry on.
Michigan State is unleashing a massive amount of spurious and unfounded edits upon all sports articles, as some fellow editors and I had to lock Michigan-related pages.
Please be mindful of Sparty trolls on Wikipedia. It appears they're...everywhere.
I posted this a couple of days ago as a comment in a thread, but it got buried pretty quickly, so now that I can post diaries I thought I'd post it again.
I wanted to look at the breakdown of Rich Rodriguez's previous offenses, and in particular the main QB's run-pass balance and the fraction of runs by the QB. I'm only looking at RR in Div 1A (so Tulane OC, Clemson OC, WVU and Michigan), and I'm skipping the mess that was the 2008 offense. Data comes from the year-end statbooks for each team.
Here is the overall production chart. QB is the main QB (from what I could tell) - in 1999 Brandon Streeter got a lot of playing time (mostly passing), and in 2001 Rasheed Marshall got a decent amout of playing time.
|Year||Team||QB||Pass Plays||Pass Yards||Rush Plays||Rush Yards||Total Plays||Total Offense|
|2001||West Virginia||Brad Lewis||357||1811||475||1992||832||3803|
|2002||West Virginia||Rasheed Marshall||279||1753||714||3687||993||5440|
|2003||West Virginia||Rasheed Marshall||252||2034||600||2762||852||4796|
|2004||West Virginia||Rasheed Marshall||259||1993||590||3034||849||5027|
|2005||West Virginia||Pat White||193||1398||625||3269||818||4667|
|2006||West Virginia||Pat White||233||2059||590||3939||823||5998|
|2007||West Virginia||Pat White||265||2067||628||3864||893||5931|
|2010 Proj||Michigan||Denard Robinson||285.6||2887.2||547.2||3892.8||832.8||6780|
|Year||Team||QB||QB Pass||QB Pass Yards||QB Rushes||QB Rush Yards||QB Total Offense|
|2001||West Virginia||Brad Lewis||237||1339||54||41||1380|
|2002||West Virginia||Rasheed Marshall||259||1616||173||666||2282|
|2003||West Virginia||Rasheed Marshall||215||1729||101||303||2032|
|2004||West Virginia||Rasheed Marshall||171||1426||130||684||2110|
|2005||West Virginia||Pat White||114||828||131||952||1780|
|2006||West Virginia||Pat White||179||1655||165||1219||2874|
|2007||West Virginia||Pat White||216||1724||197||1335||3059|
|2010 Proj||Michigan||Denard Robinson||230.4||2419.2||235.2||2172||4591.2|
Denard has already had more passing yards and almost as many rushing yards as 2005-era Pat White. If he averages just over 100 yards passing per game for the rest of the season he'll have more passing yards than any of RR's QBs other than Shaun King. If he kept on his current pace (unlikely), he'd end up with almost as many yards as 1997-era Shaun King. If he averages just over 60 yards rushing per game for the rest of the season he'll have more rushing yards than 2007 era Pat White. For total offense he would need to average just over 160 yards per game to best Pat White's best season, and just over 315 to match Shaun King. At this point it looks like Denard is the best all-around QB Rodriguez has had to date: almost as good a passer as King and as good/better a runner as Pat White.
Next I want to look at the breakdown of plays and yards between run and pass, and in particular the QB's share of production.
|Year||Team||QB||% Rush Plays||% Rush Yards||% of Runs by QB||% of Rush Yards by QB||% of Total Plays by QB||% of Total Offense by QB||QB % Rush Plays||QB % Rush Yards|
|2001||West Virginia||Brad Lewis||57%||52%||11%||2%||35%||36%||19%||3%|
|2002||West Virginia||Rasheed Marshall||72%||68%||24%||18%||44%||42%||40%||29%|
|2003||West Virginia||Rasheed Marshall||70%||58%||17%||11%||37%||42%||32%||15%|
|2004||West Virginia||Rasheed Marshall||69%||60%||22%||23%||35%||42%||43%||32%|
|2005||West Virginia||Pat White||76%||70%||21%||29%||30%||38%||53%||53%|
|2006||West Virginia||Pat White||72%||66%||28%||31%||42%||48%||48%||42%|
|2007||West Virginia||Pat White||70%||65%||31%||35%||46%||52%||48%||44%|
|2010 Proj||Michigan||Denard Robinson||66%||57%||43%||56%||56%||68%||51%||47%|
The first two data columns are the percent of all plays and all yards that come from all runs. The third and fourth are the percent of all runs and rush yards that come from the QB. The fifth and sixth are the percent of all plays and all yards that come from the QB. The seventh and eight are the percent of the QB's total plays and yards that come from his runs.
RR has historically varied a fair amount in how much of his offense comes from running the ball - this year we're about average for what he's done in the past, and less run-oriented than for example 2005 West Virginia. However, our rush offense is by far the most QB-based of any previous offense, far outstripping the one-man show of 2000 Woody Dantzler, and 2007 Pat White. If we look at total offense, this year's team is more QB-focused than any of the Clemson or WVU teams, but actually on par with the Tulane teams. Looking at Denard's run-pass balance he's actually right around Pat White's typical split, though he is certainly more run-focused in his production than any of RR's other quarterbacks.
This is just a high-level overview. I can't break down the kinds of running or passing plays RR is using from this data. The offense certainly feels very different than the Pat White-era WVU teams in formation and play style, and the YouTube highlights of Woody Dantzler I've seen have the QB iso type feel that we're seeing a lot from this year's team. I think the main message is that even within his system RR will adapt his style, both at a high level and at the formation/play level, to match his talent - which is what he should do.
Just a friendly reminder to all that we are still running into Michigan State fans that call the Big House the “Quiet House.” They say, “how can 100,000 fans be so quiet?”
If you are going to the game on Saturday, it is your duty to be as loud as possible. Get behind and stay behind this team. Even one missed audible or false start could make the difference in stalling a Spartan drive and in a close game that could make the difference.
Lose your voice and mind, but stay classy. Clap, stomp, scream - go bizirk - when Cousins is behind center. If you want to go hardcore, bring a cowbell or pennies in a water bottle. Make every Spartan that is in attendance never use the expression the “quiet house” again.
If the team falls behind early, stay with them, boost them up with our noise. Our defense this season has played better in the second half and we will make a run if we get behind.
Win or lose, everyone that is attending the game must consider their personal day a failure if they weren’t helping out the team. Do not bring a Spartan with a spare ticket and wear maize. Get behind this team.
Taylor Martinez, and the #4 rushing team in the nation host a K-State team that, much like Indiana was prior to last wek, is undefeated after playing a hosts of near no ones.
K-State isn't all that bad. They do have wins over UCLA which looks better now than it did in week one. They also have a win over UCF, who for those who watched Wednesday night, looks like a half way decent win. They also have a win over Iowa State in the Big 12, which, that may mean nothing, but hey, Iowa State beat Texas Tech?
K-State fans are also pushing for running back Daniel Thomas for Heisman consideration. He currently has 628 yards on 105 carries (6.0 average). That puts him 5th in the nation rushing, just 277 yards behind whoever that guy leading the nation in rushing is.
Yes, that guy.
Anyway, over on the Nebraska side, we've got defense and we've got the vaunted Nebraska option. No, not the old option of Eric Crouch or past Nebraska QBs. I'm talking the zone read with freshman Taylor Martinez. The guy isn't any Denard, but he's plenty fast. Nebraska is currently #4 in rushing yards per game (309/game). The Huskers currently are 11th in points per game at 40. More astounding is that they also have a top 10 defense in terms of points allowed (#7 at 12.8 per game).
The line is Nebraska by 10.5, 11, or 11.5 depending your source. O/U is around 47 or 47.5. I'm liking Nebraska to cover and taking the under. Both the running games should slow the pace down a bit, at least if K-State can stay on the field long enough to do it.
Discussion goes here.
Thought to ponder: is cheering for Nebraska fine? They're going to call us a rival in 10 years. Should I get the hate started already?