There is a nice blog on ESPN about defensive strategies and a portion of it is on MSU. I found this part rather interesting:
There is a nice blog on ESPN about defensive strategies and a portion of it is on MSU. I found this part rather interesting:
They have also mastered the play to the echo of the whistle, get your money's worth, intentionally over aggressive, steroid induced rage style of the Seattle Seahawks d.
More importantly, Btw.
"Narduzzi" spellchecks as "Mar fuzzy" and "Bar fuzzy"...not so scary then are they?
I think they have gotten alot out of the underdog / us against the world / little brother mentality and have used that aggressively these past years. I don't know how long they can play that card.
about one point. Narduzzi gets more out of 3 star players than most, if not all, DC. Once Narduzzi leaves for a HC position, Danni will take msu back to where they belong.
Find lesser ranked players that play ... lets just say "rough" and can get away with stuff that others can't ... then call it development.
And until it doesn't, I'll just call is successful.
It's amazing the crap they get away with on D.
Also, they had a great D when the league is down. When the Big10 is back up to par, I'll give them credit for having a great defense. Until then, it's easy to beat up on crappy teams and call it "great defense"
Agreed... Max Bullough's knee to the back of Devin Gardner's kneck and head "rumored concussion" was clearly after the whistle blew. The way I remember it, Devin was almost in a position to get himself up of the ground...and in comes steroid taking, Adderal and Norco popping Bullough with cheapshot.
They don't seem to be lacking in the strength department either. They were tossing our O-linemen around last year like rag dolls.
In the diary about the women's football academy, maizemama made this somewhat cryptic comment:
"Nussmeier did have some changes he wanted to see out of the weight training and they have incorporated those changes (we didn’t get specifics on that)."
It might not be a significant thing, but I'd like to know what Nuss was referring to anyhow.
I'd be very curious what Nuss wanted changed. As a former strength coach I've seen more than a few football coaches trying to tell the strength staff how they should program for their athletes. I've yet to hear one suggestion that had any base of evidence. Not saying what they want doesn't have value, but how to get what they want rarely does in my experience.
Everyone tossed around our OLine.
"When you look at the Big Ten as a whole, there is not a lot of speed," he said. "Now that's not the case with Ohio State or Michigan."
Still, when asked what he noticed about Michigan's defense, he replied: size.
"They tend to get bigger guys," he said. "I don't know if that's the way they recruit. But when you look at their linebackers and linemen, there is about an average of two inches and 20 pounds compared to our guys."
Size, he said, is not something USC covets. "We go for speed," he said. "That's just our philosophy."
— Lane Kiffin, USC offensive coordinator, December 2006
I'm sure Don you will say both but do you think that speed or size would be better in the Big Ten. There is a weather factor that should negate speed to some degree. It maybe why Big Ten powerhouses haven't historically recruited that way
If it's just speed vs. size, I'll take speed. If it's speed vs. strength, that's different.
It's not like our OL was tiny last year in terms of weight—they undoubtedly outweighed the vast majority of the DLs they faced—but it sure appeared as though they could get pushed around real easily at the LOS. I've gotta believe that's at least partially a strength issue.
strength and technique I would imagine from our younger lineman
Takes me back to high school physics, and the definition of kinetic energy:
KE = 1/2mv^2
where m = mass of object
v = speed of object
So not only does speed help you get in a position to make plays, it helps you hit harder when you get there. Speed kills (like Chuck Norris).
And there are plenty of folks here willing and able to tell me if I'm wrong on the physics piece. It's that kind of board.
University of Nebraska book on physics of football and he breaks down lots of elements of football very well with actual physics philosophy, research and theory. Collisions of football players don't happen at top end speed very frequently so it'd be hard to argue that a faster lineman that is smaller will exert more force because he's faster. Acceleration and strength and mass are more significant at that level. Safeties and corners speed is crucial for changing the path needed to prevent a breakaway run using the sideline.
Most of the physics though is not really needed to be known beyond typical phrasing. For example, you can be told to follow through with a pass, but you don't need to know that the purpose is to reduce the torque on your arm by reducing the angular acceleration after the release to prevent injury. Most people never worry about it and just do what they're told or what they had been told in the past. Exception maybe punters/kickers.
Choose size. Speed. And strength?
The best athletes rarely outperform their peers in speed or strength measures like a max bench press, squat, or a 40-yard sprint. The distinguishing quality of top athletes is motor control. The ability to exert strength quickly, deactivitate muscle quickly, and optimally project forces throughout the body linkage is characteristic of this skill. In addition, the best athletes are experts at reading situations quickly, seeing and reading scenarios quickly, and being able to respond quickly to unpredictable environments. This is a major difference between game speed, which is an open skills where anything can happen, and speed or strength in a closed environment such as those at the NFL combine tests. This is why the combine is a poor indicator of future NFL success. What makes good athletes is being able to play the game and not neccessarily speed or strenght, but the ability to utilize the speed and strength they have effeciently. This is why a Jake Ryan wasn't a highly rated high school recruit and probably doesn't test well in max strength or speed, but is a fantastic football player. He does all those things I mentioned very well.
I do find the NFL's (and the fans) fascination with the combine quite amazing. I agree with your points - there are guys who just make plays for 2-3-4 years and then they test below par and fall and the Patriots or Packers or Steelers pick them up most years and they become quality players. Other guys do little but test crazy and move up from a 4th rounder to a 2nd.
If anything the whole combine should be in pads to at least somewhat replicate reality. And maybe with 2 guys chasing them and hitting them in half the drills ;)
Other than straight line speed for the WR's and DBs, I don't see how almost any of the rest matters. If a guy can do a shuttle in a dome with no one breathing down his neck, or impeding him - that's fine and dandy but has little to do with change of direction while trying to diagnose a play, while a guy who is 250 lbs is smashing you in the shoulder or stomach.
It's funny to read that and think back to when Moeller was HC, that seemed to be the exactly philosophy he used when he was looking at guys like Hendricks, Jones, Gold etc....
To this day that was my one complaint about Lloyd he seemed to revert back into big slow footed guys until around 2003/2004 then a little more speed was brought in.
I like actually like that right now while getting some size our LB's coming in seemed to run a whole lot better then past classes and our DL still has enough size hopefully to keep the LB's clean.
Hendricks, Jones and Gold were all Carr recruits (all were in the 1996 class).
Yes they were...yet not doing that in the pros. A team of skill, speed and strength should be a factory producing NFL talent (see Alabama). They aren't and the program has been together for seven years. In the last seven years name an NFL defensive starter that played at MSU.
Is it a system that doesn't translate to the NFL? If they are handling even smash mouth teams how are they not just constantly getting guys drafted who are producing at very high professional levels. Virginia tech has a specific style if defensive play and they put regular starters in the NFL. Worthy, Gholston, jones ....
It's honestly really confusing....
The NFL is about measurables. MSU until the past 2 years didnt get a ton of say "4 star" type talent out of HS, which are usually guys who physically dominate at that level and if developed go to the NFL. Instead they get guys ranked say 30 in the state of Ohio, RS almost every single one of them, start them as rotation players as RS SO and let them loose as RS JR and RS SRs, with 4-5 years in their strength program. So a lot of times they have 22 and 21 year olds playing 19-20 year olds. (*Wisconsin does the exact same thing - look at their starters, both teams are loaded with RS SRs and RS JRs) OSU and UM have a lot higher type recruits of which maybe 30-40% don't redshirt.
Great example of NFL prospect versus very productive NCAA player is their outside linebacker Denicos Allen. He is a beast. But he is 5'11. Aside from a few exceptions the NFL wants LBs 6'1-6'2. They have a guy now named Taiwan Jones who is a beast physically and an NFL prospect. But Denicos Allen outproduced him by a country mile. Allen I think was a UDFA and some team next draft will go and and take Taiwan Jones in the 3rd or 4th round based on his measurables even though his production is nowhere near Allen thus far. Who has done more for MSU? Allen.
The exception for them are their corners where they have taken tall speedy athletes who are raw like Trae Waynes and Dennard and develop them. Both were 2 stars but they are athletes and they have a chance to have corners taken back to back in the 1st round.
They are now doing the same with their DEs - Calhoun will be a 1st round draft choice as a 3 star - he has the NFL build and the speed. They have another guy who they are super high on named Cooper who is a RS SO I believe who they think is the next Calhoun. Same profile - speed, height and he has already put on 50 lbs at MSU in 18 months.
To add to that they are now getting the higher end recruits - some more higher ranked kids - Montae Nicholson which I still have no idea why he walked away from, Malik, Reschke, etc. Their DL haul this year would only trail what OSU put out - grabbed a big kid Evans who was headed to Wisconisn, grabbed McDowell, and 2 others that would be similar profiles to say a Wormley type. Other than McDowell, they will RS them all, rinse, wash, repeat.
Overall they are very aggressive and take risks. They are the opposite of bend don't break. They have a simple philosophy of you wont run on them and you have to beat their corners on the outside of the field with a nice QB. That's the weakness. Most Big 10 teams dont have a nice QB in this day and age - look at how few NFL prospecs there are - no Chuck Longs, Brees, Jeff Georges at the middle level teams. For us Devin and Denard were not Henne or Navarre types who would do well against that strategy. The one team that could throw effectively in the middle of the pack (Indiana) actually scored on them. Hackenberg in a year or two should do well...but who else? Their philosophy would work less in the SEC, Pac 12, or Big 12 where there are more top end QBs.... in the Big 10 its quite good. To that end I think Mattison acts as if Big 10 QBs are NFL type guys and has been too conservative with far too much respect for what they can do.
A good OC should be able to exploit.
Good comment! Only thing I would disagree about is Calhoun being a first round pick. I know mock drafts have him going there (just like Gholston a couple years back) but outside of dominating Fitz Toussaint, he really didn't do too much. Randy Gregory from Nebraska, on the other hand, is going to be a stud.
A little off topic but Gregory played on the same high school basketball team as Zak Irvin and Gary Harris (Hamilton Southeastern). Gregory was a senior when Irvin was a sophomore (Harris a junior), but man that team was fun to watch. The phrase is way overused but Gregory is an absolute freak athlete. He is going to have a huge year.
Video of Gregory at HSE -
I think Gregory is a better player and Bosa will be, if he already is not. But Calhoun is being mocked top 10 some places - but if he is a 1st or 2nd rounder it's besides the point. People say their defense last year didnt have NFL talent yet it will have 4 guys who will be drafted in the 1st 2 rounds ... (Drummond,Calhoun, Waynes, Dennard). I have no idea the last time we had 4 guys on defense who were playing on the same team, who went in the first 2 rounds. Around those 4 core NFL type guys they had guys like 6th year DT Tyler Hoover, SR Max Bullough, SR Denicos Allen, SR Isaih Lewis, Taiwan Jones... and Marcus Rush who was a JR will probably get a sniff in the 4th roundish (their other DE). It was a loaded defense with the younger players NFL type talent and the older guys very good NCAA players.
p.s. Calhoun was a RS SO last year....people piss on him for tailing off as the season went by, well he was a 3rd year player - that happens. If he doesnt leave after this year (he'd be dumb not to if he has a first round grade) he has 2 more years of eligiility. As does Trae Waynes. So they have 2 RS JRs on defense projecting into the 1st round right now - that's impressive for a non SEC team.
Bottom line: their defensive development and identification of talent is very similar to what Beilein is doing in basketball. Unfortunately for us, it happens in a sport for them where those players are around for 4-5 years whereas our strong coaching staff is in a sport where players leave after 2 years. So they get to benefit from a lot longer tail.
It seems a little bit lucky though too. I mean Taco Charlton has better measurables and a higher recruiting profile as Shalique Calhoun. Maybe Charlton will still be better than Calhoun (he's 2 years younger), but so far I think it will hard to catch him. Compare a guy like Denicos Allen to Joe Bolden or James Ross. Compare Kurtis Drummond to Jarrod Wilson. You could do this with a number of players on both squads who have similar measurables (height and weight) where the MSU guys have produced more than the UM guys, at least on the defensive side of the ball. But, MSU still tried to recruit most of these guys that UM signed. To some degree I think there has to be some luck involved. Ultimately, I beleive that recruiting rankings are reliable the majority of the time and if UM continues to out-recruit MSU these numbers will work themselves out. They did before RR and once UM gets past the RR era of players (2015) I think the W/L records will bear this out. D'antonio and Narduzzi had the luck of getting settled just when RR starting messing everything up.
Way to keep it classy Asshat
Do you think that's an ability the MSU coaches have or more of a neccessity because traditionally they haven't been able to sign the bigger midwest recruits that often go to UM, OSU, PSU, or ND? I mean they offered RJS, Kalis, Pipkins, Wormley, Funchess, Ross, Wilson, Ojemudia, Braden, Strobel, Darboh, AJ Williams, Norfleet, and Godin and that's just the 2012 class. In fact, there are only a few guys in UM's 2012 class that MSU didn't offer. My point is they don't have this amazing ability to select a guy that fits their system. They are going after the exact same guys. They just don't get as large of a share of top 300 type kids that UM does. But, they're targeting the exact same players and just not as successful at signing them.
That's exactly how Jimmy Johnson won 3 Super Bowls in 4 years with Dallas in the 90's. SPEED and agressiveness on defense. The majority of their defensive players were smaller (weight wise) compared to the average NFL defense. Jimmy Johnson recruited for speed while at Miami (YTM) and drafted for speed while at Dallas. If you notice his roster while at Dallas alot of players came from Florida as well playing for him at Miami.
EDIT: Forgot Barry Switzer won the 3rd Super Bowl.
I wonder the same thing. I was expecting Lewis or Allen to get drafted higher, but people said they were too small for the NFL. Those guys sure seemed to do just fine punishing the smash mouth teams to me. I'm expecting a few more of their guys to start making an impact in the NFL but I just haven't seen it yet. Unfortunately I think it could just be the system more than the players that makes them good.
Lewis I'm not sure - he seemed tall and talented. He was disciplined and good in their system, no doubt. I thought he would go early last year, then was surprised to see him go undrafted this. Bullough confused me as well - I thought he was a beast.
Allen, as tough a little bastard as he was, just doesn't have the size. He'd get swallowed up too much in the NFL.
"clutch and grab receivers because they'll only call PI a couple times a game" strategy.
It's a great strategy honestly...the Seahawks parlayed that into a Super Bowl title this year.
Is it aggressive, sure. Does it seem dirty at times, sure. However, you rag doll WR's all day long and late in the game they aren't going to be coming off the line so quickly and suddenly your DL is getting to the QB more.
Honestly, I love the way Narduzzi coaches his D, it's all about intimidation and they have that going for them. 1 or 2 15 yd pass interference penalties don't mean much in the grand scheme of a game especially when it gets to clutch time and the WR's are all of a sudden a lot more timid.
Yeah, was going to mention the same thing. They are very well coached and their corners have been solid, but it is telling that the one game they lost last year also featured the most PI calls.
And there's an additional official on the field this year, an 8th guy. In the Women's Football Academy diary maizemama mentions it, and they were told it was so they could watch the defense. I hadn't heard of that before, so I looked for a few articles, found several which verified an 8th official in the B1G next year (though at least one of them said it was to watch for offensive fouls).
If it's true that there will now be 3 officials watching the defense instead of 2, it's going to hurt that defense. I'm not saying it will render them harmless, guy who's about to reply to me saying "THEY BEAT US 5 of 6 YOUR HOMER EEEE", but it will hurt them. The M coaches (and others in the B1G) have to work the officials before the game, though. Say, "look, if it's pass interference, it's a penalty, right? Doesn't matter if they do it every single down, it's still a penalty, right? So you gotta call it every single down." You can bet Kelly did this pregame last year.
The talent gap between our coaches/players and theirs isn't as big as most assume. This year we will start showing what we've been building!!
Pure player talent? Maybe not. Coaching? Uhh, until I see otherwise, I give MSU an edge.
A rather big edge.
UM needs to get stronger and more aggressive. I think we'll see more of a step in that direction this season.
State's defense never seemed fast to my naked eye. Agressive, well-drilled and effecitve, yes. But guys that have plus-speed? Not sure about that. Or if it matters.
Its not like you see 4.3 burners out there for them
you dont have to be denard-level fast if you are in the right place at the right time, which is part of the well-drilled style you mentioned
"I don't think there's a team in the country that does what we do," Narduzzi said. "We're more cutting edge [with] zone pressure. We're cutting edge with how we play our quarters [Cover 4] coverage. It's adapted to if you play Stanford, a two-back, two-tight end team, or an empty team. We do a lot of things people don't do and to be honest, people are trying to copycat it all over the country.
As I understand it, MSU borrows a little from the old Jimmy Johnson 4-3 Over concepts, but the quarters coverage in Narduzzi's world essentially seems like it starts with redefining the vertical game for the offense to a shade less than ten yards, leaving the safeties in man coverage to get receivers on deeper passes (which aren't deep compared to other schemes). The LBs have the leverage, making anything short in nature - run or pass - something that basically has to go right into the center of the defense. Everyone is basically close enough that assignments can be traded almost at will, so if you go, say, three wide, somebody has you regardless.
I had not idea what he was talking about.
The speed I see on their defense is the speed with which they read and react. Also, they are strong but I really think their technique is superior. Their front 7 gets off blocks and change direction very well.
This is all according to ESPN's draft tracker...
Since the 2000 draft, the SEC (not including Missouri or TA&M) has had 64 DEs and 71 DTs drafted for a total of 135 DLs.
In the same time period, the BIG (not including Maryland or Rutgers) has had 45 DEs and 48 DTs drafted for a total of 93. Or about 50% fewer than the SEC.
The top five programs in the SEC for DLs—Alabama, LSU, FLA, GA, and TN—account for 86 DLs alone.
Michigan had a grand total of 7 DLs drafted, and all at the DT position—none at the DE, surprisingly enough. There are seven other teams in the conference who've had more DLs drafted since 2000 than Michigan; the only BIG teams with fewer DLs drafted than U-M since 2000 are Illinois, Indiana, NW, and Minnesota.
The BIG team with the most DLs drafted since 2000 is OSU with 14. That would put them sixth in the SEC.
It's long been my opinion that the most significant difference in physical talent between the SEC and the rest of the country is at the DL position. I haven't taken a look at other conferences, but just as a fr'instance, USC since 2000 has had 13 DLs drafted, and that takes into account the tremendous defensive teams that Carroll put together there.
They consider Graham to be a DT not a DE then. I though he was more of a DE. All that said we've had 2 guys who were really NFL caliber in a decade on the DL and yes I agree - SEC type DEs are like LB speed up north. Hence losing Hand sucked...
I will be curious if they shift Wormley outside this year - he was the one guy on the spring chart listed as DL not DE or DT. He seemed to be the 1 guy on the line who could wreck havoc and considering his massive size and he should get some explosiveness the farther he gets away from that injury... if he can play DE he'd be very difficult to play - great run stuffer who can dismantle. We need guys like Taco, Marshall, Poggi to be very good - at least 1 of them to be a breakout guy.
By the way going back to MSU D last year, their rush ends didnt do a lot of the damage in pash rush - Calhoun was mostly picking up fumbles his teammates created and returning for TDs. Their pressure came from so many stunts out of the LBs and gashing those gaps. They basically use their interior DL to completely muck up the run game and their LBs are the ones who really do a lot of the damage in the pass rush dept. Some S and corner blitzes too.
So this counts Woodley, Graham, Burguss, and Crable all as 3-4 OLBs. While not all of them would be DEs in the NFL, at least two would be in the right scheme. I'm sure you get that to a degree elsewhere as well, just saying that Michigan has had some of those types.
Woodley has certainly spent a lot of snaps in the league with his hand in the dirt, but as you also surmise, I'd have to believe that the SEC also has had LBs drafted who have ended up in similar roles in the NFL.
DL is the most important group on a team for elite teams. DL, and not speed, has seperated the SEC for the ~7-10 years
Well... regarding the subject of this thread, not really. MSU's DL has been the least impressive of their defensive units. DB's and how they play are by far their greatest asset, then LB's, then DE's, and lastly interior DL.
Ok, it's an Andy Staples article and he likes to troll but this article further highlights the difference in DL talent.
Fake pump for victory.
The safeties come up and take a lot of the LB coverage (who are crashing the line on any run keys whatsoever). Fake pump, let them think they have an easy pick, throw it over top of that single coverage. Do it over and over again all day. It's not this simple, but do this.
A fake pump is something from China.
that's why it will work
As others have pointed out, it sure helps to have guys all over the field who have been playing in the same system for 3 and 4 years. Wisconsin is hardly a team that is based on speed, and they've been quite successful in the Big Ten as well. They seem to depend more on size and strength than speed, and that works out for them. They also have plenty of experience at nearly every position though.
It also seems that wrestlers excel at certain positions on the football field. They may not be bigger, stronger, or faster than anyone else, but they understand how to use leverage and momentum to their advantage better than most other athletes.
but some of their running backs, hot damn...
Can this be a continuation post from theconfession thread?
I loved watching msu's defense last year because it was something we used to have (most of the time). Give me 13-10 wins any day over whatever the score was for the Indiana game last year.
Please show it to me, Hoke.
Sounds like you enjoyed most of the Lloyd Carr era. 17-13 and 13-6 were pretty standard outcomes. The wins were cool, and we took them for granted. But it always felt like Lloyd kept the game close on pupose for some reason.
Yeah but last year's msu team did what all but one of Lloyd's teams did which was play all the way to their potential. They didnt piss away any games at the end that they were seemingly in control of which was a Lloyd special.
I'll take a stout Michigan offense in the 80's or 90's any day against MSU's current and the past years defense. Like one with a huge o-line and that guy that goes by the name of Wheatley or Thomas(A-Train). Hoke knows what the teams in the 90's had and need to be that physical team. A lot of their staff does too. I'm not so sure some of the current coaches having success in the game do right now. As a matter of fact I know this. Take for example Jim Harbaugh and what he did at Stanford. Where did he go to school few might ask? That's right, Ann Arbor. So Michigan goes spread after Carr retires and how many schools have followed suit to the leaders at best. Our rival being one. It has been the perfect storm all along and I've realized this for awhile. Argue if you want but then it's obvious you cant see the bigger picture. To further back up my point. Who was the best power house kick your ass team of the past few years? Yes, you know and now we have their coordinator and they are stuck with that dipshit who got canned at USC. Killed two birds with one stone there. How amazing this situation is. All three of these teams I've mentioned are hated by me and seeing the effects of Michigan men and it hasn't and won't be good for them. So to sum it all up because I'm rambling. What kind of sport is football? What has it always been since they started the game and what will it always be? The ones who have played and won, know and say it's a physical sport. It is not however, a speed sport. Michigan have the chips right now and it's going to be fun seeing this come back. You didn't really think the greatest team that started it all would suck forever did you?
react because it can be a son-of-a-bitch to block if you are using standard blocking rules such as OIO, i.e, over, Inside, outside or the old GOO rule, i.e., gap, over, first outside backer. Sounds odd I know at this level, but when a team is so very young, the coaches will rely on player's comfort zone before introducing them to more intricate bloking scheme. Most offenses have become more sophisticated trying to protect the passer, but it's natural for an OL to block the man immediately over him. This is where Narducci's speed criteria can make it tougher than hell. I recall a play last season where MSU, on the defense's right side, was utlizing what we called an Eagle defense at the h.s. level. You just merely line up more defensive players than there are blockers. It's actually a good learning tool for the offense because you teach your qb what to run when he recognizes such alignments. There is always a checkoff, sometimes as ez as changing a pass play to a quick pitch when defensive alignment suggests chance for big gain, however, DG did not check down and Taylor, due to Fitz being behind him offering pass protection in the backfield should have opted for the bigger, much bigger OLman than the LBer who posed the more immediate threat to Devin(more than likely due to coaching) but also was much closer to Fitz's size and possibly could have been handled. When Taylor opted for the lber the DT on that side simply mowed Fitz over resulting in a sack. This even caused OSU problems but to a lesser degree because of their bigger back but ultimately it was MSU's defense that provided the win against them as well.
It also provides problems when the OLman shoots out to hit the man directly in front of him. OLman follows his target who is simply going to create a pile to his right or left by moving in either direction w/OLman following. This allows LBer an unobstructed hole into backfield and MSU does it often with two middle backers coming in untouched, thereby creating a blitz that is effective against both the pass and the run. Simply imagine the defense utilizing two man X packages because that is the design of the blitz, DL going one way, lber the other. Very, very effective. All is good if those moving the chess pieces understand tendencies as shown on film, because they will have correct play called to counteract it because such gambling leaves gap in middle of field and quick slants, screens, etc., often times go for huge chunks of real estate. As Narducci is aware, it is a gamble and that is why such a defense requires above average speed. Any defense can run these schemes, but the slower, not as quick backers often require a last second shift. Albeit minor, such movement tells the OL what you are trying to do.
Things to do offensively to negate defensive game plans of this nature(?): You utilze a lot of plays such as those suggested above. Game film also gives coaches a very real idea of when and where it's coming from, allowing for inside traps. Their speed is used in a downhill or attack mode, and like I said, leaves the middle open. If block is successful, end zone will often be the result because they attack with 8, leaving three dbs to handle at least that many receivers, The more experienced OLmen recognize these little tricks and instead of vacating their real estate to the first squatter who comes along, waits patiently-it doesn't take long- and than he WWFs the lber into submission. Another thing we'll be doing this season that will negate this type of attack style is see a return to zone blocking. The linemen are required to do more moving and less thinking, and this should result in the better player winning most of the battles. The other obvious benefit is our OLmen will not be pulled out of position, thereby rendering their(the defenses') best laid plans null and void. I would also recommend using a lot of shotgun, and although I can't recall MI using it much, shovel passes are great against these types of defenses. We've all seen the confidence eight 3 stars, accompanied by a couple 4s and maybe a 5 that results from early success, never moreso than last year. I want to blame it on inexperience and cringe at the thought of our position coach and OC being outfoxed to that degree. Well the OC is gone, the new OC is going back to zone blocking and Brady and Nuss must be happy with Funk. We've also got a couple good sized backs who have another year of blocking therapy to fall back on. Plus it's been pointed out that although Bama is at a level, talent wise, similar to what USC had under Carroll, MI is only a half-step behind(much better than the USC years sans Long) and many of our linemen were contacted, some purportedly offered by same.
Additionally, our defense, is made up a lot like our defenses of the past. They should be able to realize similar results of the gambling defenses, that being 6-7 helmets to the ball without exposing the same amount of real estate resulting from such gambling techniques. If this, indeed, pans out, and I think it will simply because our depth is actually where it should be, our offense should see a lot more chances than they have in the recent past and the most important thing is they should realize much, much superior field position, to a level that often times they'll be handed the ball needing only a couple first downs to be w/in fg range. Although I did write "most important," I could be wrong here and the most important thing could easily be the double dose, one of adrenalin, the other confidence that resonates throughout both units when your defense completely manhandles its opposition. This can be contagious and will often render them completely helpless. Damn, I miss those days.
While this sounds fine on paper; evaluation and film of our players suggest they are more than capable, it will still take execution to make it happen. I am fairly confident our defense is going to do the job(should have one of best back seven in conference) despite the BIG having 4 to 5 top signal callers and our in-state rivals possessing one of those who appears to be a taller, stronger version of Cousins. Our offense still has to develop a winner's mindset and that will require a lot of work by both the HC and OC. Those early season matchups not only provide the type of opposition to assist in this regard. It also should let us know early if we've made those strides. Most importantly, I think, is that 4 of those losses were by a point total of less than two handfuls, which also suggests the coaches have more "ready to roll talent" than many give us credit for. Hey, even if it's different for us, I wouldn't mind Michigan "sneaking up" on some people this year. We're due.
What? Sorry I wasn't listening. Can you start over?
I've heard about the importance of speed now for about 20 years, and about how the Big 10 isn't fast. It seems like every great team these days is described as being known for its speed. I'm not saying speed isn't important, just that I doubt that MSU's defenders are significantly faster than ours.
Consider the source, I know, but collegefootballsnews.com compared the times at the NFL combine between conferences and the Big Ten players were essentially as fast as the SEC (position groups varied but there were as many faster B10 groups as slower).
My theory is that well-coached players "play faster." They flow toward the play as split second faster, or get through a crowd more efficiently. That doesn't mean that 40 times aren't important, but I just don't buy that Michigan coaches are unaware of the role of speed or that our players aren't as speedy as the Spartans.
Bullough, Dennard, Lewis and Taiwan Jones didn't redshirt. Bullough was MSU's leading tackler as a true SO. Allen, Drummond and Calhoun did redshirt, but they were all major contributors by their RS SO year.
MSU's defense isn't the product of some grand redshirting strategy. They were 6th nationally in total defense in 2011, led by some of those same guys as underclassmen. MSU has just figured out what works and what it wants.
Conversely, in 2012, Mich brought in Ross and RJS, two acclaimed LBs who are on the smaller side. Two years later, Ross is changing roles, RJS has hardly played and Mattison said at signing day that Mich has to get bigger at linebacker. Mich is still figuring out what type of player it wants.
This is why I love this blog.
You need all of these things, and hats off to MSU for doing them all well, especially on defense. However, I think they are overrated in several respects, especially speed. Their team is just not that fast. They are not faster than Michigan or Ohio and I would be surprised if they are faster than Nebraska. Michigan probably has the fastest player (in terms of game speed) in the B1G (Peppers) and Ohio probably has the most overall speed. The size vs. speed matchup of the future is Michigan vs. Ohio. We will have pretty good data on Spartan speed after MSU plays at Oregon. Sparty had better size than us ever since Rich Rod. That will change this year or next, as our young players come to the fore. The big point is player development and scheme. The Spartans do a fantastic job developing their defense to take advantage of mistakes and weaknesses common to college football. They take risks intentionally, knowing that young, undeveloped players will have a hard time capitalizing on them. This is obvious on the offensive line, but the real problem here is at wide reciever. Ever since 2011, when Michigan's recievers kept mucking up their routes and Denard could not make proper adjustments, I felt that a disciplined receiver corps with a quarterback who can make good reads would destroy that defense, even if they only had an average o-line. MSU gambles and that means that there is usually a mismatch/advantage or two on the field at all times. Even though he is a terrific quarterback, I feel like Gardner struggles to make good reads sometimes, so we may have a hard time again this year. Our recievers are more athletic and more technically sound than they have been in a long time. Freddy Canteen is the prototype wide reciever to destroy that defense. I feel like MSU is always one made block, good read, or good route from getting torched. The problem is most college team cannot do every one of those things simultaneously on most downs.
The getting torched certainly proved true against Indiana in their first series against MSU, but for the most part, nobody was able to exploit that agressive aspect of State's defense.
Yup, in college you rarely face a good and consistent passing attack. A team may have a good QB or a good reciever or a couple of good O lineman, but you don't see many teams that are solid in all three position groups. MSU can do what they do knowing that they may get burnt 1 or 2 times a game but not enough to run them out of their aggressive, blitzing style.
The Rose Bowl game against Stanford was a good example of this.
I think Stanford knew that you had to throw over the top against the MSU defense and they took chances doing this. I remember they tried deep throws early on and most of the time their receivers were one on one with the DBs. Stanford just didn’t have the QB and WR combo to nail this.