Observations on the Spartans

Submitted by troublet1969 on August 31st, 2013 at 4:04 AM

After watching the Spartans play this evening, I had the strange feeling that I had seen this team before but I could not quite place where.  The game, which had about 22 punts , was not  "must see TV" by any means but it did have a purpose for many conference opponents fans.  What are we going to have to deal with...?  

From what I was able to see, the Spartans have still got a decent defensive unit.  They seem very opportunistic in trying to force turnovers and getting after the QB.  The offense was atrocious and Mr. Dantonio will be in the hospital if this happens against the Irish when they play here pretty soon.  Between Maxwell and the other QB that played, I do not know if they can honestly say that they have a shot at winning against he top tier conference teams!  O'Connor the kid from my town in Ohio (Lima) did not play.  I thought that I had heard that he was doing well in camp but maybe Dantonio thought he should continue to hide in the weeds a little longer with that one.

I know that I should wait a few games before getting too excited thinking that we will go in to East Lansing and smack them around for 4 qtrs but I cannot help it.  I sure as heck better watch us play tomorrow before writing that check but that team that I thought I had seen before was in that same stadium but it was coached by John L. Smith then...

Their defense did have some spectacular plays one of which will easily be compared to Charles Woodson's leaping, one handed, masterpiece...though the degree of difficulty on his was exponentially higher since he was near the sideline.  There are not many teams that can win with depending primarily on their defense.  Since we have seen Indiana and Minnesota both display the ability to score points so far, is there anybody out there beside me that thinks that Mark Dantonio should be glad that he did not open with either of them?

Your thoughts please...

This is to all of you that had negative responses about a Sparty thread.  This was intended for light discussion.  It was not an exhaustive study on the teams capabilities or dissertation on how much they hate us.  If you didn't want to read it, the solution was very simple.  I have no love for fellow Michigan fans that feel the need to nit pick the other posts because they are so enlightened.  I am a casual reader of many of your posts...this is not that serious folks.  Life is short, calm the heck down!




August 31st, 2013 at 4:38 AM ^

The Spartan offense made the WMU defense look like the Spartan defense.

They had better hope their defense averages 14+ points per game or this season might get ugly.

In all seriousness though, at this point they are better off rolling the dice with one of their young quarterbacks because Maxwell clearly hasn't gotten any better and Cook looked totally lost.

Someone also needs to check and see that their receivers are wearing actual wide out gloves. I think they might have snagged a bunch of wool mittens by mistake.

The silver lining in all of this is that their punter is certainly going to be one well oiled machine.


August 31st, 2013 at 4:56 AM ^

I didn't get to watch the game, but judging by the boxscore, the offense is abysmal, and possibly worse than last year.  The Sparty defense made some great plays, but giving up 2 TD's to a 4-8 MAC team in a close game is not stellar.

I just rewatched last year's M vs. MSU game and if you take away their fake punt, their broken play that led to a TD (when we had them dead-to-rights), some bonehead throws by Denard, and horrendous O-line play, we would have really put that game away early.

With Devin at the helm, I'm starting to really like our odds.  As we all know, improving the O-line is easier said than done, but if it's even slightly better this year, I think we'll be ok. MSU spent 3 years selling out to stop the Denard run, and for the most part, it worked perfectly. I think with a balanced attack, we can put up 21-28 points and that should be enough.


August 31st, 2013 at 1:29 PM ^

WMU's offense was completely overmatched by MSU's defense.  But the futility of the MSU offense allowed WMU to hang around.  The MSU defense scored 14 points on a pick-six and a fumble return for TD.  Plus, the MSU D handed the MSU O a possession at the WMU 12, which the MSU O capitalized on with a FG.  In the 3rd Q, the MSU punt return team handed the MSU O at the WMU 28.  Which MSU converted for a FG.  On the bright side, the MSU O scored one TD just before halftime on a 69 yard drive featuring the potent defensive pass interference play.

Victor Hale II

August 31st, 2013 at 5:02 AM ^

I really don't care how Sparty looks for the first couple of months, because I am 100% sure that they will play their best football once UM comes to EL.  Having said that, this is a team with a lot of question marks on offense but a stout defense.  They are who we thought they are.

Hair Raid Offense

August 31st, 2013 at 5:07 AM ^

This is Mgoblog, so try and keep the 4am drunken rants to a minimum. That's what facebook is for.


And also: "There are not many teams that can win with depending primarily on their defense." I'm pretty sure the team that has won 3 of the last 4 National Championships would beg to differ.


Like it or not, the truth is MSU has a pretty stellar defense and are going to be a tough opponent come early November in East Lansing.


I hate MSU more than anyone but I believe that on that cold, damp, windy afternoon of Nov. 2nd that it's going to be an absolute war on every play. Michigan should NOT underestimate them and their little-brother-like hatred for Michigan. GO BLUE

Perkis-Size Me

August 31st, 2013 at 9:02 AM ^

The team that's won 3 of the last 4 titles has also had a punishing offense to go along with their suffocating defense. Guys like Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson, Julio Jones and Eddie Lacy have seen to that.

Alabama has had more offensive first round picks in the last 3-4 years than MSU could hope to have in the next 20-30 years.


August 31st, 2013 at 10:50 AM ^

I don't drink and if I did it would not result in me getting on Mgoblog to get responses from someone who refers to themselves as the eyeware of one Josh Furman.  As far as Facebook is concerned, since I live in Ohio and have geniune Bucknut friends, I try to pick my spots when talking football with all of them.  I didn't identify you ahead of time as one of the mods to police what subject matter is appropriate for the early morning.

Why does there seem to be at least one irritated person on every post thread?  I thought we were all happy that football had returned.  Sounds like you are the 4am lush...Go Blue!


August 31st, 2013 at 5:52 AM ^

There are a number of caveats regarding the MSU performance. The weather was terrible, the WMU secondary is supposed to be halfway decent, MSU played very conservatively, and it was the first game of the year. That said, 12 points and 116 passing yards against a middle of the road MAC team is terrible.


August 31st, 2013 at 7:44 AM ^

Desperately needed to go down field to open things up early and get amu on their heels. They refused to do that and I don't think it was being conservative. If you don't have a deep threat teams can load up. Also I do not care how good their defense is if the offense is a 3 and out machine your defense is gonna wear down throughout the season and throughout games. It helped them that western couldn't get a first down either


August 31st, 2013 at 6:05 AM ^

Offense is worse than last year. They are struggling to find a QB, Maxwell is not too good. Cook is a little more mobile but will get swallowed up by better defenses. It will be up to the defense to carry this team all season. I do not care how much sugar you sprinkle on it, that offense is still a turd and I've said that for a while. It's one game and they could get better but they probably won't much.


August 31st, 2013 at 8:26 AM ^

I didn't see anything wrong with Maxwell's throws. Those receivers dropped about 10 balls, including at least 4 on 3rd down and a couple in the end zone that ended up being field goals - basically the same thing that happened last year.

If they don't get that turned around then they will see only marginal improvement (or regress) from last year where they were one of the top scoring defenses but also among the worst scoring offenses. That is a dangerously close margin that takes a lot of good breaks to get to 10 wins.


August 31st, 2013 at 6:51 AM ^

For all the praise about State's D, they allowed more points and similar yardage to WMU's D. Of course, their D is much better than Western's, but Western played most of the game with a freshman QB. They weren't playing Alabama (or even North Dakota State). They barely escaped from one of the worst teams in the nation. They have no QB, no WR, no TE and no RB. And, the coach has no patience. Forget about ND, these guys could have trouble against USF.

Yeah, none of that matters when they play us because that will be their entire season, but State's offense looked worse than the numbers and defense looked good but only against a bad team forced to play a freshman QB due to injury.


August 31st, 2013 at 8:01 AM ^

The problem is that they allowed so many yards because Western had sooo many opportunities because MSU's offense couldn't get the job done and played so conservatively (I was amazed how many times they punted from like the 50).

I know it's early to say, but I think I'm onboard with the consensus here.  MSU's offense is not better.  In fact, it might even be worse.  Last year, they moved the ball against Central decently.  Losing that consistent running threat could really hurt them.


August 31st, 2013 at 8:25 AM ^

"Losing that consistent running threat could really hurt them."  True.  It could also help by forcing them to open up the playbook a bit more. I think their offense will be a bit better than last year (obviously, it would be hard to be worse), but their defense won't be quite as good.

Although their defense looked quite impressive, the 10 players on WMU's OL two-deep chart had a total of 5 career starts before the game.  Not a one of them started more than 2 games before. Their starting tackles are a soph and a RS frosh.



August 31st, 2013 at 10:33 AM ^

Exactly this. Plus the first TD occurred shortly after a lucky 30-40 yard bomb. The receiver was covered so there was no way to play that better. Speaking if which, WMU kept throwing to Dennard's WR or side of field. Poor game planning to throw towards him. On a second note, Dennard was pulling and grabbing WRs all night. If he keeps that up, I sure hope the refs call it more than they did this game


August 31st, 2013 at 7:55 AM ^

Granted, it's one game and it was against WMU, so the box score isn't telling or indicative of much perhaps, but a few observations:

MSU gained 297 yards on 79 plays, which is good for 3.76 yards per play. They gave up 204 yards to the Broncos over WMU's 75 offensive snaps, which gives us a paltry 2.72 yards per play for them. 

Connor Cook was MSU's most explosive rusher in that game - 4 carries, 35 yards, or nearly  9 yards per carry. Cook also had the highest overall QB rating of any QB with sufficient stats to calculate this rating - 40.4. 



August 31st, 2013 at 8:10 AM ^

It was one game against a MAC opponent. Perhaps they used a limited playbook. Perhaps a couple key guys with minor injuries sat the game out. I don't know. But I still expect Sparty to be tough.

Wolverine In Iowa

August 31st, 2013 at 8:14 AM ^

State's offense is not good; their defense should be good.  No matter, because fortunately we get to play them, and everyone on both sides of the rivalry will get satisfaction (or not) about who owns the state.


August 31st, 2013 at 8:28 AM ^

I'm going to be this guy - we don't need a thread about f'ing MSU on gameday.  There's a billion-post thread from yesterday where people made fun of them.  

I know we talk about not caring about MSU and making fun of them as an obsessive fanbase, but posts like this show just how petty UM fans are as well.


August 31st, 2013 at 10:04 AM ^

Are we going to see posts about OSU's game today?  How about Nebraska?  ND will play too.

MSU had a mediocre performance last night; check out this 672-comment thread if you don't believe it was a topic of conversation.  But this is the first day of UM's 2013 season, and there really is no need to rehash a win by a rival against a mediocre MAC school.

And just because people still create these posts EVERY TIME doesn't make it reasonable or necessary.  But the great thing about this place is that I can voice my opinion and you can too.  But calling me "petty" because of it comes across as pretty, well, petty if you ask me.