Observations from the Enemy

Submitted by RationalMSUfan on April 19th, 2010 at 12:11 PM

So, I tuned in for a portion of the Spring game on BTN and here are my thoughts:

1. Your team looks like a bunch of girl's softball players. I thought Barwis was supposed to been some kind of strength guru. (I'm a funny guy).

2. The format kind of stunk.

3. QB's - I don't get it. Is Rich Rod purposely fanning the flames on the QB controversy? Denard looked improved, but is it because he really has or because he faced no pass rush and his WR's were wind open against a 2nd string secondary? Tate looked ok given that he was being chased around and was throwing to rookie wideouts.

Put me in the camp of hating platoon situations. Having gone thru one last year, I think it is best to pick one and roll with that person. By game 5 last year, I didn't care if it was Nichol or Cousins, I just wanted Dantonio to fricking pick one. The in and out thing is just brutal to the flow of the offense IMO.

For the record, I think Denard gives you the best chance. Tate has some moxie, but it's not like he throws it downfield a ton. Therefore, I would opt for Denard who can throw the dink and dunk and has the homerun threat that a defense must honor.

I hope RR is dumb enough to play Gardner and blow a redshirt year. (that's a compliment to Gardner by the way).

RB's - Meh. I didn't see anyone that scares me. I think Shaw has the most talent and if I were a UM fan, I would hope that he emerged.

WR's - Didn't seen anything noteworthy. Roundtree continues to perform even though he doesn't wow me with athleticism. Some guys just have that knack.

Defense - Regardless of who is your QB, I think you will score some points. If you guys are going to be improved, the defense is the key. From an MSU perspective, I was happy to learn that Turner is not Charles Woodson. I don't care how improved JT Floyd is, I'm not scared of a Woolfork/Floyd tandem at CB. At safety, if Kovacs is in the game and a RS Freshman convert (I'll believe Gordon is good when I see it in a real game), I like our chances.

Defensive line should be solid with Martin and Van Bergen. I'll believe the Will Campbell hype when he makes some plays in a game.

Anyways, offense looked good. No answers on defense that I saw. We'll see what happens.

Also, I'm not trying to be overly critical of Gordon, JT Floyd and Campbell. I've just learned to not count on guys that perform well in the spring. MSU has had a myriad of heisman trophy winners in Spring practice that suck in the season.


Dark Blue

April 19th, 2010 at 12:17 PM ^

I'm almost sorry to say that I agree with you on almost all of your points. I don't think RR burns Gardner's Redshirt unless there is some kind of injury. All of that being said, MSU is going down this year. Also I do appreciate a rational opinion coming from a rival.


April 19th, 2010 at 12:18 PM ^

Thanks for the thoughts. There isn't a whole lot you can glean from spring games.. I'll agree with you there.

The defense is going to be the key.. and offensive consistency. If Denard is going to be able to move the chains, I think he'll be the guy.


April 19th, 2010 at 1:05 PM ^

Which makes sense because our running game is based so much on the QB being able to legitimately run. If the D knows he can't really run because only a touch downs him, then what's the point of running our read option? I think that's why we saw so much out of the I.


April 19th, 2010 at 12:21 PM ^

that RR has not been able to get an elite RB to commit to UofM considering how prolific his run offense was at WVU. We've had some elite guys give UofM a look but no one has bitten. Hopefully, if we have a decent season this year (8 or 9 wins), we may actually get a great RB to commit.


April 19th, 2010 at 12:43 PM ^

Agreed. As a lifelong MSU fan, it seems UM always has had a stud RB and then at least one or even two waiting in the wings to take over. Really shocking that they don't even have one legit superstar or superstar to be.

I can see why some pro-style QB/WR's wouldn't want to play at Michigan, but can't understand why RRod hasn't locked up a true stud RB. In his defense, Shaw was pretty highly regarded out of HS and hasn't lived up to the hype.


April 19th, 2010 at 1:35 PM ^

how Fitz or Hopkins or Shaw or Smith do in a regular season and in-game situations before we judge RR's RB talent. It's difficult to judge a RB in a spring game playing with O-linemen who are 2nd or 3rd string, and remember that Steve Slaton was a no-name 3-star recruit, and ended up getting Heisman-buzz for some time and was a 3rd round draft pick and is having a very good NFL career, at least better than any recent UM runningbacks have had.


April 19th, 2010 at 3:22 PM ^

I'm not sure we have a Slaton in this group, but I am excited to see these guys in the fall. Hopkins is the guy who excites me the most. If he could tack on just a little bit more speed or acceleration he could be a great college back. From all reports coming out of spring camp he has been impressive and powerful. The scouting reports on him coming in were that he was powerful, had great hands(didn't put it on the ground and can catch out of the backfield), ran with balance, vision and has good speed. I know RR loves the shifty guys and they sure are exciting, but I think Hopkins has the best all around ability.

The Original Seth

April 19th, 2010 at 1:47 PM ^

Looked athletic enough when he ran 7 times for 75 yards against us. He's no Rodriguez quarterback, but so he's definitely a more effective quarterback than either of the fellers we've got.

Also, to take the 'subjective' element out, let's put some stat lines out there.

328 att 198 compl 60.4% 2,680 yds 19 TD 9 INT 142.6 RATING
281 att 165 compl 58.7% 2,050 yds 13 TD 10 INT 128.15 RATING

Tate'll get better. But right now he's not as good.


April 19th, 2010 at 2:11 PM ^

Hey, remember that time Steven Threet broke off a huge run against Wisconsin? Exceptions do not make the rule and using our god awful linebacker play last year as a cornerstone is not wise.

I think John Navarre is probably a better QB than all three of em. Would he be as effective in Rodriguez's offense? It's not an issue of thinking we have awesome QBs, as I have no problem whatsoever saying that Pryor would likely be much more effective in our offense than Tate.

The Original Seth

April 19th, 2010 at 2:34 PM ^

What's your point brah?
That Cousins wouldn't run Rodriguez's offense as well as he runs Dantonio's?
I agree.

My original post was just an attempt to point out the dipshit who said 'platooning quarterbacks doesn't work when they aren't any good' probably didn't spend much time watching Cousins, since Cousins was obviously one of the most effective quarterbacks in the Big 10 and Nichol was not much worse.

The Original Seth

April 19th, 2010 at 4:23 PM ^

I'll rephrase my statement, then, so we can close the book.

"Cousins was a more effective quarterback playing on his team than Tate Forcier or Denard Robinson were playing on theirs. Cousins' statistics were better, among the best in the Big 10 and he's got the head-to-head result in a game which was effectively decided by quarterbacking. Neither quarterback would have been especially effective playing for the other's coach. None of this matters."


April 19th, 2010 at 3:56 PM ^

You sound completely ignorant saying Cousins is far better than any of our options at QB..

OF COURSE he should be better he is 2 years older than both of our QB's you fool..

He also got to Redshirt, use your brain please..

If tate or denard got to redshirt we should be so lucky. Imagine what they could of done if they had the time to practice and learn this offense.


April 19th, 2010 at 4:03 PM ^

I'll agree with you that Cousins is a solid QB, but did you watch Nichol at all last year? He was horrible, much worse than Cousins, which is why Cousins is the QB and Nichol is moonlighting as a WR.

You can say, "oh but look at the QB ratings!"

Cousins- 142.6

But that would be disingenuous, considering the bulk of good numbers that Nichol put up were in garbage time.

For example, when they were losing 42-7 against PSU late in the 4th quarter...After PSU pulled all of their starters, Nichol went 4-5 71yds and a TD, giving him a QB rating of 287.12 for the game.

Or, against Wisky when State was down 38-17 late in the fourth, and Wisky pulled their starters...Nichol came in and threw two TD passes with under 2 minutes to play, including a 91 yarder with 15 seconds left. He went 7-12 for 195 yards and 2 TDs for a QB rating of 216.5, in the final 2 minutes against Wisky's 2nd team D.

Granted that crazy 91 yard TD with 15 seconds to go, forced Wisky to put their starters back in with 15 seconds left, but he still put up those numbers with MSU's starters, against a bunch of scrubs.

His QB rating is decent, but considering he only threw 91 passes the whole season (Cousins threw 328), those big time garbage numbers at the end of a few blowouts, against other team's 2nd string defenses, skewed his stats considerably.


April 19th, 2010 at 4:37 PM ^

You forgot to add rush yards.

Tate- 240 yards 3 TD

Cousins - 61 yards 0 TD

So then their totals come to...


328 att 198 compl 60.4% 2,741 total yds 19 Total TD 9 INT 142.6 RATING


281 att 165 compl 58.7% 2,290 total yds 16 Total TD 10 INT 128.15 RATING

For a RS Sophomore versus a Frosh, I'd say Tate is looking pretty comparable with those numbers. Not saying he was a better player last year, but he compares favorably to Cousins.


April 19th, 2010 at 12:28 PM ^

Am not overly concerned since they're still missing Martin, Molk, Hemmy, etc. Am really curious to see what the defense will do with Robinson, Johnson, Furman, Dorsey, Black, Christian - most of who WILL get some time.

I think most level-headed Michigan fans expect the offense to be more consistent; i.e., not as prone to ups (against DSU) and downs (against Wisky). I expect similar highs against the Baby Seal U's of the world, but not nearly as many lows against Wisky.

Coaching staff has clarified the reasoning behind the lack of deep passes thus far. Would love for opponents to assume that there will not be any and walk their safeties up to the LOS BEFORE the snap count.

That will be 6 points, tyvm.

Hopefully, anyway.


April 19th, 2010 at 12:46 PM ^

First of all, I understand where you're coming from. That being said, the game is about match ups. MSU doesn't match up well. Our corners may not be great, but who do you have at receiver? One legit WR and a guy that was playing QB last year? I don't know that there is a match up battle that MSU wins. Can anyone else name one? Personally I don't think this years game will be close.


April 19th, 2010 at 1:05 PM ^

"First of all, I understand where you're coming from. That being said, the game is about match ups. MSU doesn't match up well. Our corners may not be great, but who do you have at receiver? One legit WR and a guy that was playing QB last year? I don't know that there is a match up battle that MSU wins. Can anyone else name one? Personally I don't think this years game will be close."

BJ Cunningham is a good reciever (48 receptions/640 yds). Mark Dell is a good, but inconsistent reciever (26 receptions/449 yds). Those are probably 1-2. Keyshawn Martin is a legitimate playmaker (400 recieving yds,5 TDs/219 Rushing Yds and a TD/ and numerous huge special teams returns with a TD). Nichol is at best the 4th on the depth chart. Just my opinion, but I will take our top 3 over your top 3 (is it odoms/roundtree and stonum?) every day.

Winning on the road in the Big Ten is never easy, so I'm under no illusion we are going to come in and steam roll you guys, but I'd be shocked if we got blown out.


April 19th, 2010 at 2:19 PM ^

I would say our top 3 are Stonum, Hemingway, and Odoms/Roundtree. Those guys both play the slot, and will get about the same number of snaps, so I count them as one. Je'Ron Stokes could break into that group this fall, though. On paper, they are probably a comparable group. However, since you guys are a pass-heavy team, you need elite receivers more than we do. Elite receivers yours are not.

If the only match-up you win is MSU WRs against UM CBs, I like our odds, at home no less. Keep in mind how good our pass rush will be, you still have to get the ball off.


April 19th, 2010 at 1:17 PM ^

I do agree with most of your points, but I think the platoon system will work at UM. The reason it didn't work at MSU, besides WolveinLA's observation that neither QB there was all that good, is because they were too much alike. I know one was faster than the other, but as an outside observer, if neither QB was allowed to have a number, I couldn't have guessed which one was in.

With Forcier and Denard, on the other hand, there is no confusing who is who; one is a total change of pace from the other. This is almost like having unlimited substitution of pitchers in baseball between one kunckleballer and one who can hit 100 on the JUGS gun.

Just like the batter in that hypothetical scenario, opposing defenses should be totally thrown off balance by having to face both Forcier and Denard. And any defense should have at least one weakness that one of the two can exploit.

I think the platoon will happen.


April 19th, 2010 at 1:17 PM ^

Your grammar is awful, but you get most things right. I still think Vincent Smith starts this year. He is a good RB who can catch.


April 19th, 2010 at 2:37 PM ^

I agree with your comments on the secondary, there wasn't anything that looked imposing. The one time they're really challenged it goes 97 yards for a TD against the 2nd team.

I think Robinson is the #1 guy not because he is the best QB but because he makes the most positive plays.

Though I am basing that all on 1 practice.


April 19th, 2010 at 1:26 PM ^

All I watched was the highlights as I was at a place without BTN this weekend.

That being said, Tate made some good throws underserious duress.
I'm not going to say he's going to win the Heisman, or is significantly better than Denard, but he had no protection and was throwing to highschool players. Not experienced college receivers.
I thought he did pretty well for what he was given.