Week 6 Musings

Submitted by Phoenix on October 4th, 2010 at 6:30 PM

5-0, I love it! Spartie* also 5-0? Wow, couldn’t be better, this is going to be a great, great game. Some random thoughts:

What new wrinkles will be added this week? I absolutely love the new QB run/pass option, when Denard fakes a run left and throws on the run. That’s new from last year. I’m excited to see what else we have that will revealed this weekend. <s> Like the 3 QB backfield. </s> If I was a grad assistant I would suggest incorporating Hopkins using the read/option in the pistol formation (as has been discussed previously to serious rabbles rabbles), getting him going with a head of steam - seems ideal for a big back who takes time to accelerate. But I’m not, and what we’re doing seems to be working just fine thank-you-very-much (except for short-yardage situations), so whatever, I’ll just have to wait and see. But I know we have something new and that we’ll unveil it this weekend.

Our RB situation. The Indiana game featured a plateful of Vincent Smith at running back. I’m a big-time Smith supporter (I still can’t believe he’s our #1b back so soon after tearing his ACL, and I love seeing the dude block), but I was really, really surprised not to see anyone else showcase their abilities. I’m glad Shaw was rested and hope he will be good to go this week, as he gives us the most firepower. But it would have been nice to see another back play against Indiana – we do have a full stable of them, after all. (As an aside, who is next in line now? Against BG I seem to recall Hopkins getting first crack prior to Cox, before fumbling – is Cox ahead of Hopkins? Another aside, could you imagine if Fred Jackson were the position coach for Denard? “The vision of God with the speed of light.”). Anyway, it would have been nice to see some other backs play this past weekend to see what they could do. At this stage of his recovery, Smith is solid but not spectacular. At best we could have a situation like when Lewan came in for Huyge and ended up earning a starting job. But again, obviously I’m not the GA and the coaches are playing who they think gives them the best chance to win.

Beware the trickery. We seem to have a propensity to getting burned on special teams trick plays (like last year’s onside kick). State has shown they are willing to try them, and we all know Dantonio’s determination to win this game. Hope our boys are being told over and over this weekend to watch the trick plays, especially on special teams, and are being prepared. I like that 3 returner punt return formation, but it's exposing us to a fake punt try.

It’s going to be an amazing game. The atmosphere at the Big House is sure to be impressive and I can't wait to see this game. Go Blue!

* This spelling seems more approrpriate than Sparty. Seems much weaker.



October 4th, 2010 at 6:35 PM ^

Shaw is definitely the #1 back IMO. He has the top end speed and has also been running hard lately. He doesn't go down as easily as he did last year. It will be nice to have him back.


October 4th, 2010 at 6:42 PM ^

I agree.  I think that if we can keep the MSU running game in check, while solidifying our own, we have a very good chance of winning this game.  I think we will be able to get to Cousins a few times which will hopefully rattle his confidence.  They have quality WR's no doubt, but taking away their run game will inevitably force some mistakes and hopefully a few interceptions.  


October 4th, 2010 at 6:41 PM ^

I actually agree on the Spartie spelling. Interesting. STill don't condone nicknames like that or O$U though.

Also, you bring up an interesting point up the trick-plays on special teams from MSU. They do have a history of trying them with us and the ND game shows they are still ok with doing it. And the 3 returner formation definitely leaves us naked on fakes.


October 4th, 2010 at 8:20 PM ^

I've heard that on the board before, that the spread punt formation doesn't lend itself to fakes. But I don't get why that is, and would love to be taught. Because when I saw the formation live, it seemed like we were more susceptible, what with three returners back instead of the usual one. (Prior to the punt I remember thinking, "This is awesome, as long as they don't fake it.") While spread linemen makes rushing the punter easier, it doesn't change the difficulty in making a dump-off pass over the oncoming rushers, so I'm not clear as to why spread punt formations makes fake punts less feasible.

Maybe I just missed my calling as a special teams coordinator.


October 4th, 2010 at 8:26 PM ^

I want to think that it is because that there is a lot of pressure on the punter since by the time he has caught the ball and goes to punt, there's 2-3 guys at the second level and the first level barely (if at all) blocks the rushers.  I could be wrong, if magnus or something with superior football knowledge wants to weigh in, go for it.


October 4th, 2010 at 8:08 PM ^

We seem to have a propensity to getting burned on special teams trick plays (like last year’s onside kick).

Aside from that play, when else have our special teams gotten burned on a trick?  (I'm not arguing; I can't remember another time.)


October 4th, 2010 at 8:12 PM ^

Maybe all my past* cringing during punt returns has made me wary of all special teams play. But you're right, I can't remember any other specific incident, which makes me realize I shouldn't throw around words like 'propensity' if I can't recall another event.

*We're good, folks. We've got that out of our system. Right?


October 4th, 2010 at 8:21 PM ^

I have a feeling our guys will do better against a traditional offense...hopefully one more week of lessons learned will lend to some improvement. With all of these young players, they have to gradually get better on defense, right:?

Promote RichRod

October 4th, 2010 at 8:33 PM ^

  1. bring back the edge pitch to Shaw
  2. try a reverse to Grady
  3. debut the triple option (keeper, shovel pass to Smith, or pitch to Shaw on the end)
  4. lots of play action in general


October 4th, 2010 at 9:30 PM ^

I'm down in OKC this week, and I was listening to what passes for "sports-talk radio" down here. NOTE: It's worse than 97.1. Srsly.

But, they were reviewing the Texas-OU game, (what else?) and described an interesting play wherein OU's defensive front lined up with an unbalanced set. The talking heads described it as "two DEs lined up on the left tackle", leaving the Texas RT unopposed, and that it was a "new wrinkle" they hadn't seen from OU before. OU ran that defensive set "3 or 4 times" and it blew up a screen play and caused at least one QB sack. The Texas RT had to choose between blocking one of two DEs, one on his left shoulder, one on his right. One of them was going to get through. It apparently worked.

I'd never heard of this, and looked at the YouTube summary of the game. There are a few plays where its clear that OU is lined up in what would be a 3-man front, (OU nominally plays in a 4-man front) but they slide a Roh-type player onto the line within a few inches of the right DE. Each time they did it, Texas had split their TE wide or had a slot receiver.

What I found most interesting was that Texas seemed to pick up the extra DE okay, but the right OT was totally unprepared for a blitzing corner or safety from the opposite (what should have been their "strong") side. Its as though the defensive alignment left the offense utterly confused.


October 4th, 2010 at 10:25 PM ^

The way I see it Mouton and Roh need to have huge games*.  If the linebackers flounder then MSU will score at will. 

*Obi purposely left out of the equation

NOLA Wolverine

October 5th, 2010 at 12:32 AM ^

After watching Denard fumble on the goaline, I would be in favor of running some pistol for our heavy formations. There's film/statistical evidence that suggests it's a very favorable formation to run out of (Nothing conclusive though), and it takes away from the dynamic of a center exchange.