We're taking the five key things series and weaving it in with the Devil's Advocate series we did last year. Co-Authoring this segment will be my partner in crime Ty from the Lions in Winter. Check out his blogified 3-0 hot start here.
Hosting Today's Session
1.) Is Jim Tressel Der Sätanhitlër?
Jim Tressel is a "tragic hero" and by that I mean Der Sätanhitlër. He couldn't stop lying even after he got fired. I read somewhere he wouldn't take another job until he read 100 books. 93 days later he gets hired by the Colts for some crap position doing some crappy thing, probably telling people Payton Manning will be under center next quarter. I'd like to point out that's 1.075 books per day, I know if I had been the Godfather at a place like OSU for 10 years I'd have some stuff to do that had nothing to do with reading books. Like seeing family. So Imma go ahead and call Shenanigans. No way he read 100 books before taking that job.
Stop lying Jim Tressel, the world is a safe place.
Jim Tressel is black of heart and false of tongue, but it’s getting increasingly hard to believe he’s any worse than the majority of DI colleagues. Most AQ conference programs that have achieved year-over-year success in the last decade have been sanctioned, or are under investigation, or are technically following rules that very badly need to be changed (like 237 Alabama signees finishing their degrees at Too Bad You Aren’t Good Enough To Start at Alabama Technical Institute).
It seems like NCAA football has become NASCAR: If you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’.
2.)You think this is the game Keshawn Martin does this thing?
I think this is the game where Keshawn Martin will do more of his thing. He's gone out of a couple games hurt now which leads me to believe he's a bit dinged up and spent very little time making people miss. Still, I don't think that running will come easy to us and the best way to help that out are with bubble and short screens to Keshawn. We're really missing a second receiving option right now to free Keshawn up to Keshawn his way across the field for the Make Glorious Keshawn!
I have a sneaking suspicion it is. Keshawn has a way of uncorking the huge return or the ridiculous reverse right when things are bleakest. Maybe it’s because Dantonio typically calls his number most when things are bleakest—but either way, I have to believe that if Keshawn is physically able to have a statement game, he has it Saturday.
3.) Should the Spartans try to stop the run, or attack the pass?
They should commit to stopping the run, I don't think Miller can beat us with his arm. If we can get up a score or two Fickell will have to think about Bauserman and I am all for creating the QB platoon of doom.
The Spartans unit that is the most better than the OSU equivalent is the downfield passing game. If the defense can rattle Miller early, and the Spartans can get a lead, I like our secondary to snag a couple picks in the second half—which should be an enormous advantage.
4.) How much more do we see of the unbalanced line?
I don't think we'll wheel it out again like we just found how damn awesome Tickle-Me-Elmo is and everyone's like dude that's so 1996. However, I rewatched bits of the ND game and was looking for the unbalanced line plays in particular. We ran four plays that I saw, there were probably a few more, but in the four I saw:
- 3 were run to the weakside. On two of the three McDonald the LG and he was functionally the tackle. He got beat at the point of attack and if he wins the point of attack on either of those runs Baker goes for like 9 instead of 1.5. On the run to the strongside the five left of the center go out to murder Notre Dame lambs.
So far, so good
The Weakside DE comes free, I mean not even slowed down.
Which ends up in TFL
So, I guess the long and the short of it is. It's not like the Unbalanced line is schematically broken. Had an OL gone back to seal off the backside that play maybe gets sprung for a few more yards. The formation has potential, and I think we see it again.
Out there on those things they call the Interwebs is a site called Smart Football, and it is about how smart people coach football teams smart. There’s an awful lot of reading material on Smart Football about unbalanced lines, and how smart coaches use them. The thing is, Mark Dantonio does not usually coach “Smart Football,” at least not by that site’s way of measuring.
Using an unbalanced line to get as many big bodies in front of Edwin Baker as possible isn’t just Smart Football, it’s smart football. Maybe Dantonio and his staff are too inexperienced in coaching it. Maybe they have a bunch of offensive linemen who were playing defense until recently and they’re having a hard time picking it up. Either way, I want MSU to keep using the unbalanced line, because when it clicks it’s going to be a powerful weapon.
5.) Do you hate Ohio State for costing us the Rose Bowl?
The Jim Tressel answer is no. But the truth is yes. The last time we played in a Rose Bowl was 1988. I was 8. Jim Tressel is one of Mark Dantonio's dearest friends. So dear in fact that Jim Tressel agreed to suspend his guys for the first five games of 2011 so that way he could to a BCS Bowl in 2010. This was of course based on the idea that he or Pryor would BE around this year.
I wrote the game preview a bit sheepishly yesterday, but I was driving home and I was thinking to myself this year's slogan is P4RB- Prepare for Rose Bowl, but the damnedable misery of it is that the slogan should be GB2RB- Go Back 2 Rose Bowl. When Dantonio came to town his first commit in the 2008 class was a young man named Charles Burrell. He told Charles that Charles would play in a Rose Bowl if he came to Michigan State. I remember specifically the mocking from various Wolverine sites on the matter. Dantonio held up his end of the bargain and Jim Tressel went out of his way to make sure that OSU got it's BCS spot.
We owe them an asskicking, whether we give it to them or not. So to answer your question, I don't hate Ohio State. I have some choice words about Jim Tressel though.
YES. Forget everything I said before. He is Der Sätanhitlër.
Final Prediction from yesterday stands: OSU 21 MSU 20. I want to believe, but I need to see first.
Oh you doubting Thomas. MSU 27 OSU 23. Last week, I correctly predicted a defensive score. This week, I see two second-half interceptions.