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Monday, July 16, 2012

Lots of Spartan award list chatter - It's results that matter - Don't let the ink get yer head fatter

While some say, "wake me up when the season starts", part of the fun is the anticipation and guess-work while the boys are working out of the spotlight to make themselves better. Joe Rexrode posted a summary of this year's nation award watch lists for college football. It sure looks encouraging for Big Green and I find the reader comments fascinating. I included a few of them for you. Is this really happening? Is MSU really becoming a sustained conference power? Is it already there?

Posted on Hey Joe!

Denicos — an easy name to remember
Posted on July 16, 2012 by Joe Rexrode

Greetings and salutations. Vacation is over. Olympics and football are coming. And “watch lists” are already upon us, combining with preseason mags to tease us until something actually happens on a football field. Two of the most significant awards — the Butkus and Lombardi — put out watch lists today, and Denicos Allen is on both of them.

So is Max Bullough, joining Allen on the Butkus (top linebacker) list and joining Allen, Will Gholston, Chris McDonald and Marcus Rush on the Lombardi (top lineman, offense or defense) list. It’s not as surprising to me that Bullough was named, simply because he has received more publicity and was the middle linebacker last season for one of the top defenses in the nation. Allen’s 2011 production as one of MSU’s surprise players (led team with 18 1/2 tackles for loss and 11 sacks) says he should get this kind of preseason recognition, but that isn’t always enough. Now he’s getting the attention — though he split on the top defensive player award, named by the Bednarik people but snubbed by the Nagurski people. He’s also likely to get more attention from opposing offensive coaches this season, a concern expressed a few weeks ago by Pat Narduzzi.

“You know, Greg Jones got a lot of sacks his junior year and then as a senior got two or three,” Narduzzi said. “People are gonna block (Allen), they’re gonna know where he is. The other people, they coach too. People have answers for your stuff, so you’ve got to counter with answers.
“People came up with a pretty good plan for how to block and protect against Greg Jones. He was a target. Now everybody on our defense will be a target when you have one of the best defenses in the conference. So now the target has to play extra, extra well. We’re the hunted. We’ve been hunting a lot and now people are coming after us.”

A lot of people are already praising them. Here’s the rest of the major award “watch list” rundown:

Maxwell Award (best player): Le’Veon Bell

Bednarik (defender): Allen, Bullough, Gholston, Johnny Adams

Nagurski (defender): Adams, Bullough, Gholston

Outland (interior lineman): Chris McDonald

Mackey Award (tight end): Dion Sims

Thorpe (defensive back): Adams, Isaiah Lewis

Groza (kicker): Dan Conroy

Bell also is a given for the Doak Walker list (running back), which will be unveiled Thursday. The Walter Camp list (best overall player) comes out Friday. MSU associate AD John Lewandowski said this is “by far” the most MSU players mentioned on these watch lists since he arrived in 1997. That’s not to say it’s the most in history (did they even do watch lists in the ’60s?), but it’s the most in recent memory for sure. For the record, MSU has won six of these awards in its history:

Outland — Ed Bagdon, 1949

Walter Camp –Don McAuliffe, 1952

Maxwell — Brad Van Pelt, 1972

Lombardi — Percy Snow, 1989

Butkus — Percy Snow, 1989

Biletnikoff — Charles Rogers, 2002

* Ticket update: MSU has sold out its student season tickets and has less than 100 singles remaining of its general public season tickets.

* Honored MSU players update: Arthur Ray Jr. will be honored by the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday at Comerica Park for winning the Discover Courage Award. Ray will be on the field during batting practice and will attend the game. Now let’s see if he can suspend his Chicago White Sox leanings for a night and root for the Tigers.

About Joe RexrodeMSU Sports Reporter for LSJ Media
View all posts by Joe Rexrode →

GoSt8Go says:
July 16, 2012 at 5:32 PM

What Denicos has going for him that Jones did NOT have is several other rush threats. Rush, Gholston, Denicos, Bullough, and Norman are guys on the field at the same time that cannot be dismissed. Then you have Darqueze and Adams that might just bang one off the corners. I like Denicos’ chances for matching his number from last year. I can see this getting really nasty for other team.

Spartan 81 says:
July 16, 2012 at 5:43 PM

You are exactly right , they can not key on anyone, Jones had little help.

MSUDersh says:
July 16, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Nice to have you back, Joe! Though your counterparts at LSJ filled in admirably. One interesting thing to me is, one starter on MSU’s D that I expect to have a big season, but isn’t getting any preseason award watch list love, is Darqueze Dennard. Which is kind of surprising to me, when you think about how productive he was last season when he wasn’t injured. Some of his biggest performances included:

* Two picks in the Outback Bowl – first one led directly to MSU’s first TD, and the second one he took in himself. He personally put our first 14 points on the board;
* 7 tackles, incl. 1 TFL, in the Big Ten Title game;
* 6 tackles at Nebraska.
* 6 tackles vs. Wisc., + a blocked FG
* 2 tackles & a PBU vs. U-M
* 4 tackles & a sweet INT vs. Ohio State.

Plus, he was honorable mention All-B1G last season. Not to mention that, as the starting Field CB opposite Johnny Adams, Dennard should get more looks, as opposing OCs will gameplan to keep the passing game away from Adams’s side of the field.

I expect that both he & Anthony Rashad White, who also isn’t getting in on the preseason award watch list love, to have monstrous campaigns.

'89 Chemistry says:
July 16, 2012 at 6:31 PM

Butkus & Lombardi watch lists by the numbers

If it seemed greedy of me to think Norman should’ve been on the Butkus list, consider Florida and Stanford. They have four{!} and three LBs on the list, respectively. Of course, they were BCS-Bowl teams last year, and State wasn’t. (Except for Florida. But they’ve got Spurrier–uh, I mean Urban! (….really??))

Penn State & MSU were the only B1G teams to have two Butkus listees.

The Lombardi list is vast due to the thirteen positions eligible for the award; that’s everyone except backs, wide receivers, kickers & punters. Like the Maxwell/Bednarik lists in tandem, I submit that they reflect the broad health of CFB teams–particularly in the trenches.

MSU had five of the B1G’s 22 Lombardi listees. Please think about that for a few seconds. Michigan, Penn State, Nebraska, Illinois? Two each. THE OHIO State University? Just three.

The complete list of teams with more Lombardi listees than the Buckeyes speaks for itself:

Alabama 6
Michigan State 5
North Carolina 4
Stanford 4
Texas 4
Wisconsin 4

To put a point on all this watch list stuff, it is all based on at least last years college play and the perceived improvement yet to come, unlike recruiting grades which is based on high school games against Avon Old Farms.

Spartan 81 says:
July 16, 2012 at 9:20 PM

Good point this is based on the game played at real speed against similar competition which the star fan boy system is not.

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