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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Mickey Mouse & Michigan State football?

This is a short blog post today because I want to solicit some good dicussion.

After week two and MSU hung 41 points on a well-dressed CMU team, I was laughed out of many conversations when I bold stated “Michigan State is not a Top Ten team.” I felt that certain squads (namely defense) on our team could statistically be considered top ten worthy, but not the team.

Fast forward five weeks as Michigan State (4-2 1-1) is plays Iowa, typically a winnable game, but this has not been a typical season.

We’ve seen some dominating offensive performances. Le’Veon Bell has proven his workhorse capability to “carry” this team (ok bad pun). Receivers are starting to really come into their own, better routes, catching the football and excellent YAC (Yards-After-Catch). We’ve also seen some tenacious defensive showcases. This defense has the skill-level and the ability shut down even the most explosive of offenses. We’ve even seen Dan Conroy hit six FGs 44 yards or longer, three of those coming 50+ yards.

But if you’ve seen any significant amount of MSU football, you know that each one of these squads has been exposed at least once or twice. 

Bell has two games with 200+ rushing yards, but three games with 77 yards or less (admittedly, much of that onus falls on the offensive line)
MSU receivers… well, I think you know the story their so I won’t rehash their three-game stretch of 18 dropped passes.
Spartan defense despite averaging 180 yards in passing and just 87 yards in rushing has been burned…a few times... badly. The blame goes beyond just any one player. #JohnnyAdams
Dan Conroy, despite the long FGs is just 6 of 11 in kicks between 30-49 yards.

So where does Mickey Mouse come in? Remember Saturday mornings watching cartoons- before College Gameday? Recall the Mickey Mouse cartoons where Mickey goes fishing. Invariably, Mickey runs into trouble when the fish puts a hole in the boat, which Mickey fixes with a piece of gum. Then, there is leak which Mickey plugs with his finger, followed by another one, plugged by Mickey’s toe, followed by two more leaks in the boat plugged Mickey’s other remaining toe and finger. You know how the rest of the story goes, that by the time the fifth hole is plugged, Mickey notices the piece of gum has been expanding the entire time, filling with water. It pops and the boat is filled with water and sinks.

Don’t worry there’s an MSU connection. Each of the Mickey’s (I mean MSU’s) holes in the boat have come during different games. For example, last week we plugged one hole, with a solid passing (and especially receiving) game, and yet our defense gives up nearly 300 passing yards and 27 first half points to Indiana. 

My question to MSU fans is simple:
Despite Michigan State plugging a boat hole in one of its squads, only to find a hole another place, what is going to take for MSU put together a complete (leak-free) game without any holes in the boat?

Go Green!
Dan Stepanian-Bennett

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  1. Dan, I must say at this point that I'm starting to like your posts. Not so much candy-coating and kool-aid drinking as we may get at times from some others. (That said, not fond of linking the name "Mickey Mouse" with the term "Michigan State Football" in the headline.)

    I guess we'll find out in the next few weeks just how bad the conference is this year. If our opponents are bad enough, we can still win 4-5 more games. If not, we can accept the "down season" and get ready for basketball.

    BTW: I like Bell, but I hate the way he's being overused. We should have more than one running back. I root for us to not give Bell the ball for as long as possible, hopefully up to 20 plays in a row. If we can do that, he will benefit from some degree of surprise factor that he has never had this season.

  2. My apologies to those who receive post comments in email. A spam message was posted and sent. The system did catch it as spam and blocked the post, but not before the post comment was sent in email.

  3. Bell entered the game 3rd or 4th in the nation in carries. I believe first year players improve the most throughout the course of the season. This coaching staff has shown the ability to adapt through a single season and from season to season. I believe MSU will end the season far better than they started it. The question then becomes, "Can the Spartans win games in the middle?" Today is one of those games. Beating chUMps is crucial. These have become nearly "must win" games - ugly or not. Oh - that Maxwell guy? Those three interceptions in the first half of the first game (two off the receiver's hands)? ZERO interceptions since then. I think 2012 ends up simply OK - a little disappointing compared the dream season some of us hoped for. As for the program? I feel it is still moving forward and continuing to build - wins accelerate the process, but a loss does not cause a crash. We see all of the holes in our own boat. It's harder to see the holes in that other boat sailing by - but they've got 'em.

  4. Oh, did I mention that we have a GOOD defense NOT A GREAT DEFENSE!! This unit is pretty good, but in no way "dominant". Without one of those areas on the team that can dominate, the season is an ongoing struggle.

    Not Maxwell's fault, but he's not "dominant". Neither is the O-Line or any other part of the team.

    As for our coaches, they have certainly put us in a position to lose heading into overtime.

  5. You have to admit, it's hard to find anything particularly "good" to say about our MSU football team. For the sake of discussion, it appears as if the Dantonio Era just ended, yet we have to wait it out the next few years as folks inside MSU will be very loyal to him.


    How did our Coaches help us today or at any time this season?
    How can we recruit great players to this program at this time?
    If we don't get better players, how can we get better teams?
    Without better teams, how can the program avoid a major backslide?
    Does anybody think we can finish better than 5-7?
    If so, does anybody think we can finish better than 7-5?
    Would anybody like to buy my tickets...and by "anybody", I don't mean just those who are reading this post...I mean anybody in the world?

    You couldn't pay me to attend the game next week in the Pig House. You could give me seats at the 50 and 500 dollars and I wouldn't go. I think it would take at least $1000 plus free parking and great seats. They will surely run it up on us as much as they can.

  6. Anonymous, The Dantonio era just ended? Seriously? How do you define ended? What does that mean? Does that mean that 2011 was the peak year and now MSU will operate under that level for the remainder of his time in East Lansing? Does it mean no more Big Ten Championship games? How do you define it? The coaches, players and team are definitely doing a poor job relative to expectation this year - so far. No question about that. As for getting better players, did you you know that the 2013 roster will have better players and more experienced players than the 2011 roster? We'll see how it works out over the next 14 months, but if you react to all adversity in this way I'm not sure I'd want you to lead a group of which I am a part. Criticism pointed toward many aspects of the program is deserved and should be expected. The sky is falling reaction, however, may cloud otherwise accurate and deserved complaints. I think there is evidence that Dantonio can follow up a disappointing season (2009) with a good one(s) (2010, 2011). Let's see just how bad 2012 really is (and it get worse -- or not) and see what they do with a senior dominated team in 2013...

  7. I am glad you take pride in what you write. This makes you stand way out from many other writers that push poorly written content.
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