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Friday, January 25, 2013

FOOTBALL (plus video): The State of "State"

The Only Colors posted a very good 2012 review and look at 2013 HERE. I encourage the read - It's not really what you will see in mainstream media...

The post includes some really thoughtful reader comments like this one...

I kind of think this needs to be the year we go to Pasadena
Looking around the conference, Hoke’s uber-recruits are still too young to dominate, Urbz has to replace his entire defensive line (and HIS excellent recruits aren’t fully up to speed either), Wisconsin has a new coaching staff and loses Ball and Taylor, Penn State’s still in a black hole, Nebraska loses 7 or 8 starters off an already-bad defense…Northwestern is the only team that returns as much as we do, and watching that game last season, we honestly should have creamed them.

We, meanwhile, have a large and talented group of seniors. If we can’t get it done in 2013, we’ll be looking at Michigan and OSU’s excellent coaching staffs fielding rosters full of ace recruits, and we’ll be doing it without:

MLB Max Bullough (3-year starter)
OLB Denicos Allen (3-year starter)
SS Isaiah Lewis (3-year starter)
CB Darqueze Dennard (3 1/2 year starter)
OT Fou Fonoti (2-ish year starter)
OT Dan France (3-year starter)
OG Blake Treadwell (2-ish year starter)
QB Andrew Maxwell (who I assume, for better or worse, returns as a 2-year starter)
DT Micajah Reynolds
DT Tyler Hoover
OLB Kyler Elsworth
WR Bennie Fowler

That…is a lot of impact players and experienced contributors. I also assume no juniors opt to leave early for the draft, because right now I think Taiwan Jones is the only underclassman likely to have a big enough season and the physical tools to consider going, and with only one year as a starter it seems like a long shot. Maybe, MAYBE Drummond could go, but safety is not a highly valued position in the NFL.

I know plenty of us will be happy to see some of these guys go, but if last season taught us anything, it should be the high value of on-field experience. That’s an awful lot of vacated spots on the field. We have enough talent, especially in the defensive back seven, that I think we can find capable replacements. But I also think we were truly fortunate to get the immediate production we did out of Bullough, Allen, Lewis and Dennard, and we shouldn’t count on the next group of guys being as ready- especially if Narduzzi finally gets the head coaching shot he deserves.

In sum: We have a large and talented senior class, and the two name brand programs in the conference are probably going to get much, much better in the next couple years. This is our last best chance to bite roses for the near future. We really, really need to take it.

Proud custodians of the Old Brass Spittoon. Sit tight Paul, we'll rescue you.
by Green Akers on Jan 25, 2013 8:53 AM CST 

...As well as some good video:

And great Darqueze Dennard Highlights:

Farewell to Conrad:

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Thursday, January 10, 2013

VIDEO: Ann Arbor Football Player Can't Find Helmet...

An Ann Arbor football player lost his helmet and Uncle Louie is helping him find it with this newspaper ad in South Carolina. If you get this post via e mail, you will need to come to the site to see the embedded video.

Missing Michigan Helmet Newspaper Advertisement Jadeveon Clowney

Here is the last place he saw it.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Maxwell Shows Winner's Character. Can He Win On the Field?

You can dislike Maxwell's play in 2012, however he has handled the adversity with class. Check out this Free Press short story as an example.

There were a lot of cards stacked in that deck against him this year. He appears to take responsibility, not make excuses and there is evidence that he is truly a team guy displaying a high level of character. I think there are plenty of "good" quarterbacks who would have had a "bad year" had they been the Spartans' signal caller in 2012 - and not handled it with the honor that Maxwell displayed. Now, if only he could translate to winning on the field. May the best QB win the spot...

I am not "rooting" for or against Maxwell in spring practice or the summer "open competition".  I just want the player who gives MSU the best chance to win to be the guy. We will see if Spartan fans think they can assess the better QB from their living room and i-pads better than PROFESSIONAL coaches can tell from the practice field. I'll put my chips on what the coaches decide. Does that mean the coaches always make the correct decisions? - no. It just means it's the best place to lay your chips.

Here is the post:

Spartans QB Andrew Maxwell discusses past, future and whether he throws too hard

Posted by James Jahnke
Detroit Free Press Sports Writer

Michigan State quarterback Andrew Maxwell spoke a few days ago with the Midland Daily News, his hometown newspaper.

Maxwell, of course, started every game for MSU this season but was pulled a couple of times during the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, in favor of Connor Cook.

Here are some highlights of what Maxwell told the Daily News:

• “If you’re a competitor, you want to be in the game. From a competitive standpoint, it was disappointing. But more than anything, I want to be a team player, and I want to do what’s best for the team. The best thing was for me to be as supportive as I could. That meant encouraging Connor and helping him out any way I could. The team comes first. That takes precedence over any personal goals you want to set for yourself.”

Click here for the rest of the interview and story.

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Friday, January 4, 2013

"What do we do now?" - Michigan State and "Ann Arbor" fans debate Spartans future here...

The following "discussion" took place on M-Live after Mike Slagter's post, Re: Rose Bowl or 'failure' for Michigan State in 2013? The schedule's manageable, despite roster questions

{Just to make a point, we discussed this 2013 team over year ago right here. Look under "you heard it here first" and the supporting information.}

I have noticed University of Ann Arbor fans find articles published about the Spartans of particular interest. I have removed the super annoying, non-conversational comments from the chUMp types, but left in others if they stimulated thoughtful responses from Spartan followers.

I have placed comments by this blog's favorite comment author, ATownAndDown in bold as well as those by Return2Glory (as on M-Live)

Take note of the list of "wins" the University of Ann Arbor claims as part of their historical total figure - it includes two high school teams (maybe a third as I think a "normal school" was a high school back in the days of the covered wagon). The list is in the fourth BEATchUMps comment below.

Re: Rose Bowl or 'failure' for Michigan State in 2013? The schedule's manageable, despite roster questions

Here is a breakdown of points scored for the Spartans since 2009 when we went 6-7.

2009: 44, 27, 30, 30, 26, 24, 24, 13, 34, 49, 40, 14, 31 = 386 MSU Points (12 games)
2010: 38, 30, 34, 45, 34, 34, 26, 35, 6, 31, 25, 28, 7 = 373 MSU Points (13 games)
2011: 28, 44, 13, 45, 10, 28, 37, 3, 31, 37, 55, 31, 39, 33 = 434 MSU Points (14 games because of B1G Championship)
2012: 17, 41, 3, 23, 16, 31, 16, 10, 16, 24, 20, 26, 17 = 260 MSU Points (13 games)

The 6-7 2009 MSU Team scored 126 more points than the 2012 version led by Andrew Maxwell and Co. In Cousins Senior year (even if you take out the B1G Championship in which they went off for 39 points against Wisconsin), the Maxwell team still scored 135 fewer points. Do you really think that we are going to see that much improvement? Cousins led MSU to 13 FEWER points in his second season as a starter.

172 of MSU's 260 points were scored by Dan Conroy and Le'Veon Bell.
Bell = 78, Conroy = 94

The year the Spartans went 6-6, Kirk Cousins completed 60% of his passes with 19 TD's. In addition, we returned all the following offensive playmakers: Le'Veon Bell, Edwin Baker, Mark Dell, Keyshawn Martin, and B.J. Cunningham, Keith Nichol, Brian Linthicum, and Dion Sims (And Benny Fowler and Andrew Maxwell...who weren't good enough to play).

Now we return Fowler, Maxwell, Nick Hill, Deanthony Arnett, Andre Sims Jr., Aaron Burbridge, and Nick Tompkins.

Unknowns like McGarrett Kings and Monty Madaris are the only thing that provides me hope, simply because they didn't perform terribly like the rest of the skill players this year.
In reply to your pessimistic side below... MSU loses one senior, Bell and Sims (who as great as he was, did not contribute all that much). All other players are back and adding in medical red-shirts and redshirt freshman, the offense will be far better regardless who is QB ( ). The Defense loses two seniors and Gholston and adds a bunch of talent. It will be better if for no other reason than the offense can't be worse than 2012 at 3 and outs and field position - but beyond that, the defense will be loaded. 2013 will be fine. 2012 was the aberration, not the norm.
MotownWalt, MSUSpartan76 and SpartyTime like this.

Why will the offense be better Chump? You say the offense can't be worse but I would argue you just lost your best receiver (TE) in Sims, and your biggest offensive weapon in Bell. Who's the QB of 2013?

I'm just curious how you came to the conclusion that the 2013 Spartan offense will be better then the 2012?

Ok, I read the article and it's an interesting idea. I still have some questions though.

When you say, "We have more help on the way," who are you talking about?

Don't you think that Andrew Maxwell has lost the respect of his teammates? He is always the first one on the sidelines after a failed third down, like when he had a third and 6 from the opposing 40-yard line in the Northwestern game and he scampered behind the bench before the coaches even had a chance to go for it. Or when Le'Veon Bell had to snap the ball and try to clock the ball for a last second field goal at homecoming? Isn't Andrew Maxwell a contaminant to the ecosystem of our offense because he lacks a winning edge or leadership qualities?

And who is going to run the ball to manage the clock? Won't our great defense be huffing and puffing all game because we can't move the chains with a decent running game?

SpartyTime likes this.
We were totally and completely unable to manage the clock THIS year. That is how we gave the ball back to the opponent in their final possession to win the game at lease twice - including chUMps. We went 3 and out when everyone knew we were going to run the ball. My point is that with a healthy and more experienced line and either a QB with 1-year more experience or one that out performs that QB with all returning receivers and the threat of a short passing game (which we did NOT have in 2012), it is likely those same games won't come down to that last possession (at least not so many) or MSU may actually succeed for often in that situation due to reduced predictability. MSU will be better. It's just a question of how much better.
MotownWalt and MSUSpartan76 like this.

That seems like a lot of 'ifs' to seem so confident Chump.
You expect a junior dominated team that was injury challenged and fielded 3 senior starters to be better the following year. It's very simple. They should be better in 2013. Now MSU loses 6 starters in all, not 3 - and they will be a senior dominated team in 2013. It still adds up to being better. I don't see that as a lot of "ifs". Break it down by playing group... QB - A second year Maxwell should be better than a 1st year Maxwell especially with every receiver back. If another QB beats him out - that is also an improvement. OLine, receiver, LBs, - go down the list most of them you would expect to be better based on who is coming back. It's no stretch. Depth will entering 2012 was a positive and will also be even better in 2013.

MSUSpartan76 likes this.

So the only reason you think the Spartans should be better in 2013 is because they should be? You sound like the very Wolverine fans that Spartans have been complaining about for years. "We're good because we're supposed to be."

Nevermind that the receivers dropped way too many balls and couldn't get seperation, nevermind that Maxwell had a disastrous 2012, nevermind that Cook, Connor and the new freshman are unproven commodities, nevermind that the Spartans lost over 50% of their offense with the departure of Bell and Sims... The Spartans will be better because Chump says "They should be."

And somehow Michigan fans are called the arrogant idiot fan base?

I am glad that MSU will have a true competition for the QB spot this fall. Maxwell is a great young man, but he had a season to win games, and he was only marginally successful at best. Connor Cook earned a shot a this position based on the bowl game, and there are at least two other players who will also be in the mix.

2013 looks like it will be a great bounce-back season for MSU . Go Green!
MSUSpartan76, SpartyTime and MotownWalt like this.

Yeah, the schedule looks good and everything but think about this: Every team that we play is looking at Michigan State on the schedule and saying, "Well there's a W."

No LeVeon Bell and squishy loser Andrew Maxwell at QB, means we aren't going to score 10 touchdowns all season. This sucks.

Life is what you make of it. If you believe it sucks, it probably does.
MSUSpartan76 and MotownWalt like this.

I am not talking about life. I am talking about Spartan football. You confused the premise of my statement about football with all of life.

Spartan football is looking pretty bleak because we have no playmakers on offense and I don't know how we are going to keep our defense off the field without Le'Veon Bell. We ranked #104 this year in yards per play and #93 in yards per game.

Le'Veon Bell ran for 1,793 yards and 12 touchdowns (13 TD's including 1 receiving TD). Andrew Maxwell only completed 52.5% of his passes with 13 TD's and 9 INT's.

Michigan State football just lost half of its touchdowns without a decent replacement at RB. So, yeah, this sucks.
SpartyTime likes this.

You are talking about's the perception you are projecting to others around you. Your attitude and how you carry yourself is everything.

Personally, I choose to step back and enjoy what we just accomplished.

Personally, I choose to step back and see all the good things Michigan State did.

Life is simply to short.

My apologizes in advance if you feel like I'm attacking you.....honestly I didn't intend to.
MSUSpartan76 likes this.

Right on, SpartyTime. Right on!

The loss to Nebraska in 2012 was the direct result of an officiating fiasco, but beating the Cornhuskers in Lincoln is a mighty difficult proposition. The Spartans' quarterback position needs to be appreciably better this fall if Rose Bowl dreams are to be realized. The season should be a successful one, but don't lose sight of the fact that Ohio State just might be on the schedule (in Indianapolis).
MSUSpartan76, MotownWalt and SpartyTime like this.

I am OK with that scenario. Remember, OSU beat MSU by just one point in 2012 - 17-16 ... and then only because the officials incorrectly whistled dead a MSU fourth-quarter Braxton Miller fumble return for a TD.

Bring on the Buckeyes in Indy!
 and SpartyTime like this.

Many things are in favor for Michigan State next year.....a) history and b) schedule.

History: In 2009 we ended the regular season 6-6 (much like this year) and followed it up by going 11-1.

Schedule: I think the key getting to the Rose Bowl will be 2 of the last 3 games....@Nebraska and @Northwestern.

MSUSpartan76 and MotownWalt like this.

Forgive me Time, but reason 'a' is a little ironic to say the least. Everytime a Wolverine fan mentions history, Spartans are the first to say how it's irrelevant, so why is it all the sudden relevant?

To clarify for you, Spartan fans take note of your wins and can appreciate them but seriously anything before 1950 is really out dated. I would bet the majority of the posters on here weren`t breathing in 1965 let alone paying attention to football pre 1950. The pre 1900 stuff is really suspect, come on now you count the victory against Ann Arbor High School( now Pioneer), but have to give you credit you did beat the high schoolers 62-0. One of um`s seasons was a 5 game seasonas I recall.

MSU entered the BIG in 1951 I think and its run through the 50`s and 60`s was pretty damn good.Allowing for coaching disasters like John L, Bobby Williams, Muddy Waters it hasn`t done too poorly given the fact that um hit a home run with Bo`s hire and they did the right thing by continuing with Moeller and Carr. MSU looks to do the same with Dantonio and Narduzzi, heck one can argue that Brandon m looked at MSU`s hire of Dantonio and looked for an Ohio born coach to attempt to reestablish the um brand.
MotownWalt and SpartyTime like this.

Nice deflection, but you didn't answer the question.

Not a deflection at all, I acknowledged that history counts for something but apparently the truth hurts. Some of the um victories were before my great grandfather took a breath. Existing in present day time and space is rec`d. 
The answer was as Sparty Time pointed out, MSU went 6-6( if I am not mistaken that was with a new qb) and then followed with a big season, ergo history of a recent nature counts.
MotownWalt and SpartyTime like this.
Crispy - Because the wins listed below in days of the covered wagon are not relevant. What SpartyTime mentioned is relevant to today's MSU team in terms of looking to next next year. It was not a view of history to look down her nose at others or artificially raise her own self worth as so many chUMps attempt to do.
Here are just some of those wins you somehow count in "history" before football was football (note two high school teams and lacrosse CLUBS).
Toronto Lacrosse Club
Detroit Independents
Stevens Institute
Chicago Harvard School
Detroit Athletic Club
Chicago University Club
Ann Arbor High School - YES THE HIGH SCHOOL - They count this (check 1891 schedule)
Cleveland Athletic Club
Michigan Athletic Association (huh?)
Michigan Military Academy
Western Reserve
Rush Lake Forest
Michigan State Normal School
Grand Rapids High School (YES, THAT SAYS HIGH SCHOOL)
Physicians and Surgeons, Chicago, Illinois
Ohio Wesleyan
Case Scientific School

SpartyTime likes this.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Reading into Bell, Sims and Gholston looming decisions and impact, here...

I consider ATownAndDown the best reader comment poster on M-Live. The M-Live story on which he comments is linked below. Some of the comments are responses to other reader comments others are directly responding to the M-Live story. All add depth to the current topics surrounding the Spartans. For context, you may want the check out the stories that interest you most and other reader comments to which A-Town refers...

Re: William Gholston: Infant son a factor in decision on whether to leave Michigan State for NFL
First of all lets create a hypothetical where Gholston somehow goes at the end of the 2nd round. Vinny Curry was selected there and signed a 4 year/$3.230,000 contract. Now you are assuming that Gholston is going to be smart with his money and live fiscally responsible despite the fact that the statistics show that will likely be untrue. But let's assume that you are right for this.

That would mean that if Gholston lives for another 60 years or so, he will be supporting his family with $50,000 per year. That is about the median family income right now. Now you have to factor in that the median family is in a much lower tax bracket because they receive that income annually and not all between age 22-25. So Gholston will actually have to live below what the median family brings home. Then on top of that you have to factor in inflation. $50,000 a year in 20 years is not going to be the same as it is today.

Do you really think that Gholston can be fiscally responsible in order to live a life that is well below the average American's life style? Or do you think that it might be a good idea to have a degree after he is done?

I don't know. Maybe we should ask Andre Rison.

Re: Michigan State football still in mix for RB/WR Tyler Boyd; four-star recruit plans to visit next week
Because that is what players decide to go to school on... the guys that are going to be there when they are a true freshman. Duh.
SpartyTime likes this.

Re: Michigan State football still in mix for RB/WR Tyler Boyd; four-star recruit plans to visit next week
Very true but if that is the case then why not just make the decision and skip the hype-fest that these "all-star" games come with. Its one thing to say those things and its dive head first into the belly of the hype machine.

I mean the kid says that he is tired of all the hype but he is basically prefacing his decision with the notation that its not really his finally decision. "I am going to decide now so the hype will stop but Mr. Reporter its not really my decision." That would be like Dantonio telling Josh "We are going to run the same offense next year but we will adjust after the seniors and others leave."
SpartyTime likes this.

Re: Michigan State football still in mix for RB/WR Tyler Boyd; four-star recruit plans to visit next week
Guy is from Lawrenceville, GA... the same spot as Chris Allen was from.

Re: Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio's messages for Le'Veon Bell, William Gholston and Dion Sims
Don't be silly. First the defense is too strong and the "loss" of Gholston will be nothing more then asking the next guy to fill in. Don't forget the game which Gholston might have put himself back on the draft map, his likely replacement for next year had 2 TFL, a sack and a QB hurry... as a back up.

Sims was a crutch early in the season but non-factor in 7 of the 13 games for MSU because of injury or just being out of the flow of the game. So while he could be a huge weapon for MSU next year, its not like this years offense revolved around him.

Bell would be a big loss but with the returning weapons in addition to those that will be added to the mix (Madaris specifically) you will see a much improved passing game. Also, IF Bell leaves the backs that replace him might not have the same consistency but they will be more of a threat to go the distance as they should all have more break away speed then him.

Overall you need to remember, Bell wasn't the one that kept MSU in the running to win every game except the ND game. That was accomplished by the defense. The defense will still be great in 2013. The offense can't get much worse then it was this year. (Roushar leaving would be helpful to next year regardless of any of the players decisions)
SpartanGreen, KeithKZ and SpartyTime like this.