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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.

@prock01.....that's a fair question.

Each time a Wolverine fan mentions history, I would argue that none of the current players, coaching staff or athletic director....etc-etc....were part of the 'history' vs today that are in question.

I wasn't alive when UM fans compare the 'history' of programs.......I don't even think the UM coaches are still alive when UM fans compare programs.

Michigan State has the exact same coach under my reference of 'history' vs today. Michigan State has returning players from the 2009 and 2010 season under my reference of 'history' vs today.

The 'irony'.......UM fans seem to enjoy arguing back and fourth about 'History' 50 years ago.....while Michigan State is doing the more interesting things like winning the most recent Bowl game(s).

I compared the 'History' of Michigan State vs Michigan State of 'Tomorrow'.

Michigan State vs UM......the reversal of expectations.......'History' is being made now.
MSUSpartan76 and MotownWalt like this.

Doesn't mich lose a ton of players on their OL?

If MSU cannot go 9-3 with that schedule, let's not talk about being an elite program. But, with the new playoff system, weak schedules could hurt teams. I see it Northwestern, Nebraska, then whoever wins MSU/UM in reality.

Josh Slagter |
On the surface, 7-5 feels like the basement, and that's counting for losses to every team with a pulse and one more throw in there for surprise. I guess that could happy with QB and RB questions, but I'd guess the over on 7 wins right now.
MSUSpartan76 and SpartyTime like this.
MSU is not an elite program. What's cool is that we have elite leadership (Simon - Hollis - Dantonio/Izzo) that puts us in position to brush with elite on occasion even when we don't recruit like the elite. It lets us know more is possible. For some programs the only direction to go is down. Both of our major sports still have plenty of growing room and it's fun when success is realized - AND the Spartans fan base truly appreciates it.
MSUSpartan76 likes this.

I'm curious if Dantonio's seat is getting warm? Probably not after this past season, but if the Spartans go 6-6 next year, will the the MSU faithful start calling for a new HC?

Not trying to start anything just asking an honest question. Dantonio has done things that no other Spartan HC has done, but he's also raised the bar and expectations. So if 2013 is another mediocre season, how many will be calling for a change?

Josh Slagter |
If Dantonio is able to finish off mediocre seasons with bowl wins, then he's got a lifetime contract at Michigan State if he wants it. Mix in an 10-win season or two every handful of years and the Spartans faithful will be pretty happy.
MotownWalt and SpartyTime like this.

That's not even being realistic. First, it's too hypothetical. I do not believe for a second that we will have another year in 2013 like we just had for the obvious reasons of who we have coming back. Also, MD has recruited some darn good players on a consistent basis now and the ones that 'only' had a couple of stars after their names have been coached up well too.

In the end, I believe MD will do what needs to be done during this offseason.
MSUSpartan76, MotownWalt and SpartyTime like this.

and why is that being unrealistic Keith? Does MSU have a proven QB, RB, or receivers? The defense should be solid again in 2013, but there are so many questions on the offense that I can't help but question your optimism.

I think there will maybe start to be some rumblings but I think he will be safe for a while. Like you said, Dantonio has done a lot for MSU football. Best winning percentage for a head coach since Clarence Munn who retired from coaching in 1953. That is better then Duffy Daugherty, Darryl, Rogers, George Perles, and Nick Saban when they were here. Dantonio has won 16 more games and been to twice as many bowl games then Saban had when he was at MSU and coached for only one more season then Saban. He is 17 wins, one B1G Championship, and one bowl game appearance away from matching Perles' totals who was at MSU for twice as long as Dantonio has been here.

The last time MSU went to back-to-back bowls before Dantonio was the 96 and 97 seasons. The last time they won back-to-back bowls was nearly a decade before that. Also, the longest bowl streak was 4 seasons in a row (87-90), which Dantonio has already surpassed and even a 6-6 season next year would mean he would have nearly doubled MSU's previous record.

The point is he is winning more games then some of the greatest coaches MSU has had, he is taking MSU to bowl games at an unprecedented rate, and now he is winning bowl games at a rate that has been rare for MSU too. Tough to say he is not doing the job that he was hired to do.

, MSUSpartan76, MotownWalt, DC1985, KeithKZ and 1 more like this.

But you miss two critical facts...

1) It has NEVER been easier for a team to make a bowl game than it is now. Ten years ago, a crummy 6-6 record wasn't good enough to go bowling, now it is. Combine that with two Big Ten teams being ineligible for bowls this season due to ethics issues, and that makes it even easier.

2) The Big Ten has NEVER been weaker then it currently is. Population shifts to the SE and West have gradually erroded the talent pool in the Midwest. The demand remains, but the supply is dwindling. Also, with more D-I programs in the SE and West, the days of Anthony Carter and Lorenzo White leaving for the North are become more and more unlikely.

That said, Dantonio has done a solid job at MSU, even with an outdated offense.
DC1985 likes this.

MD will only feel pressure to make staffing changes if we have another poor season! The Good news is that wont happen next year we will win 9 at the least with a ceiling of 11! We have alot of talent on this team and i do believe there will be a new QB in 2013 that can do things that Maxwell couldnt which will lead to better WR play and will make the Oline look better which they will actually be improved with Fou and Jackson back in the lineup. ATOWNANDDOWN you are on a roll with good factual info keep it coming!
and MSUSpartan76 like this.
Centralman - I have learned the code. "Big Ten is down" means "Michigan had a bad year". I have NEVER heard the Big ten is Down when Michigan and Ohio State determined the Rose Bowl. The Big Ten was really down in the 70s and 80s because all I hear is that there were only two "real" teams back then.
MSUSpartan76 likes this.


lovin'MSU has been calling for Dantonio to be fired since the first day on the job as HC.

Some fans will call for a coach to be fired for all sorts of rediculous or even valid reasons, but always very narrowminded.

The only times I would call for a Head Coach's dismissal is if (a) he committeed major violations of the code of (b) he elevated someone or something above the program.

Winning at any cost is not on my ballot.
crisprock01 likes this.

and I don't think he would be fired if 2013 ended up like 2012. I just wonder if there are Spartan fans out there that would expect more. Like I said he's done incredible things for the Spartans, and when you do that expectations become higher.

I look at it in a similar way to the Pistons from 03-08. Six consecutive trips to the conference finals with three different coaches (granted had Brown not seen greener grass, I don't think Flip would have ever been an option). Eventually you got to get over, and I wonder if despite Dantonio's success if fans would become impatient?... I wouldn't fire him.

just wanted to gauge the Spartan nation's opinion.

Not only OC but also receivers coach. It's got to be a top down "expectation and accountability" change. Fat paychecks have a way of making people conplacent unless there's the threat of losing it.
SpartyTime and KeithKZ like this.

Yeah I agree....all pre-season (and even during it) we heard of all this "talent" at the WR spot. Even though MD and Co. were up front about them not having a ton of experience, if these kids have so much talent then part of the responsibility of the WR coach is to 'discover' that talent and improve on it.
SpartyTime, SpartanGreen and Sprophet like this.

Isn't the WR coach and the OC kind of the chicken and the egg argument? If we had a better WR coach the OC would have looked better. If we had a better OC the WR coach would have looked better. Seems like either statement could be true.

I will say this, the WR coach looked bad on pass plays but the OC looked bad on all plays, particularly in the red zone. IMO Roushar's poor play calling left a lot of other position coaches out to dry. OLine coach looked bad but then again Roushar is calling 7 steps drop.
SpartyTime likes this.

That maybe true but it's not the OC's fault that our WR's hardly ever got seperation this season. Might not even be the WR's coach but it sure falls on him before the OC.
SpartyTime likes this.

I am not making an argument one way or the other but can't an OC call plays that create separation. Can't he call picks, misdirections, delayed routs, etc. Heck in the bowl game the announcers were practically banging on the wall trying to get Roushar to call a double move because TCU was jumping routs.

I still go back to the Mumphery TD in the OSU game. PA bootleg where Bell and the line are dragging the defense the opposite direction of Mumphery and Maxwell. A 5 yard rout goes for a big play because of misdirection. And how many times this year did we see anything else like that play call?

It just seems that if you are running slants, crossing routs, outs, and straight flies over and over and over again, a defender will have a pretty easy time covering a WR because he basically knows where he is going. Heck, we rarely saw Roushar take advantage of mismatches like he did against TCU when they go stuck with a LB on AB. But then again, does that fall on Warner for not being a good QB coach?
SpartyTime likes this.

Yeah I understand your point.

Your first're right about the announcers.

The Mumphrey TD....totally agree as well...that play happened right in front of where my wife and I sit....would have been nice to see more play calls like that.

Bottom line...something needs to change drastically on offense for next season.
SpartyTime likes this.

I will second that Keith. Something has to change because the issues we saw this year are not just going to go away.

Also, that was not the first game that the announcers were questioning why MSU didn't call any double moves because DB's were jumping routs. I think defenders automatically assumed that Lippett was running a slant rout every time he was on the field.
SpartyTime and KeithKZ like this.

Josh Slagter |
And then it's a matter of how much the QB play affects the OC and the WR and the WR coach. It all works in tandem. All need to better in 2013. In reality, there's not many areas to be worse.
MSUSpartan76 and SpartyTime like this.

Offensively we were as poor as ive ever seen an MSU team. Ive had season tickets for a long time and it was disgusting that based on formations and personel i pretty much knew what couple of plays we could or would run so im pretty sure all the other teams DC knew as well. We have a major OC problem that MD has to address or 2013 wont be much different. I also think the WR and Oline coaching need to be looked at closely. ATOWNANDDOWN you are spot on with you first post we need to be way more creative on offense! We have very good talented players on this team but the coaching has to be there. MD will get this right!
MotownWalt, SpartyTime and KeithKZ like this.

As I think about it, the position coaches and the personnel can improve but I think this falls on the OC. I watched the U of M game and there is one play in particular that stands out to me. They ran like two different fakes (faked the handoff and then the QB run) only to throw back away from the fake to a TE screen. The SC LB was able to bring Funchess down for a short game but that play looked to be the exact opposite of anything we ran all year.

I almost think that Dantonio brought Cook in because it forced Roushar to change the plays being called. You go back and look at the plays that worked and then we never saw them again and its mind boggling. The CMU game we ran Sims on the wheel rout with the outside WR dragging the coverage to the inside. Caper's TD vs. Indiana. Mumphery's OSU TD. They were all one and done plays but they seem to make everyone look great. Doesn't that fall on Roushar?
KeithKZ likes this.

Big Ten schedule is so dumb. There is no way any team should be able to skip Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin in one season. (and this goes for any team... not just bashing Sparty, they have no control over who they play)

Its going to be worse when Rutgers and Maryland join the mix. There will be more teams that get to skip the tough teams in the opposing division.

What this article does not point out is that while MSU gets to skip OSU, PSU, and Wisconsin on the schedule, they are not going to be able to skip them in the B1G Championship Game. It is very likely that IF MSU makes it to Indy they will face a very good OSU team.

So even though the schedule might look favorable, MSU still has to win the games in front of them and is going to have to win a few big games.
MotownWalt and KeithKZ like this.

Josh Slagter |
C'mon, do you really think Ohio State, Wisconsin or Penn State is going to make it to Indianapolis? 
MSUSpartan76 likes this.

I've been saying this since before the start of the 2012 season. At the VERY least MSU should be in Indy for the B1G Champ Game at that is very realistic.

Nice seeing that tweet from MD. Hopefully the fire is in his belly to make some necessary changes at the OC position as well.  I really believe that after this 2012 season he is well aware of all the complaints from fans about that and the QB issues and will at least open the gates up for competition at the latter.
MSUSpartan76 likes this.

Can you elaborate Keith? If Bell leaves, and let's say just Gholston leaves on the D, how do you see a trip to Indy as the "VERY least" that MSU can do next year?

Bell accounts for the majority of the MSU offense, and Gholston may be your top defender (maybe Bullough, depends on how you grade), but what about that makes you so confident?

In my "way too early predictions," I see losses to ND and Nebraska, leaning to a loss with NW, and giving toss ups to Michigan and on the road at Iowa. Two conference losses may get you to Indy, but three is probably a long shot, and there's no way a team goes with four (exception being Wisconsin this year with all the sanctions to the Leaders).

Who's returning that has you so high on this team?

Same kind of argument was made when Ringer left...

Absolutely loved the timing of that hit.....we went from the worst officiating call of the season (giving mich a 1st down when anyone watching that game could see they were short), to one of their players getting WAXED and also coughing up the ball. Talk about justice. Then, to top it off, all of the mich fans had their hearts carved out of their chest when S.C. completed that last TD with only 11 seconds remaing....BUA WA WA!!!!!

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