Across The Web: Michigan State

Written September 30th, 2011 by MaliBuckeye
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As we get ready for conference play, we wanted to do something “special” for our weekly chat with an “enemy” blogger.  Given that we were playing co-champion Michigan State, and given the multiple connections that Spartan and Buckeye football have (coaches, players from the same high schools, hatred for all things scUM), it was even more imperative that we brought someone in that represented the Green and White with excellence.  And, if they continued to refer to themselves in third person, all the better.  So, we’re grateful to have The Enlightened Spartan swing by for nachos and chit-chat this week… be sure to check out Eric’s response to his inquisition, in the first (and most likely last) MSU PhD B1G Blog-off.

Kirk Cousins has obviously been a bright star for the team, and represented MSU particularly well at the B1G media days. Do you feel he’s reached the top of his game, or are there areas that he is still developing in?

Cousins has not reached the top of his game… but can he?  Yes, it is possible, he could be the best QB in the B1G, if not the country.  He has the talent, smarts, and confidence to be a la Tom Brady.  But, he seems to have difficulty consistently responding to difficult challenges.  He is showing how he can let the buzz get to his head.  While Cousins may have come from nowhere to be the Spartan starter, but he seems to be OVERconfident – Cousins throws off his back foot far too often, he still does, and he knows better.  With OSU pressure in his face, Cousins may likely give up an INT or two as much as he hits a streaking Cunningham or Nichol.  It’s a crap shoot with Cousins, but it shouldn’t be in senior year five.  Frustratingly fantastically just-short-of-championship potential – kind of like David Bowie or George Lopez.

What does Michigan State need to do to overcome the injuries to both tackles and the center on the offensive line? How long will these players be out?

Pray.  Treadwell, our starting center and just a natural talent, seems to be OUT.  But, OL Joel Foreman is back at LG and Micajah Reynolds has worked well at RT.  But, if OSU can get a push inside on the INTERIOR, they can get to Cousins and stuff the run. If it becomes one-dimensional passing against Buckeye secondary… the interior has been serviceable in pass-blocking.  Will it be enough against the Buckeyes?  Maybe. This will define who wins the game – if MSU OL can block the OSU DL ENOUGH to make plays… or, if they can’t.

If you can only choose one of these guys to “keep”, who is it and why?: Baker, Bell, Caper.

The Franchise

Baker is a ridiculous stud behind a banged up, mediocre, patch-work OL.  He is bigger, shiftier, faster, and stronger than Javon Ringer, behind a worse offensive line.  And Baker can catch.  Bell is MSU’s Lorenzo White reincarnated to today: big, strong, and people just bounce off him.  Caper may be the smartest back with the BEST hands, and he can take advantage of a screen pass blocking scheme better than about anyone in the nation.  But, if the ES had to keep one, it would be Baker.  He is amazing.

Do you feel that the loss of LB Greg Jones from last year’s team has hurt this defense significantly, or was MSU able to plug someone in that is doing a reasonable job of taking over his spot?

So far, MSU’s 2011 defense is better than in any year since the ES has been alive the past 43 years.  Interestingly, it is also ranked #1 in the nation.  Why is it so good?  The defensive line (Worthy, Pickleman, White, Strayhorn, Drone, etc.) is the most ferocious and by far the deepest for the Spartans since before the ES was born – too much talent, too deep to keep at bay. The defensive backfield, while deep and experienced, Trenton Robinson and Johnny Adams take risks but are GREAT tacklers.  The LB corps, while not as experienced as last year, is as talented as any for MSU in the last 20 years.  Max Bullough is all over the place with a very high motor left to right, Chris Norman hits hard north to south, and Denicos Allen just, just makes plays.

With Mark Dantonio notching the most wins in a season in MSU history last year (11), and having had the most successful season since 1999 under someone who’s name we won’t mention, do you think he is the answer at Head Coach for the football team?  Does he still have something to prove.

Leonidas? Nope, But He'll Do.

The Doctor? MD is the best answer we have.  He is trying to build a tradition of winning at MSU. When was the last time OSU had a losing season? Ummm… Thought so.  For us, the Spartan Nation will take what we can get, and he is doing GREAT considering our track record of mediocrity my entire life. It’s only taken 40 years to get some dude to provide consistency in wins and in how we play. There really is no alternative.  Seriously.

FYI – $aban $ucks.  We Spartans tend to learn lessons the hard way – while we refused to pay $aban, at least we saved some coin and pride.  $crew him.

What has been Michigan State’s reaction to the “new” Michigan? Are the Spartans respecting the rivalry more now, or just waiting for their inevitable October/November collapse like the rest of us?

“New Michigan? “ ES loves scUM, and is appreciative of the positive historical impact of Rich Rodriguez.  Still curious and questioning their change at coach with their prolific offensive philosophy.  Yet, with Bubby Brady taking the helm, the ES is confident with a continuation of the annual fall soufflé by keeping Denard Robinson in the kitchen.


Funny, 'Cause It's True

If the B1G gets bigger, who would you want to add?

Other than Notre Dame, it won’t happen.  Expansion is done. Period.  Drop the ES a line in another 20 years, if he’s still alive.

Nike has added gold to the Spartan uniform for their “Pro-Combat” look. What’s been the reaction of fans to this significant change?

Freaking sweet.  Read it, look at it, and weep.


  1. Joe DexterNo Gravatar
    September 30th, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    An MSU PHD Blog-Off? I want tickets to that gun show.


    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    September 30th, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    My money’s on the physicist…


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