Michigan State 2009 review; 2010 early prediction The Enlightened Spartan: Michigan State 2009 review; 2010 early prediction

Monday, January 04, 2010

Michigan State 2009 review; 2010 early prediction

Final thoughts on 2009 Spartan Football

It was an average year in 2009-2010, and that is a disappointment. Michigan State let four games slip away in which they led in the fourth quarter (CMU, ND, Iowa, Alamo Bowl). That needs to improve, and experienced leadership can hopefully seal the deal late in games.

Defense: The biggest disappointment was the Spartan secondary, which has plenty of experience and played terrible all year long. One continues to be baffled by the poor secondary play on deep balls: they can't learn to turn around and knock passes away and are consistently out of position. Michigan State needs a better pass rush to help out its secondary, but these guys need to just play better and make plays. The defensive line must play better in key situations (third down) against spread offenses: Tyler Hoover, Colin Neely, Oren Wilson, Jerel Worthy, and Kevin Pickleman all return -- Trevor Anderson is the lone loss on the defensive line. MSU gave up a too-high 43% on third downs this year. The secondary just can't play any worse, and even marginal improvement (with help putting more pressure on the QB) might seal a win or two. Its defensive passing efficiency ranked 101st in the country, and its 5 regular season interceptions were the worst in the Big Ten. The defense only created 12 turnovers all year. That's awful - and points to a lack of playmaking ability. That must change for Michigan State to improve in the conference standings. LB Greg Jones will make a decision by January 15 to enter the NFL draft, and while MSU is deep at linebacker, Jones' departure would impact the Spartans' defensive success next year.

Offense: The ES was impressed with the offensive execution in the Alamo Bowl game pending all the absentees from the Rather Hall Brawl. It was nice to see OC Don Treadwell open up the playbook and use gadget play after gadget play -- successfully. We now know that Nichol can't catch, but he's a great athlete and can run well at QB. But, to see Keshawn Martin flying around on offense and consistently making great plays - he was a surprise this year and was the fastest player on the field in the bowl game. The running game improved throughout the year, and both Ed Baker and Larry Caper looked like a solid 1-2 tandem that will improve next year. Questions on the offensive line remain, but there is some experience there in 2010. The emergence of Blair White at WR was amazing - he turned out to be the best weapon for MSU all year long, and may have a nice career in the NFL (if not as a dentist). MSU can do a better job at using its tight ends, and with a very deep TE corps, the Spartans should excel at that position. Hopefully, with a year under the belt of Cousins and Nichol, and if the players can stay out of trouble... well, Michigan State has depth at all the skill positions, and with average play on the offensive line it should again be explosive.

Early prediction for 2010:

Michigan State has a non-conference slate of WMU, @ Florida Atlantic, NOTRE DAME, NO. COLORADO. That should be 4-0, no worse than 3-1.

In conference, MSU faces WISCONSIN, @ Michigan, ILLINOIS, at Northwestern, at Iowa, MINNESOTA, PURDUE, at Penn State. That should be 6-2, no worse than 4-4.

The Spartans should be anywhere from 10-2 to 7-5. ES says split it down the middle: 9-3.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:11 PM

    "explosive" isn't exactly the word i would use to describe the offense