Spartan Defense Blossoms, Learning Lessons Are Over. Dantonio Press Conference The Enlightened Spartan: Spartan Defense Blossoms, Learning Lessons Are Over. Dantonio Press Conference

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Spartan Defense Blossoms, Learning Lessons Are Over. Dantonio Press Conference

ES had dinner with former MSU President John DiBiaggio the other night - he was at the Iowa game and he and I agreed on one thing: that was an excellent football game on Saturday, but "we should've won, dammit!"

First let the ES lay the criticism: Why DC Pat Narduzzi has to feel like he needs to scrap what is working for him all game long and go to a prevent defense on the last drive of the game is puzzling. Why Narduzzi couldn't keep after Iowa earlier in the drive is questionable (it didn't work) and unfortunate -- because the Spartans had bottled him up all game long. MSU jettisoned its game plan with the lead. Tisk, tisk. On the last series with 15 second left and from the 12 yard line and in, the Spartans sent eight defenders at Stanzi for four straight plays, and it worked for three of them, but unfortunately not the last play. The change in strategy was maddening, and yet another lesson learned.

But, enough negatives. Michigan State has a DAMN FINE football team. They're better than last year's team, although it is tough to tell at 4-4. It is a better team. Michigan State is three plays away from being 7-1 and in the Top 10 itself. It played even, or better, than Iowa, Notre Dame, and CMU. All three losses on the last play of the game.

I loved how Mark Dantonio handled the media after the game. He seems focused and determined. Best presser he has had since being a coach. Today's is scheduled for 11:30 am (watch live)

The defense is VASTLY improving, game by game. The Michigan State defense we saw on Saturday was dominant, and it was the best defensive performance in a decade by the Spartans. It was a slugfest, a bear-knuckles-brawl. We laid two Hawkeys out on a stretcher. They left with a W, but battered and bloodied. The defensive secondary played its best game since the glory days of George Perles -- you'd have thought Harlan Barnett dropped his earphones and climbed back onto the field. Excellent secondary play all game long. The pressure was in Stanzi's face all game long.

Jerel Worthy (photo above -- 4 tackles, 2 for loss) played his finest game as a Spartan. He dominated Iowa's interior and the Hawkeye's did not have an answer. Greg Jones was DOMINANT (12 tackles), once again all over the field. He should be a First Team All America. He is easily the best linebacker wearing Green and White since No Mercy Percy Snow.

Michigan State's offense left too many points on the field, again. But, this against an undefeated, #5/#6 team in the nation. Down to one final play. Yes it hurt, but now Michigan State MUST WIN OUT the remainder of its games. A victory at home over JoePa would seal the deal and get the Spartans closer to a "signature win" under Dantonio than its had to date. It would be nice to get a warm bowl game, play a hardy opponent, and get that W to put the Spartans firmly on the map.

These Spartans are focused and playing hard. They just need to finish. My guess is they will for the remainder of the season, and be rewarded with warm weather. It's time to take the next step. Learning lessons are over. We've learned them all. Now it is time to win.

Spartan Nation, what is your profession? WHOOOP, WHOOOP, WHOOOP!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3:51 PM

    The defensive lineman need to have it drilled into their heads not to be offsides in key drive, third and fourth and long plays by their opponents. The risk is just not worth the gain boys. It potentially cost us the Iowa game, (at their 20, on their go-ahead field goal drive) and did cost us the CMU game. Until this is coached, hard, and learned, State stands to lose all of the close games.