Offense looks for answers, changes

Personnel and scheme the focus in practice this week for the Spartans. Will the Spartans run more read-option packages in the future?

With just 297 yards on offense against Western Michigan on Friday night, Michigan State's offense is looking for ways to move the ball more effectively.

To find answers, the offensive staff broke its normal tape routine and went over it as a group – including head coach Mark Dantonio.

"We looked at it the (Saturday) as an offensive staff," offensive coordinator Dave Warner said. "Our normal routine would be to look at it ourself and then get together and watch it as an offensive staff. We got together right way the next morning, looked at it, spent a lot of time. Coach Dantonio was there with us so we just bounced things off other peoples minds and tried to see what we need to do to make improvements."

Warner said he felt he could have taken more shots downfield in his play calling to try to provide more explosive plays – a buzzword since last season around the MSU offense.

"A great portion of our passing game was underneath, supposedly high-percentage throws which didn't turn out to be," Warner said. "We need to give our guys opportunities down the field to make plays and it just so happens when things aren't clicking it's a little bit harder to make that call. But in retrospect I should have thrown the ball downfield more and given guys more chances."

In this week of practice, Warner and the offense has been focusing on looking for possible changes in scheme and personnel.

"Just, you know, trying to figure out scheme-wise are we doing the right thing, which I think we are, and just getting guys in the right position," Warner said. "We've talked long lengths about, are there position moves that need to be made to get guys into position to make plays and thus far we've messed around with a couple guys but haven't come up with any answers yet."

One of the possible position moves , as SpartanDigest.com reported Tuesday night, Jamal Lyles was working with the tight ends in practice this week.

As for scheme, the Spartans showed some offensive wrinkles Friday against Western Michigan with some wildcat and read-option packages.

"We always look for ways to improve," Warner said. "We don't hold anything back. We are looking at anything and everything."

Warner said part of the reasoning for the different looks – especially the option plays – was to spread the defense out.

"It's just been something we felt we needed to do to keep guys out of the box, to spread a defense out a little bit more to make us a better offense," Warner said.

Warner said he doesn't think the Spartans will go fully to a read-option based offense.

"I don't know," he said. "I'm not sure it can become that. That's just a total different style. We would have to totally invest in something like that."

In the little bit of use Friday, it paid off as one of the drives featuring Connor Cook running options and read-options resulted in a field goal.

"I think it did serve its purpose right there," Warner said.


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