Turel's Film Evaluation: The Spartan Offense

Josh Turel covers everything from the formations MSU uses (and how often), to offensive leaders, to the Spartan depth chart, to a position by position breakdown of the Michigan State offense.


Formation Type: % of usage, type of play.
Tight End Spread: 36%, 64% run/36% pass
Double Tight Ends: 27%, 57% run/43% pass
Spread: 29%, 23% run/77% pass
5 Wides: 7%, 33% run/66% pass

Goaline Formations:
Mostly a running team in the red zone. Motion Tight End frequently used. Will use quarterback draw as well. Defense must watch tight ends in red zone, they will motion and run a quick out and the play is for them. 6'6 Matt Trannon is also a jump ball threat.

Motion Formations:
Not a team that motions a lot to change formation. When they do motion they do it to change strength on one side of the ball. Will sometimes motion from a balanced four wide spread to trips on wide side of the ball.

Other Formation Notes:
MSU like to run a variety of plays from the tight end spread formation. Look for plenty of counters; they play action off the counter as well. Quarterback Drew Stanton will rollout and pass from this formation frequently. They also use the draw play with the tailback or quarterback from this package. They also like to run to the strength of the formation as well as throw the screen in a variety of ways to the tailback. In my opinion this is their most dangerous set running the football.

The two tight end set is one of their favorites to roll out and throw the football from. They run a lot of balanced two tight end sets but tend to run behind the left side of the line. The four wide spread is their most dangerous passing formation. They will screen on short downs to their receivers and to the tailback from this formation.

Stanton will use some double rolls, faking to roll to one side then cut back to the other. This offense loves to attack everywhere on the field, deep, over the middle and the flats. It will attack you EVERYWHERE. They use a lot of crossing routes, mostly to defeat zone coverage, and they are excellent at attacking layered coverages.

They like the screen pass to receiver Matt Trannon when they have trip receivers to one side of the field. When MSU goes to a five wide package, they will usually have two "up backs" played by receivers. They will run shovel passes with these receivers inside.

Trick Plays/Formations:
Michigan State will use a formation shift, sending Stanton to receiver in a spread formation with trips to one side of the field while bringing a receiver, usually Jerramy Scott, to take the snap and run the football. They will also run a reverse out of the tight end spread, handing the ball off to the tailback who gives to a receiver going the opposite direction. This is a very creative offense and could have something else in store.


Drew Stanton 108 79 1184 13

Javon Ringer 39 367 9.4 4
Jehuu Caulcrick 51 305 6.0 3

Kyle Brown 17 262 15.4 2
Matt Trannon 16 201 18.8 4


5 Drew Stanton 6-3, 222, Jr.
7 Brian Hoyer 6-2, 204, Fr.
14 Domenic Natale 6-1, 185, Fr.

20 Jason Teague 5-9, 193, Sr.
30 Jehuu Caulcrick 6-0, 245, So.
39 Javon Ringer 5-9, 186, Fr.

6 Matt Trannon 6-6, 227, Sr.
15 Kerry Reed 6-2, 198, Jr.

3 Kyle Brown 6-1, 210, Sr.
82 Ryan Allison 6-3, 207, Fr.
2 Diego Oquendo 5-9, 178, Fr.

32 Jerramy Scott 5-10, 186, Jr.
18 Terry Love 5-11, 173, So.
4 Carl Grimes 5-9, 171, Fr.

Tight End
89 Ryan Woods 6-4, 259, Sr.
80 Kellen Freeman-Davis 6-6, 241, So.
81 Dwayne Holmes 6-0, 254, Fr.

Left Tackle
72 Stefon Wheeler 6-5, 330, Sr.
68 Tom Kaczmarek 6-5, 308, Fr.

Left Tackle
66 Mike Gyetvai 6-7, 307, So.
79 Jesse Miller 6-6, 311, Fr.

Left Guard
74 Kyle Cook 6-3, 295, Jr.
77 Daniel Zynn 6-2, 321, Jr.

Right Guard
71 Gordon Niebylski 6-3, 312, Sr.
73 Roland Martin 6-5, 318, Fr.

51 Chris Morris 6-4, 305, Sr.
54 John Masters 6-4, 280, So.


I share the view that Drew Stanton is one of the nation's best quarterbacks. I played against Drew in high school and the odd thing is, he never ran on us. Not once. It certainly is a strength of his now though, but he won't have as many designed runs as last year, and the MSU staff doesn't want him running much. As a passer is where I really like his game. He has good mechanics, nice ball velocity and he delivers an accurate ball with correct throwing targets. He can roll out and throw on the run, he can make things happen when the pocket breaks down, and he doesn't make many mistakes. He's improved in terms of his reads, he's found open receivers all season long and he checks down well. He's the leader of the offense and the total package at his position.

Michigan State will use three backs mainly to run the football, starting with Jason Teague. Jason is one of the more overlooked backs but he has vision, quickness and he can run inside very well. Jehuu Caulcrick doesn't have the quickness of the other two but he has very good power. His vision has improved greatly and he's become a really good back. Javon Ringer is a speedy freshman who has been outstanding thus far. He has excellent quickness, moves and speed in the open field. MSU will use him Saturday no doubt.

The receivers are a deep and talented bunch. Matt Trannon is the big play guy, with excellent size and speed. He's also improved as a route runner and his hands have become more reliable. Jerramy Scott isn't nearly as big but he's a guy who can get open well and can make plays with the ball. He is still the most reliable receiver of this group in my opinion. Kyle Brown has grown into a physical player but he still has his trademark speed. He's been a consistent player all year and he can make plays like the rest of them. Kerry Reed is a junior college transfer who I really like. He runs crisp routes and he doesn't lose speed in his cuts. Expect to see him in larger packages with speedster Terry Love and freshman Ryan Allison who is polished physically despite his young age. They will also use a variety of tight ends, Kellen Davis is an athletic body but it's obvious on film he needs to improve his overall strength and blocking. Dwayne Holmes is their best blocking tight end and Ryan Woods is a mixture of the two, solid at both blocking and receiving.

The offensive line is a pretty good short-area group. None of them strike me as overly athletic but they've done well thus far. Stefon Wheeler, as I said before the season, is underrated and NFL teams will be interested in him. He's as good a pass blocker as you could want, though I think he can improve his run blocking skills. I really like their center Chris Morris as well, he's a strong kid who is the leader of this line. The left side of the line is a bit more talented and it seems they like to run behind them more often but overall, it's a good unit.

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