Pregame Intel: Michigan State Spartans

The old injury bug has bit the Spartan offense as they head for Evanston and a Homecoming revenge date with the Northwestern Wildcats. While much of the media in East Lansing is already focused on roundball, we've gleaned a bit of news from the Halls of the Football Spartans...

Ever since MSU lost that last second game to Illinois, its been all downhill for Sparty
MSU OfficialAnd now the "where will John L. Smith be coaching" rumbles are getting louder and louder.

Sports columnists from all over, from the State News [MSU's student paper] to the Daily Herald's Tim Cronin are speculating on the future of Michigan State's coach.

They started out so well; wins over Idaho, Eastern Michigan and Pittsburgh before they faced and lost to Notre Dame. The next "patsy" was supposed to be Illinois at the end pf September, but a last second field goal made loss #2.

#2 Michigan and #1 Ohio State completed the series and suddenly there were 4 losses on the Spartan's schedule to go with those early 3 wins. The rumbles that started back on September 30th

Then there are the personnel problems beyond the injury list: Bobby Jones, a highly regarded JC transfer has been dismissed from the team. Two other players have been in court lately, and are also on suspension.

Offense
What's wrong with the MSU Offense, the one were the Spartans averaged 38+ points per game,  had 476+ yards per game total offense, 11 TDs, averaged over 32 minutes of offense.

MSU Official What happened to that offense, led by 2nd year starter Drew Stanton, that was supposed to easily contend for the Big 10 Title?

Not only is Stanton hurt, but all 5 of the Offensive linemen have suffered injuries and missed games. Junior left tackle Mike Gyetvai, senior guard Daniel Zynn and junior guards Pete Clifford and Kenny Shane have all missed time. Zynn is done for the season. Senior center Kyle Cook also has been hurt but keeps playing. [info from the State News]

The result has been Stanton running for his life, and virtually no running game It won't get any better either. Left Tackle Mike Gyetvai is out for Saturday's game.
"You know, we can blame injuries but we didn't have the type of play that we wanted. We dropped 10 balls in the past two games," MSU offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin said [Green & White]

"Injuries play a factor, but when you don't execute and do the things you're supposed to be doing, injuries aren't a factor. We've really hurt ourselves. We've not been able to move the football the way we're supposed to because we're hurting ourselves."
Besides, Stanton is injured, and the Spartans just might decide to rest their star and burn the redshirt of frosh Connor Dixon.
"It would be a last ditch effort that we have to pull the red shirt, but he understands that. That's part of being red shirted." - Smith - gospartans.net
The Spartans with Stanton are averaging 27.7 points a game, 4.8 yards per rush, 207 yards passing, about 5.9 yards per play. They've scored 92% of their red-zone opportunities - 18 of 26 have been touchdowns.

Defense
The Spartan Defensive set is full of new names for familiar positions. There's a Stud [DE], A Whip and a Bandit [Linebackers]. I guess its all in how you name them, but it might pose a problem on a resume, "What did you do in college? I was a stud on the football team."

Anyway, they only allow 27.4 points per game.

The big "adjustment" for the Wildcats is a position switch for two defenders. Linebacker Sir Darean Adams is now a strong safety. Nehemiah Warrick has switched to the "bandit" position - the one that requires a defender to fly to the ball more. According to Adams [State News] "Give us this week against Northwestern and we'll show you that it was a great move."

MSU OfficialThe tackles leader is Safety Otis Wiley [56]. DT Clifton Ryan is the sack leader with 3.

Whip LB David Herron is second on the team with 43 tackles,  Nehemia Warrick is 3rd with 41. Their Middle LB, Kaleb Thornhill, follows with 39.

It does appear that opponents have been able to get past the line of scrimmage against Michigan State, but there's much more speculation on why the offense isn't producing, besides you can win in the Big 10 giving up under 30 points per game, if your offense is working.

Special Teams
Terry Love is the punt returner, he averages just 7.7 yards for his 11 returns. Punting is Brandon fields, no blocks, an average of 44.6 yards per, he's hit one 73 yards this year.

Deymond Williams is the leader on kick returns, averaging 20+ yards per return, but no touchdowns.

Injuries:
A long list of starters:
Most recent - Kenny Shane (back, knee) and
Daniel Zynn (broken foot) have gone down.

Left tackle Mike Gyetvai (shoulder) missed Saturday's 38-7 loss to Ohio State. Shane and Peter Clifford (knee) are playing and getting healthier, but the Spartans must get Gyetvai back to have a chance at  holding defenses at bay.

Overall:
John L. Smith summed it up in an interview reported by Scout's Mike Fowler
"We've got to be positive, we have to prepare for these guys and go down there and play better than we have been and get a win. That's kinda where the ball is right now."
And Junior Running Back Jehuu Caulcrick's final word;
"They came in here and put a whooping on us," Caulcrick said [State News]. "It was our Homecoming game, and now we're going there on their Homecoming game. We'd like to spoil their party."

What the Cats Have to Do:
  • Give the ball to Tyrell Sutton
  • Try to get a passing game running that means our O-Line has to step it up against a defense that hasn't mounted that fierce a rush lately.
  • Get Mims or Wootton in Drew Stanton's face. Stanton is a little banged up, and just might be a little tentative.

  • TV -WBBM-TV2 in Chicago/ESPNPlus: Gameday, plus a decent number of TV stations in the midwest. Its on a large number of cable systems for free also.
  • Radio - It will be on WGN, Starting at 10:30 WT, Dave Eanet and Ted Albrecht. Also WNUR, pregame at 10 AM WT and XM Satellite
We'll be chatting at the same spot

You can send your comments or "back door" information
to Coach Roy
Go Cats
Beat 'em All!
Talk about it on the Purple Boards
[Click Here]
Copyright 2006 by PurpleWildcats.com/Purple Reign

Purple Wildcats Top Stories

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