I have finally found some time to get my thoughts out to you guys a little bit more formally than through twitter. The sites production has dropped to basically my previews with the loss of Andy Coppens, who was the primary producer and even my production has dropped with the start of my first year of law school. For that, I apologize. But this Friday is the Izzone Campout and with no football game this weekend comes some time for me to sit back and reflect on what has happened thus far for the Spartans. I have no internet out here on Munn Field, so I apologize if some statistics or recollections are a bit off.
To this point we have suffered through an offense that was once ranked dead last in the nation and honestly the biggest question of all reared its’ ugly head once again last week. With one final chance to win the game last week in South Bend, Michigan State coach, Mark Dantonio, sent out senior Andrew Maxwell after spending the entire game on the sideline. That did not work out very well and ended up in the redshirt senior running for about 8 yards on 4th and 20. As a quarterback, you have to throw that ball. But honestly I cannot blame Andrew for being put into such a crappy situation. The blame lands solely on the head coach and has resulted in some Michigan State fans doing the unthinkable and calling for a new coach, or for Dantonio to be on the “hot seat.”
With that, I must remind you that a few years ago these same fans were calling for the head of defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi… What happened to that? For the last few years East Lansing has been home to one of the best defenses in the nation. Mark Dantonio surely deserves some credit for that, as does previously mentioned Pat Narduzzi. But Dantonio has done so much for this program in the last few years, including: a share of the B1G Title, two 11-win seasons, All-Americans, the first Legends Division title and back-to-back bowl victories. Honestly I do not believe Michigan State currently can do any better than the man already holding the job. Dantonio has been put in a horrible situation, having to deal with quarterback-less offense.
Sure, many of you are saying: “But he hasn’t played Damion Terry.” Well that may be true, but Damion Terry does not know this offense. If he had enrolled early, similar to Le’Veon Bell, he would have had a much longer time to get acquainted to the offense and given himself a better chance at playing early in the year. That’s not to say he wont play this year; because with the way the offense has been going his talent may eventually outweigh the playbook. But before any of that happens I do believe that redshirt freshman Tyler O’Connor should be given another opportunity.
O’Connor, not Connor Cook, was the talk of the pre-season, though he did not have a great spring game. Tyler has only played twice this year and has not looked too bad, though he did almost throw an interception, which apparently is a BIG deal. Statistically through the two games played he has completed 9 of his 14 attempts for 90 yards, with a long of 18 yards. The thing that I believe O’Connor would actually make a difference in is the ground game. Unlike Cook, O’Connor can actually run and create with his legs. The coaches will point towards Cooks mobility, but have you seen it? I surely haven’t, or at least not to the point where his running becomes any sort of advantage over the other options we have at quarterback.
With all of that being said, I am not sure we will even see another quarterback change. I have no explanation for the Maxwell switch, other than he has looked good at times in the hurry-up offense. For now it appears that Cook will be the starter heading to Iowa. My advice: don’t panic, this team can win the way they are currently set-up. Sure, a solid quarterback would help but this team appears to be capable of running the ball and can surely play good defense. The games might be ugly, but unfortunately those are the cards we have been dealt for this season. The players do not seem worried, so I do not understand the rationale for the fans to worry. The players still have confidence in themselves and their teammates and honestly at this point that is all that matters.
Cool side notes from the Izzone Campout:
-The basketball team will wear Pro-Combat uniforms again this year and Tom Izzo noted that he thinks they’re much better than last years’ version.
-The team may also wear jerseys with the “cursive” lettering this year at some point.
-Izzo also told the Izzone that Draymond Green told him he wished he could play with this team and that they are a lot of fun to play with, which is a big compliment in the coaches’ mind.