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Ask a Spartan Anything about Michigan State - MSU - UGA Edition

  • Macks said... (original post)

    What kind of strengths/weaknesses does your offensive line have? I assume they are very good at run blocking just due to that sheer size.

    Depends on what day it is. Our OL is probably the most Jeykll/Hyde unit we have. Sometimes they dominate sometimes they suck often during the same drive. I'd like to give you a better breakdown but it truly is a tossup with those guys.

  • Toc said... (original post)

    Depends on what day it is. Our OL is probably the most Jeykll/Hyde unit we have. Sometimes they dominate sometimes they suck often during the same drive. I'd like to give you a better breakdown but it truly is a tossup with those guys.

    Interesting. Ours used to be like that at times but they've shown some steady progress. The Notre Dame game was really the worst one while we were able to run the ball effectively and pass protect well again almost everyone else.

    The Nebraska loss was entirely on the hands of Roushar - the run game was working and the o-line was decent but he went away from it and decided to keep throwing into the teeth of that Cover 2.

  • Macks said... (original post)

    Interesting. Ours used to be like that at times but they've shown some steady progress. The Notre Dame game was really the worst one while we were able to run the ball effectively and pass protect well again almost everyone else.

    The Nebraska loss was entirely on the hands of Roushar - the run game was working and the o-line was decent but he went away from it and decided to keep throwing into the teeth of that Cover 2.

    I'd offer that MSU's C and RT both went down against Notre Dame. Additionally, our OC had the brilliant idea that he'd run an unbalanced line for an entire quarter, which fooled no one and wasted a ton of time.

    Really, Dan Roushar (the OC) was the whipping boy for our fanbase this whole season.

    Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.

  • SpartanRocky said... (original post)

    I'd offer that MSU's C and RT both went down against Notre Dame. Additionally, our OC had the brilliant idea that he'd run an unbalanced line for an entire quarter, which fooled no one and wasted a ton of time.

    Really, Dan Roushar (the OC) was the whipping boy for our fanbase this whole season.

    Early on he deserved that too. He has really straightened out since the ND game. UNL was really the only game since ND that I feel he had a poor performance. He made some outstanding calls in the BTCG.

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  • Dawgs jeckykl and hide line isn't too complicated.

    Against college talent, they dominate.
    Against NFL talent, we struggle.

    Cordy Glenn at LT is legit. Everyone else can show inconsistencies against the guys who will be drafted.

  • meansonny said... (original post)

    Dawgs jeckykl and hide line isn't too complicated.

    Against college talent, they dominate. Against NFL talent, we struggle.

    Cordy Glenn at LT is legit. Everyone else can show inconsistencies against the guys who will be drafted.

    Hopefully Gholston and Worthy will give you something to think about, then. lol

    Also seems like Glenn is being almost universally projected as an OG in the NFL. A common mock to the Lions as well as Ben Jones.

    This post was edited by Macks 3 years ago

  • So how good would you say your DBs are in man-to-man situations?

    Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.

  • Personally, I really like our DBs in man. When in position, they are the types of athletes that can make plays on the ball.

    I don't think we do as much man coverage as I would like. But it's important to change things up on the QB/OC. Don't let them get comfortable anticipating one type of look.

  • meansonny said... (original post)

    Personally, I really like our DBs in man. When in position, they are the types of athletes that can make plays on the ball.

    I don't think we do as much man coverage as I would like. But it's important to change things up on the QB/OC. Don't let them get comfortable anticipating one type of look.

    Figure the best way to attack your D aerially are quick passes between the OLB and the CB. Sounds a little weird, but I figure the OLBs will be crashing pretty hard and it may negate some of the strength a guy like Commings has. I like Keshawn Martin on screen passes.

    The Spartans do have 2 very good blocking WRs in Keith Nichol and BJ Cunningham. Usually that's pertinent on running plays, but Martin has gotten quite a few nice gains out of bubble screens.

    Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.

  • SpartanRocky said... (original post)

    Figure the best way to attack your D aerially are quick passes between the OLB and the CB. Sounds a little weird, but I figure the OLBs will be crashing pretty hard and it may negate some of the strength a guy like Commings has. I like Keshawn Martin on screen passes.

    The Spartans do have 2 very good blocking WRs in Keith Nichol and BJ Cunningham. Usually that's pertinent on running plays, but Martin has gotten quite a few nice gains out of bubble screens.

    The best way to pass on us is to attack the linebackers in coverage. That's usually a screen or wheel route by a RB or something to the tight end.

    Our DBs are for real.
    67 passes defended (tied with Bama for 17th in the country)
    17 INTs (ties us for 12th in the country).
    50 passes defended (24th in the country).
    4th in the country in opposing QB passer efficiency (98.3)

    I'm not trying to give you the impression that nobody completes anything on us but trick plays. But attacking our DBs is throwing into one of our strengths. Do it too often, and you're going to hand us the ballgame.

  • Best way to attack our defense is to spread the field, and run a big back off tackle (force our safeties and CBs to step up and stuff the run game).

    Pass the ball to your backs, tight ends, and short crossing routes at the linebackers.

  • meansonny said... (original post)

    The best way to pass on us is to attack the linebackers in coverage. That's usually a screen or wheel route by a RB or something to the tight end.

    Our DBs are for real. 67 passes defended (tied with Bama for 17th in the country) 17 INTs (ties us for 12th in the country). 50 passes defended (24th in the country). 4th in the country in opposing QB passer efficiency (98.3)

    I'm not trying to give you the impression that nobody completes anything on us but trick plays. But attacking our DBs is throwing into one of our strengths. Do it too often, and you're going to hand us the ballgame.

    I ran an analysis of both squads opponents, excluding FCS members in my comprehensive game preview that came out today.

    UGA's opponents average passing offense rank was 83rd and the average passing efficiency O was 66th. Those figures are greatly aided by Boise State: Tennessee was the only other top 50 passing offense (49th) the Bulldogs faced this season in terms of yardage, while LSU and Ga. Tech were in the top 20 for efficiency (due to the fact that passes are trick plays in Ga. Tech's O lol).

    So when I see Kellen Moore completed 82% of his passes for 261 yards with 3 TDs and an INT, I can't help but think that MSU's passing offense is closer to Boise's in potency rather than Tenn, Miss. State, UF, etc.

    FWIW, I averaged the yardage and national ranks for all 12 of both team's D-1 opponents in 10 categories: Scoring O, Total O, Passing O, Pass Eff. O, Rushing O, Scoring D, Total D, Passing D, Pass Eff. D and Rush D.

    By average, the Spartans faced better offenses across the board (all 5 O categories saw the MSU opponents as stronger than UGA's) while Georgia faced better D's across the board by about the same margin.

    http://michiganstate.247sports.com/Article/Outback-Bowl-Preview-MSU-vs-UGA--54926

    Edit: I don't know if you can read the preview, but I linked it just in case.

    This post was edited by MalibuMan 3 years ago

    Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.

  • great writeup.
    i'm only 1/4 of the way down. haven't disagreed with a thing yet.

    Only interjection regarding the passing success of Kellen Moore against us.

    Tight ends accounted for 9 completions for 89 yards.
    Martin (RB) accounted for 3 completions for 25 yards.

    That leaves 26 completions to 6 different WRs for 147 yards.
    The longest completion of the day was 20 yards.
    Most of those were quick slants (slot receiver) and shallow crossing routes.

    UGA's linebackers were doing a decent job in coverage up until Alec Ogletree (ILB / former Safety), broke his foot while in pass coverage. The defense went downhill from there.
    We inserted a walkon to replace him.
    We were also without Bacarri Rambo to defend the middle of the field.
    Christian Robinson is a little overmatched at this level (imo). If Gilliard is healthy, Robinson will be very limited in his action.

    I know that you are licking your chops seeing the success that Kellen had against us.
    But he got rid of the ball too quick for any pass rush.
    He wasn't facing an All SEC Safety.
    And he had a walk-on and future non-starter to pick on at the ILB position.

    Your self-analysis appears to like the deep ball. And that alone is going to come back to bite you. I promise you this.

    The map to beating UGA's defense is tried and true.
    1) spread the field
    2) work the quick hitting high percentage underneath passing game. particularly focused on LBs in coverage
    3) Use a big back to attack our perimeter in the run game. Cut block the backside pursuit and get a hat on a hat at the point of attack. Force our outstanding cover guys to step up and stop a full load coming right at them.

    (essentially... make our run stoppers play pass coverage and our pass coverage guys play as run stoppers).

  • meansonny said... (original post)

    great writeup. i'm only 1/4 of the way down. haven't disagreed with a thing yet.

    Only interjection regarding the passing success of Kellen Moore against us.

    Tight ends accounted for 9 completions for 89 yards. Martin (RB) accounted for 3 completions for 25 yards.

    That leaves 26 completions to 6 different WRs for 147 yards. The longest completion of the day was 20 yards. Most of those were quick slants (slot receiver) and shallow crossing routes.

    UGA's linebackers were doing a decent job in coverage up until Alec Ogletree (ILB / former Safety), broke his foot while in pass coverage. The defense went downhill from there. We inserted a walkon to replace him. We were also without Bacarri Rambo to defend the middle of the field. Christian Robinson is a little overmatched at this level (imo). If Gilliard is healthy, Robinson will be very limited in his action.

    I know that you are licking your chops seeing the success that Kellen had against us. But he got rid of the ball too quick for any pass rush. He wasn't facing an All SEC Safety. And he had a walk-on and future non-starter to pick on at the ILB position.

    Your self-analysis appears to like the deep ball. And that alone is going to come back to bite you. I promise you this.

    The map to beating UGA's defense is tried and true. 1) spread the field 2) work the quick hitting high percentage underneath passing game. particularly focused on LBs in coverage 3) Use a big back to attack our perimeter in the run game. Cut block the backside pursuit and get a hat on a hat at the point of attack. Force our outstanding cover guys to step up and stop a full load coming right at them.

    (essentially... make our run stoppers play pass coverage and our pass coverage guys play as run stoppers).

    I only like the deep ball after short passes and runs have brought Rambo and Williams up. At the end of the MSU QB/WR section I talk about how I like the UGA safeties deep at the start of the game.

    Pretty standard pro-style practice; make it look like everything's going to be short, have the safeties come up to maybe 7 yards past the LOS, run a play-action, have them take a step forward in run support, throw over the top.

    I don't like throwing deep at the outset; Georgia's CBs are too good in man coverage and like I said, that allows the safeties to play the ball rather than the player, leading to the high INT totals.

    Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.

  • SpartanRocky said... (original post)

    I only like the deep ball after short passes and runs have brought Rambo and Williams up. At the end of the MSU QB/WR section I talk about how I like the UGA safeties deep at the start of the game.

    Pretty standard pro-style practice; make it look like everything's going to be short, have the safeties come up to maybe 7 yards past the LOS, run a play-action, have them take a step forward in run support, throw over the top.

    I don't like throwing deep at the outset; Georgia's CBs are too good in man coverage and like I said, that allows the safeties to play the ball rather than the player, leading to the high INT totals.

    I don't think our safeties will have to step up.

    I'm sure you have read about how big our OL is.
    Well, I hope you've seen how big our DL is too.
    No team has successfully run the ball up the middle on us (with Gilliard out there at ILB). Our DL eats up everything teams throw our way and linebackers clean everything up.

    Even if you throw short on the perimeter, that wouldn't affect our safety depth.
    I don't even think dunking at the linebackers will affect how the safeties defend you.

    The only reason the safeties would step up is to assist in stopping the inside run game.
    And I don't have faith in your team to force that action against us.

    Our DBs can get beat on a few passes. But you're going to have to be very careful.
    Jarvis Jones, Abry Jones, and Cornelius Washington are great on the pass rush. And our DBs have been known to read a play or two and pick off the pass (ie. Rambo coming off his man to make the play elsewhere on the field).

  • meansonny said... (original post)

    I don't think our safeties will have to step up.

    I'm sure you have read about how big our OL is. Well, I hope you've seen how big our DL is too. No team has successfully run the ball up the middle on us (with Gilliard out there at ILB). Our DL eats up everything teams throw our way and linebackers clean everything up.

    Even if you throw short on the perimeter, that wouldn't affect our safety depth. I don't even think dunking at the linebackers will affect how the safeties defend you.

    The only reason the safeties would step up is to assist in stopping the inside run game. And I don't have faith in your team to force that action against us.

    Our DBs can get beat on a few passes. But you're going to have to be very careful. Jarvis Jones, Abry Jones, and Cornelius Washington are great on the pass rush. And our DBs have been known to read a play or two and pick off the pass (ie. Rambo coming off his man to make the play elsewhere on the field).

    Size isn't everything, and it's not as though the entirety of the defensive line is going to impact every play. For instance, a toss play to one side will make it nigh on impossible for the backside DE/OLB to get across the LOS to make a team. That would also negate the NT, who will be coming right up the middle. It becomes the RB, FB, TE, OT and OG vs. UGA's play-side OLB and DE, and the 2 ILBs.

    I do agree that runs up the gut will be problematic . . . but draw plays from under center are a nice way to run up the middle.

    Think of it as a play-action run.

    Given the 3-4's aggressive nature, seeing a QB drop back will cue the OLBs to crash down hard towards the QB. Running a draw can take them out of the play, as the RB goes directly North-South once the OLBs have gone up field. Ideally the RB can go through the B-gaps if the NT is in the back-side A-gap: I have no doubt that any A-gap run is going to be stopped by the NT and an ILB filling the other A-gap (2-way go). However, most 3-4s leave the OGs uncovered (most times your DEs are in a 5-tech), giving them free release.

    In theory, if the OT can handle the play-side DE one on one, while the OLBs run themselves too far upfield, it becomes the C on the NT in 1 A-gap, the FB on the filling ILB in the other A-gap, and the OG on the other ILB. That accounts for the entirety of the front 7, with no one able to pick up the RB till he gets to the secondary.

    Now, this is contingent on the OG/FB being fast enough to meet the ILBs and maintain their blocks, but I'm just saying that there are ways to running the football between the tackles against the 3-4.

    Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.

  • You're exactly right about speed plays to the outside negating the size of the interior.
    That's exactly why S.Car and LSU struggled to find success until they abandoned interior runs and just kept bumping their bruising backs outside.

    Their backside tackle chopped at the feet on the edge essentially taking two guys out with one blocker. A designated lineman would also get to the ILB and dive at the feet enough to slow down more interior pursuit so that they had a hat on a hat and our safeties and CBs were dependent on bringing down 230 pounds at full speed. Not where UGA wants to be if we're exected to consistently make the stop with the first defender.

    I don't expect your draw design to work. Abry Jones is "slippery" (Grantham's words), Jarvis is great at the point of attack. And usually one of the ILB is going to be assigned to spy on the RB (so they don't dive back into pass coverage abandoning that responsibility). Ogletree and Gilliard know how to clean up plays in the open field.

    I laid out the plan to beat UGAs defense. It will be interesting to see if Mich State plays against our weakness, plays to their strengths. OR makes halftime adjustments like LSU and South Carolina to take control of the game offensively (if you have the personnel to do so).

  • meansonny said... (original post)

    You're exactly right about speed plays to the outside negating the size of the interior. That's exactly why S.Car and LSU struggled to find success until they abandoned interior runs and just kept bumping their bruising backs outside.

    Their backside tackle chopped at the feet on the edge essentially taking two guys out with one blocker. A designated lineman would also get to the ILB and dive at the feet enough to slow down more interior pursuit so that they had a hat on a hat and our safeties and CBs were dependent on bringing down 230 pounds at full speed. Not where UGA wants to be if we're exected to consistently make the stop with the first defender.

    I don't expect your draw design to work. Abry Jones is "slippery" (Grantham's words), Jarvis is great at the point of attack. And usually one of the ILB is going to be assigned to spy on the RB (so they don't dive back into pass coverage abandoning that responsibility). Ogletree and Gilliard know how to clean up plays in the open field.

    I laid out the plan to beat UGAs defense. It will be interesting to see if Mich State plays against our weakness, plays to their strengths. OR makes halftime adjustments like LSU and South Carolina to take control of the game offensively (if you have the personnel to do so).

    MSU does have the bruiser to the outside in Le'Veon Bell (6'2 242, 900 yards even, 5.5 YPC, 11 TDs on the ground), as well as the FB to get a hat on an OLB. MSU's OTs are pretty athletic; Dan France (LT, 6'6 315) is a former DT who's moved along the learning curve greatly. France has plenty of power, but both he and Fou Fonoti (RT, 6'4 300) have the lateral speed to handle most edge rushers.

    Actually, most of MSU's sacks have come from the interior of the OL giving up penetration to blitzing ILBs and regular DTs. It's an oddity, really, because the only OL MSU returned this season were the OGs. Flux at the C position was likely the reason; MSU has started 3 different players there, though our #1 is good to go for this game.

    I can't wait for this game; I've said it about a dozen times in this thread lol.

    Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.

  • No doubt.

    Key in on a potential halftime adjustment... removing your FB and spreading the field. Its the difference between a 180 pound DB versus a 250 pound linebacker in place to make the stop.

    I am intrigued by the size of your back. That's just who we don't want attacking us on the perimeter.

  • In terms of alternative pressure on the qb...
    If we do have an extra DB out there, look for Brandon Boykin charging the backfield from the slot.

    Also, I love seeing the speed up the middle from Ogletree when we send him. A great run blitz tactic which also finds added pressure on the QB.

  • I just finished everything I had access to read.

    Good stuff. Hardly anything can be said in disagreement.

    The only other thing that jumps out at me as "not an efficient strategy" is the bubble screen. You mentioned that our CBs are very physical. And matching them up against other WRs is usually a win for us. I expect you to throw them. But I don't expect much success on them. Maybe, they'll set something up for later. If I were you, I would hope that you don't waste too many plays trying to set that big play up.

    I definitely see a lot of strengths for you guys. But I'm not sure the I-Formation is where you will find your success attacking us.

    For our offense, if the ground game doesn't get going then it could be an exciting game (lots of pass attempts, lots of moving up and down the field, but potentially a lot of bad things can happen when a one dimensional team goes against a good defense. one dimensional doesn't mean that we abandon the run. Just that we find ourselves in 3rd and long because of a lack of success with it. We run as much as any team in the SEC despite not having the same level of success as the best in the SEC).

  • meansonny said... (original post)

    I just finished everything I had access to read.

    Good stuff. Hardly anything can be said in disagreement.

    The only other thing that jumps out at me as "not an efficient strategy" is the bubble screen. You mentioned that our CBs are very physical. And matching them up against other WRs is usually a win for us. I expect you to throw them. But I don't expect much success on them. Maybe, they'll set something up for later. If I were you, I would hope that you don't waste too many plays trying to set that big play up.

    I definitely see a lot of strengths for you guys. But I'm not sure the I-Formation is where you will find your success attacking us.

    For our offense, if the ground game doesn't get going then it could be an exciting game (lots of pass attempts, lots of moving up and down the field, but potentially a lot of bad things can happen when a one dimensional team goes against a good defense. one dimensional doesn't mean that we abandon the run. Just that we find ourselves in 3rd and long because of a lack of success with it. We run as much as any team in the SEC despite not having the same level of success as the best in the SEC).

    In terms of the bubble screen, I had to consider the fact that MSU trots out a pair of 6'2 215+ pound WRs (Cunningham and Nichol) who have been great blockers over their past couple of years. I have to think they'll at least be equal to the UGA DBs in terms of strength and physicality.

    State has no problems with running plays that only gain a few yards for a quarter for more if it'll open up 20+ yard plays in the 3rd Q. MSU will run 6-10 times out of the I in the same direction only to set up throws to the backside TE in the 2nd half and things like that. It's almost as though the Spartans treat the first Q as an experiment to feel out the opposition, then adjusts for the rest of the game.

    Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.

  • SpartanRocky said... (original post)

    In terms of the bubble screen, I had to consider the fact that MSU trots out a pair of 6'2 215+ pound WRs (Cunningham and Nichol) who have been great blockers over their past couple of years. I have to think they'll at least be equal to the UGA DBs in terms of strength and physicality.

    State has no problems with running plays that only gain a few yards for a quarter for more if it'll open up 20+ yard plays in the 3rd Q. MSU will run 6-10 times out of the I in the same direction only to set up throws to the backside TE in the 2nd half and things like that. It's almost as though the Spartans treat the first Q as an experiment to feel out the opposition, then adjusts for the rest of the game.

    Damn...you 2 guys are sick in the head...

    loco

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  • SpartanRocky said... (original post)

    Damn...you 2 guys are sick in the head...

    loco

    Which two guys and for what reason? lol

    Michigan State does not and will not run the 3-4 defense.

  • My doctor says the medication is working.

    So long as the Dawgs don't implode, my dosage is OK.
    If our backs can't snag a yard or two after contact, we might want to replace the silverware with plasticware.

    Gonna be a damn fine game.