Cal vs MSU...Upon Further Review...I'm Sick!
Hondo S. Carpenter
Upon Further Review...It Was Really Bad
The Spartans' game against Cal was amazing for a couple of reasons. I talked, in my scouting report, that if Cal could force MSU to the air, they would win. They did. Give Cal credit they got pressure with only three rushers (more on that later) and with blitzes that made the Spartans at times look dazed and confused.
This was without a doubt the worst performance under MD. The right side obviously was the best, but even over there, the Spartans endured poor decision making. The left side was the proverbial Achilles heal. Unlike pro football players, I am not one to single out players so I will tread lightly on names for now. I will say that the left side was, to be nice, terrible. Let me give you some specific examples of the poor play. Again most of these kids are young, but some of the issues are from upperclassmen. I am not attacking these kids character, but I am talking about their play and it was bad.
- 11:22 in the first quarter Ringer had a nice toss right that looked good down field. A missed assignment on the right side of the line killed it.
- The BJ Cunningham pass interference call made me the most upset. Cal rushes THREE LINEMAN. Did you see that I wrote THREE? They were immediately upfield as if the Spartans weren't even there. The one attacker that was all over Hoyer had three Spartans to guard him. That is correct; Three Spartans (one of them had him as a primary responsibility). He was in Hoyer's face, who had to make the throw while falling backwards. BJ was in the right spot, but the ball wasn't (not Hoyer's fault). He did commit the interference. This was the OL's complete fault and a harbinger of the day.
- 2nd and nine with 7:50 in the first quarter and and ball was in a bad spot to BJ. Again, not Hoyer's fault, he was off balance from the rush.
I could go on, but I think you are getting the hint. The right side of the OL was supposed to be major strength and although it was considerably better, it certainly wasn't a mainstay. This is gut check time for this line. You saw some youngsters get reps and you will see a lot more if this continues. First game jitters are normal. Mental mistakes and simply getting beaten and wore down are unacceptable and even more, inexcusable.
There are a lot of young players that could get some reps. If upperclassmen make mistakes, they would rather go with younger guys to get experience. Watch the OL close this week.
There was defensive miscues and mistakes all over the field. I certainly am not placing the entire loss on the OL. I am saying that this was a win we could have had. No one, myself included, expected the Spartans to play so sloppy. This was not and is not how a MD coached team plays. One thing about this staff is that they were hard after it on Sunday and that will continue. I do not think that the poor play was indicative of the season. I expect it to get fixed.
I am going to stop here because there is no reason to beat a dead horse. I will however say this. Juniors and Seniors making the mistakes they made at any position isn't acceptable. I can assure you that those close to the program told me today that leadership was called to attention. Dantonio is from the Tressel tree. That tree calls youngsters accountable and veterans to lead. Both didn't quit. I can accept that they didn't quit and knowing the character of these players, I do feel comfortable that the ship will get righted.
To have played that poorly and to get a chance to win does give you a warm fuzzy...well, no it doesn't.Â I just frustrates me more.
I understand that a lot more people than the OL played poorly. I also recognize that when your OL is not good it is hard to win at any level. I will leave it here for now. I still think that EMU is going to get torched. More on that later. For our own good, let's move on to EMU.
You can discuss this article and others on the official Spartan Nation message board, the Phalanx Forum, by clicking on that link on the left.