Spartan Football Halfway Point 2008 Grades

Hondo S. Carpenter

Spartan Football Halfway Point 2008 Grades

QB C- Brian Hoyer is a super kid, but Coach Dantonio talks often about Seniors having their best success and Brian is a fifth year senior. He has not had a lot of help from his receivers with drops, but he has missed wide-open guys and has played lose with the ball in critical situations.Â

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His red zone interception at Cal and the interception that an IU player just simply dropped that would have cost MSU three points and his losing of the ball in the final drive on Saturday were inexcusable. When the Spartans had a third and eight on the eleven against the Hawks, Coach D ran the ball up the middle rather than take a shot at the end zone. That tells you all you need to know.Â

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For those of you that are Hoyer haters, the young man doesn’t have a resume full of interceptions and he doesn’t take sacks. Those are two key things he does well.

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His completion percentage is not good (47.7%), and that is completely unacceptable for any QB in any system, let alone a fifth-year senior. Sure, he has had more than his fair share of drops by his WR’s, but he has also had them make some great catches on poorly thrown balls. If this were a popularity grade it would be an A. Brian is a special kid. It isn’t though. This is about play on the field and it is a clear C-. If Brian gets on track, MSU could exceed my 8- win projection. If he doesn’t, I could have been generous.Â

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RB A+ Javon Ringer. Need I say anything else?

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WR C I have been disappointed with the drops and the mistakes. This group is so young that you have to take that into account. Our top receiver is a true sophomore. This group has to get better about drops or the Spartans could easily not win the eight games I predicted.

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OL A Coming into the season this was a place of concern, but these men have stepped up and protected Brian and blocked like mad men for Javon. Clearly, Coach Roushar and Staten are the MVP position coaches on offense and this crew has earned all the accolades. Their commitment to technique and discipline is a joy to watch each week. They don’t give up sacks and their back is among the nation’s most successful.

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DL C- Sacks are not where they should be and they are way too porous against the run. MSU will NOT beat Wisconsin, Ohio State, Penn State and others on the remaining schedule and all are vulnerable if this unit doesn’t step up. In fairness, they have had to deal with injuries with their top two DE’s, but I expect this group to step up as they get healthy and get experience for yet another young unit. I am not as worried here as with the quarterback and wide receivers.

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LB’s C+ As young as this group is (a recurring theme at most spots for the Spartans) they make good decisions and they are improving. I like the technique of this group also. Coach Tressel gets underrated from idiots who think his last name is why he has had success. He is a very good football coach and this group shows you why. When Mark came to MSU the LB’s, DL and the secondary were the most anemic groups. The way that this staff has recruited and coached those spots is amazing.

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DB C+ If Roushar and Staten are the MVP’s of the offensive position coaches then Harlon “DA BANG STICK” Barnett is clearly the MVP of the defensive position coaches. This crew loves him, listens to him and he has done a terrific job of coaching. The injuries hurt (especially CLR), but this group has done a good job. You can look back and see how the DL has to get more pressure to help their partners in the DB. This group has been a treat to watch and a highlight with their play. Look for everyone to be back this week but CLR. They have enough experience to do what they have to do if the DL can get some pressure.Â

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A=Exceptional and among the best.

B=Very good and although not the best, certainly close.

C=Average

D=Not good but certainly not the worst.

E=Horrendous and shouldn’t be playing in the Big Ten

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