Spartan Nation 2010 Big Ten Football Scouting Report: Michigan State

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Mark Dantonio was all smiles this summer as he enters his 4th season at the helm of Michigan State.  Photo courtesy of Starr Portice.

Mark Dantonio was all smiles this summer as he enters his 4th season at the helm of Michigan State. Photo courtesy of Starr Portice.

Biggest Game:Â October 9 @UM

Predicted record:Â 8-4 (4-4)

Projected Big Ten standing:Â 6th

Returning Starters: 13 OFFENSE: 7 DEFENSE:  6  Lettermen return: 40

Head Coach: Mark Dantonio 4th Season at MSU Last Season: 6-7  SN Predicted 9-3 Lifetime: 40-34

Top assistant:Â Don Treadwell OC

I have written extensively about the problems last season so there is no need to go over them again. Having said that, the fact that Mark Dantonio kept the bowl streak alive and the way this team played in the bowl game and used that to perhaps the best off-season in the history of the program, I am fired up.

Last season was disappointing. I didn’t expect the senior leadership to be as bad as it was;  the internal issues that resulted from that were setbacks as well. Year three is often a difficult year in the rebuilding process, but year four will be much better.

There isn’t one area on this team that you can’t see talent and depth. There also isn’t an area on this team that you can’t look and see youth. That is a nice problem to have. People have been unreasonable against DC Pat Narduzzio whose performance in years one and two were great. The Spartans chose to red shirt players that could have helped last season. To put it simply, they struggled with very little experienced talent.

The defense will be better in 2010. The DL will get more pressure. They are perhaps the deepest, but certainly not the most experienced LB group in the Big Ten. The DBs are very talented, but also there is a huge amount of youth.

On offense they will be even better than last year, and the Spartans will be better in time of possession and running the ball. I have zero concerns about this offense right now.  Zero. Chris MAGNUS McDonald is a star in the making and we have sung his praise for a long time. I guess J’Michael Deane would be a concern because he has yet to prove he can stay motivated for an entire season. If he can or if McGaha can, the Spartans will be fine.

On Special teams the Spartans have the best punter in the Big Ten and the best long snapper in football with Alex Shackelton. The kicker position has me up at night. Until someone proves they can take the job this could hurt the Spartans in some key games this year. Close games.

Next season the Spartans will have depth, talent, and experience and will be a player for a Big Ten title. I still think the kicker spot and that lack of experience will hurt them this season, but Spartan fans have a lot of reasons to be excited.

Mark Dantonio is a solid coach and is doing and will continue to do a great job at MSU. As both a person and a coach he is top notch. There is one area of his coaching that I am looking to see if he evolves at. At the end of haves and at times during the games he plays too conservative in my opinion. Not taking time outs hoping to get the ball back at the end of the half for another score. Sometimes playing it safe. I love his style. I am just saying in particular and limited moments.

That will come with time. I am not a fan, nor do I like Nick Saban. Having said that he addressed the same issues he faced early in his career like Dantonio. I will let him (Saban) explain:

“In my first few years as the head coach at Michigan State, I was much too conservative on offense.  I thought you could win with a solid defense and a stable, but not aggressive offense. We los five games that year-games that we might have had a better shot at if we’d tried to win on offense. It took two years, but I learned my mistake and learned from the consequences.”

Nick Saban How Good Do You Want To Be? Page 70

September 4 WMU WIN

September 11 FAU @Ford Field WIN

September 18 Notre Dame WIN

September 25 NO Colorado WIN

October 2 Wisconsin LOSS

October 9 @UM WIN

October 16 Illinois WIN

October 23 @Northwestern LOSS

October 30 @Iowa LOSS

November 6 Minnesota WIN

November 20 Purdue WIN

November 27 @PSU LOSS