Spartan Tackles Have to Play Game of the Year to get an Alamo Bowl Win!

Hondo S. Carpenter

San Antonio, Texas-There are many areas that the Spartans will have to perform at a high level next Saturday to beat the Texas Tech Red Raiders. None is more important, on the offensive side of the ball, than the tackles.


The Spartans Need Their Tackles to Have the Their Best Game of the Season.  Photo Courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.
The Spartans Need Their Tackles to Have the Their Best Game of the Season. Photo Courtesy of Mark Boomgaard.

Rocco Cironi and DJ Young will have their hands full with big, fast and athletic Tech DE’s that have NFL potential. The Red Raiders are among the best in the nation at pressuring and sacking the QB and they love to attack on the run.


On Friday I will get into my scouting report and prediction, but for now I can tell you that the weakness of the Red Raiders is when teams are able to run and throw in balance. For the Spartans to get the ball moving through the air, Kirk Cousins and his depleted and refurbished WR group will have to have some time.


Tech will attack with their ears pinned back and giving QB’s time against this defense has been a difficult task. Even for the Longhorns who are undefeated and playing for a national title, the task was essentially impossible. That should tell you the difficulty of the task.


Rocco Cironi’s 2009 season was not as good as last, in which NFL teams took notice. Unfortunately for him, he has played like a true warrior all season and Spartan fans have no idea what he has been through for this team in 2009. I will address it in detail in my article for the January Spartan Nation Magazine entitled “What Went Wrong in 2009!” For now it is suffice to say that Cironi’s year may not have been as good as last, but without him it could have been a lot worse and certainly negatively affected the future.


Cironi and Young will have to be more mobile than they have been all year, and they will have to contain the Red Raiders DE attack. It is unfair to expect them to stop them, much better teams than the Spartans haven’t been able to do that in 2009.


The Spartans can help their two tackles with some slants (nearly immediate passes from the QB after the snap), some short yardage screens, and most of all, better utilization of the TE would certainly help.


Certainly, a win against the Red Raiders will have a lot more intangibles then just the performance of the MSU tackles. If they can give time, can the WR group catch the ball? You can take a look at every loss the Red Raiders have suffered this season and they came against teams whose OTs performed at a high level.


Young and Cironi won’t be the sole reason the Spartans get an upset or even remain competitive on Saturday, but if the Spartans do win they will have to combine for their best games of the season.


Rocco, never one to back down, knows it. He told me yesterday, “We know what has to happen and it will be a great test. I am excited for it.” Let’s hope he still feels that way about 12:30 a.m. on January third.