Spartans Dominate Second Half, Send a Message and Find Their Identity

Hondo S. Carpenter

Spartans Dominate Second Half, Send a Message and Find Their Identity

Call it what you will… when Spartan Head Coach Mark Dantonio told Offensive Coordinator Don Treadwell, "Don’t throw the ball again," his message was strong and to the point. He doesn’t tell his coaches how to coach, but he wanted his message sent to his players: we have to tough this out.

The Spartans did just that. You could see the offensive line begin to gel before your eyes. You saw them step into their own. You saw youngsters like Joel Foreman who have all the talent of any guard to ever play at MSU, begin to get their technique to match their potential. You saw the Roland Martin and Jesse Miller assert themselves and dominate a lesser opponent. The Rock was dominant and showed signs that he was ready to take over. The young players got reps and older players were special.

There are a lot of things you could talk about in this game. What mattered most was that defensive and offensive lines stood out and manned up. You saw this team start to step into their identity. Dantonio follows the Tressel philosophy that each team is it’s own. They each have a different identity. This one found it’s identity on Saturday. For this team to be successful they have to run the ball. This team is not going to beat you throwing the ball thirty times. They are not going to dazzle you with USC aerial attack. They can’t win the Big Ten like that and they won’t.

That isn’t a slam on Hoyer. He is a good QB. This team is not a team that does that. This team lines up and beats you up physically and attacks you with play action and the occasional deep pass. That is fine with me. This team was struggling with their identity and Mark Dantonio reminded them.

This team knows that FAU, IU and many other teams on the schedule are aerial attack teams. He knows you beat those teams up on the ground and with ball control. That is his image. He and Treadwell pass the ball. Other coaches did everything they could to tell recruits that he was the second coming of Perles. They made every recruit like Mark Dell and Fred Smith hear time and time again that their skills wouldn’t be successful in the Dantonio run attack. He proved them wrong.

We saw with two receivers over 70 yards last week and Dell’s 200+ at Cal that those are foolish statements. We also saw that this team is a run first attack. This team will show up and beat you up. This team is more interested in steak than sizzle. This team like its coach, are not going to dazzle you, but they will beat you.

The second half of the EMU game may very well be the turning point of the season. When they tried to be what they weren’t, the Eagles hung around. When they finally asserted themselves, they showed us who they are. MSU is a physical team. The lineman and backs will beat you up. The receivers love to hit and block down field unlike any set we have seen at MSU in a long time.

Watch Dell and Cunningham. Take a look at Curry and Smith. Any of those four would be just as happy blocking down field for a Ringer TD as they would be scoring their own. We saw a win against a MAC team. For those that look closer, we saw an emergence of a football team with an identity. This week the Spartans need to run the ball. FAU is right, someone is going to get lit up. I am going to place my money on the Spartans. They should light up FAU’s offensive and defensive lines. Look out people, this team has a sense of identity now and this is going to get fun.

 

 

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