Travis Jackson went down in the first half of the Ohio State game and with him any hope of a run game between the tackles this year. Drive charting the last two games since is not something I have time for, but it’s obvious to me that the interior run game has descended back into 2011 levels. This isn’t a sign of a terrible Offensive Line, there just isn’t an offensive line in the Big Ten that could take the loss of two full-year returning starters in Jackson and Fonoti and not struggle afterwards.
The good news is that an offensive identity is emerging. The bad news is that Coach “Run the ball and stop the run” Dantonio is probably not going to like it. MSU looks to have a legitimate offense in their no-huddle, dink and dunk offense.
In all of the games where MSU gets behind, they resort to a no-huddle, 5 WR/4WR and Bell passing look. AND THEY PROCEED TO MOVE THE BALL. When asked why they moved away from this look in the Notre Dame game Dantonio replied:
"I felt like we needed to change the tempo on the third quarter, which we did," he said. "From my perspective, I felt like we should probably have changed back and went with a more traditional offense after that, at least one or two more times. We sort of stayed in that mode too long. … We kept trying to force the issue instead of doing it more the conventional way.”
The conventional way? The conventional way is to have a QB who can run like Denard Robinson, Braxton Miller, Nathan Scheelhasse, MarQuies Gray, Kain Colter and T-Magic. Pocket passers are unconventional in college football. The rest of the pocket passers all run spread offenses, so playing pro-style football is decidedly unconventional these days. Who runs a pro-style offense anymore in CFB? Alabama? Central Michigan? MSU fans should all give Mark Dantonio a hug and tell him it’s ok to throw 65 percent of the time if that’s what wins games.
At the end of the Boise State game, Andrew Maxwell had 0 TD’s and 3 picks, only one of which was a terrible throw and even that came with 7 seconds left in the half. At the close of yesterday, Maxwell had 6 TDs and 0 picks in the other five games of the season. If MSU can move the ball in a five wide hurry up look three or four times a game, Maxwell has earned the right to run that offense. More importantly he seems to have the mental stuffin’s to do the job.
There’s gold in mixing two or three heavy passing quick series into the first half before MSU is down significant points. If MSU can pick up 7-10 points off of three no-huddle series in the first half that would lower significantly the odds of having to come from behind.
The offensive identity has emerged. It’s just that it’s come out the anti-Dantonio. We’ll see how he handles it.