Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rich Rod Can Turn Tables In Hurry On Dantonio

Even before Michigan State was run right out of Spartan Stadium by Ohio State Saturday, I saw the Michigan game as particularly dangerous for the Spartans.
While the Wolverines are playing by far their worst football in more than four decades, and Rich Rodriguez has been a train wreck so far as head coach, Michigan isn’t lacking talented players. Michigan has better overall team speed than MSU. The Wolverines have a more talented and experienced defense than MSU. Michigan certainly has had its issues at quarterback, but the same is starting to be felt at MSU, although not to the same degree. Kirk Cousins didn’t do Brian Hoyer any favors Saturday when he started picking apart Ohio State’s secondary after Hoyer struggled so.
The weight is on MSU in this game. The Spartans have to win this one, or whatever they accomplished in the first half of the season in regard to apparently closing the gap on Michigan will be considered null and void.
It’s not exactly the type of pressure MSU has handled well in the past. It makes this game a perfect litmus test to determine whether Mark Dantonio’s tenure is, indeed, different. It’s also a golden opportunity for Rodriguez to make up lost ground.

Random Thoughts

- Kevin Smith has not been a draft bust for the Lions. If anything, he has shown flashes of big-play ability. Now if they can only block better for him, and not fall behind by three touchdowns in every game, the Lions might be able to actually put Smith to better use.

- Can you imagine if the Lions played the Bengals this season? What about if it was on Thanksgiving Day? Wow.

- I do believe the Tigers are walking a slippery slope with Rick Knapp as pitching coach. It’s highly unusual that a major league pitching coach is hired from outside an organization, when he has neither been a major league pitcher or major league coach before. It does happen all the time within organizations because a coach may have worked with pitching staff members in the past in the minors, earning respect by helping them reach the major leagues. There is a risk Tiger pitchers won’t listen much to Knapp. It could be, "How do you know, have you ever pitched in the major leagues?" Or: "Who did you help in the major leagues as a coach."
The upside is that Tigers manager Jim Leyland surely understands that and hired Knapp anyway. That means Knapp must have impressed him a great deal.


Anonymous Marty said...


I wonder how badly Kevin Smith must be injured since they started Rudi Johnson. Not only is Kevin Smith a better runner than Johnson, he is a FAR better blocker. I mean Smith looks like Tony Boselli compared to Johnson. It got so bad that they would pull Johnson out on third down just because he couldn't block at all.


11:41 AM 
Blogger Eric Chase said...

Pat - Rays and Phils are evenly matched personnel wise, so it comes down to the manager, right? I'll take Maddon over Manuel. Had Maddon used David Price earlier in the series wouldn't have gone 7.

Thoughts on this year's Michigan/Ohio St. matchup...which is actually Penn State/Ohio St. this year.

Thanks and have a great week!

1:42 PM 
Anonymous Marty said...


One other thing. I think the Roy Williams trade might help the Lions run game. Mostly because Mike Furrey is an excelent run blocker, while Roy Williams is about as bad as you can get. CJ isn't that good either, but he is head and shoulders better than what Roy Williams is when he "blocks". Even though Furrey is horrible after the catch, he does everything else so well, I like having him on the team. If only he could get better after he actually catches the ball.

I noticed that they played a bunch of younger guys yesterday. IAF actually looked good! He was around the ball every time he was in the game. Even making one tackle down field all the way across the field from where he lined up. I don't understand why he hasn't played before now. I thought he just wasn't good enough, but he showed me that he can definitely play yesterday. Avril continues to impress me as well. I don't think he is great, but he does seem to have some talent. It isn't much, but I didn't expect him to be much of anything when they drafted him.


3:00 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat, was Mr.Knapp brought in because he was the best available or brought in because he has experience working with a low budget pitching staff? They cannot trade Maggs for pitchers until they get a lead off hitter. If you get a good lead off hitter, than Granderson and Polanco can move down in the line-up to cover the third spot. Polanco can hit anything where Granderson still dominates certain pitches over others. FGuzman is interesting with his 71 SB and 270 avg he put up in AA/AAA this year. He would cover a lot of ground in Comerica Park, could hit lead off and speed that the Tigers need badly.

3:31 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

capootz..your fall from baseball wizard, to baseball gizzard is disappointing to say the least..

Did Chuck Hernandez pitch in the show?? How bout Rick Anderson??

Lots of major league pitching coaches haven't thrown in the bigs..come stronger than that..that take was pathetically weak..Right now any Tiger pitcher is eager for help, especially the kind of help that would allow them to throw more strikes.

12:21 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Smith has shown surprising burst as a classic downhill runner type. They still need another back, but it looks like he might be good enough to be the starter.

10:29 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Eric Chase,
Maddon is an excellent manager and I would give him the edge in this series, but I do think Manuel gets overlooked sometimes because he doesn't fit the part quite as well. He is looked at like the dumb, old baseball guy when actually he isn't.

10:32 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Furrey is just a good football player. Look what he did at safety for the Rams. But he is getting older and the Lions need to get younger.

10:33 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I don't expect a lot of fireworks from the Tigers this off season. They might make a trade or two to shore up their pitching, but they are limited in that regard to relatively small moves. They need Porcello and Perry to move quickly. The good news is they are capable.

10:35 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Either you didn't read what I wrote very closely or you don't know the history of Anderson and Hernandez. Neither pitched in the major leagues, but were hired as major league pitching coaches by organizations they coached in for years before - Hernandez with the Angels in the early 19990s and Anderson with the Twins. Apology accepted.

10:37 AM 

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