Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thoughts halftime MSU, Penn State

- Everybody looks at MSU's toughness as the Spartans' key element, and it's hard to argue against, but it's often overlooked that they do have many explosive athletes at skill positions. R.J. Shelton is a classic example. Great kickoff return to set the tone for this game. He makes a lot of big plays. Macgarrett Kings Jr. is a pretty good punt returner, too.
- I didn't have a problem with MSU not running out the clock to end the half. That's a loser's mentality, especially near midfield. They went for it by passing. It's what they should have done, even if it backfired with the interception. It's not like the Spartans have a bad defense and Penn State a good offense.
- Maybe Mark Dantonio and the Spartans' coaching staff is a bit late to the party playing Tony Lippett both ways. Lippett played a lot defensively early in his MSU career. He's been a 1,000-yard receiver this year, and I would imagine that's where the NFL is looking at him primarily, although there is a tendency in the league to place high value on bigger cornerbacks. At 6-3, Lippett has a similar size-speed equation as Richard Sherman, who was initially a wide receiver at Stanford.  If he were a key part of the defense playing both ways for MSU, Lippett might have helped against Oregon and Ohio State, the games MSU's secondary was scorched.
- The Spartans' offense looks a bit too sluggish for comfort in this game, but Christian Hackenberg has not developed as expected at QB. Penn State really misses former Bill O'Brien, now the head coach of the NFL's Houston Texans, on offense. They aren't nearly as in sync nor as creative under James Franklin, who hasn't been able to develop a big-play receiver.

My column. Big Thanksgiving win by Detroit Lions suggest angst about Matthew Stafford misguided:


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