What You Emphasize, You Get| View Comments
The title of this blog was a statement made by head coach Mark Dantonio at Tuesday’s press conference. Coaches are always emphasizing discipline, mechanics, fundamentals, and execution. But there are other aspects coaches emphasize in order to win on the road, like last week in MSU's 37-21 beating of Iowa. They emphasized bringing a storm, to start fast, force turnovers, avoid penalties, and being physical. Every game could have a different emphasis in order to win. Every player is coached differently with a different emphasis to get better.
But now there is an emphasis on the here and now, with a clear vision of the future. Michigan State is in the here and now because its emphasized winning with continuity of talent and continuity of coaches as mandated by Coach Dantonio. Dantonio has also mandated 20 freshmen be redshirted. That type of emphasis should not go unnoticed. The future is very bright for MSU. Redshirting 20 freshmen is a clear sign that there is quality talent on the field for Michigan State. These young and talented freshmen are getting a good base while coaches place key areas of emphasis to get better. I can name a handful of programs in the country displaying the same emphasis exhibited by Michigan State. They are all successful.
On to Indiana
Michigan State will continue to emphasize areas of improvement when facing Indiana as well. This weekend's game is not about Indiana, it's about what MSU needs to do to get better before the bowl season.
Areas of emphasis are:
- Rushing offense – Michigan State is 12th in Big Ten (132.8 YPG). Hello Indiana! Indiana is worst in Big Ten at stopping the run. The Hoosiers yield 245 yards per game. Michigan State is never going to have a Big Ten leading rusher due to its back rotation, but Le’Veon Bell looks to be Michigan State’s best back. Bell is currently 9th in the Big Ten in rushing with an average of 64 yards per game - totaling 639 yards and 9 TDs. These numbers should improve, beginning this weekend.
- 3rd down conversions – Again, Michigan State is 12th in the conference, converting at only 35.4% (51/144). This will be emphasized more the last two games due to the spread attacks of Indiana and Northwestern. Michigan State’s offense has to stay on the field. By not converting on 3rd down, it affects the Red Zone offense, because the number of opportunities to get in the Red Zone is reduced.
- Red Zone Offense – 12th yet again for Michigan State as aforementioned in point #2, but if MSU does get in the Red Zone, it must cash in either by field goal or preferably touchdown. Michigan State is a league worst at 76.9% (30-39). This must improve and will be greatly emphasized Northwestern week.
Indiana is the starting point for these areas to improve. The Hoosiers are a young team playing 26 freshmen. But youth brings inexperience and mistakes, which is why Indiana has a 1-9 record overall, including 0-6 in Big Ten play. Defensively, Indiana is 12th in Rushing Defense (245 ypg), Total Defense (452 ypg), and Scoring Defense (36 ppg). The three weakest areas where Michigan State needs to improve its checklist. Indiana will prove to be a good confidence booster for Michigan State’s offense to close out the season strong. Then, the Spartans will be primed to go bowling.
About JimEntering his sixth season as analyst for the Spartan Sports Network, Jim Miller was a three-year starter for Coach George Perles at Michigan State.
What’s in your football head? I want to know!