Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weekend Recap: More confused than ever

I give up.
I am done trying to figure out Michigan and Michigan State this year, or the entire Big Ten for that matter.
Here are my final thoughts on the Spartans and Wolverines for the weekend.

Just a few weeks ago, nobody was giving more praise to the Spartans than I was. I legitimately thought this team was a top-10 caliber program.
The defense looked so tough that I thought the Spartans could overcome all their offensive woes.
Turns out, I might be wrong.
Notre Dame was able to dominate MSU and then Eastern Michigan came into Spartan Stadium on Saturday and gave the Spartans a scare.
The defense was solid, but the offense was putrid.
There were drops, bad passes and plenty of offensive line issues. The only bright spot was Le’Veon Bell, but he had to do it all himself for the most part.
MSU can’t continue to rely on Bell to take 35 carries a game and survive. It is clear that when Bell is not on the field, the rest of the offense can’t function.
As Big Ten play starts, MSU is in need of a quick fix that might not be coming.
Mark Dantonio is on edge over the offense, as I said in my column for The Oakland Press.
The receivers need to start making plays and that should help Maxwell settle in at quarterback. The early drops seem to be getting into his head and that has led to some bad throws.
Right now, this team is all about Bell and defense and you can’t expect them to be perfect all the time.

We all knew Denard Robinson wasn’t a great passer.
But, that had to be frustrating to watch.
The Michigan defense finally had a really solid performance this season, but it was washed away by an awful showing from the offense.
That game was Michigan’s for the taking, but when a team has six turnovers, it is hard to overcome.
I credit Robinson for shouldering all the blame. It shows leadership on his part. His problem is he continues to make amateur mistakes when throwing the ball. When under pressure, he has to throw the ball away or take a sack, not force something into the opposition.
I can understand wanting to make a play, but sometimes the best play to be made is the safest won. The way the defense played on Saturday, Denard didn’t have to win the game, he just had to not lose it. But, he did lose it.
The good news for Michigan is that it seems to be closer to solving its problems than Michigan State right now.
Denard will continue to put up impressive numbers against mediocre Big Ten defenses and the defense should keep improving with each week.
The test will come in those close games and whether Robinson will help or harm the Wolverines.
As great of a player and a weapon that he is, he still has the potential for a meltdown. It is the live by the sword, die by the sword situation that the Michigan offense is in.
Maybe this will be the game gets Robinson more composed and turns the season around. Time will tell.

Big Ten
On a final note, and in all seriousness, is this the worst the Big Ten has ever been?

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