Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Roushar the easy target for MSU's struggles


There is plenty of blame to go around at Michigan State this season for the Spartans’ current 5-6 record.
Of all of the blame that is getting passed out, it seems the most is going on second-year offensive coordinator, Dan Roushar.
It seems fair to say that the MSU defense has played better than the 5-6 record this year, which means that the offense is coming up short.
When you look at where the Spartans fit in the Big Ten picture, they currently rank 11th in scoring (19.7 ppg), ninth in yards (365.7 ypg), fourth in passing (2,482 yards) and ninth in rushing (1,541 yards).
In the national aspect, MSU ranks 110th in the nation in scoring, 70th in passing and 89th in rushing.
Another big stat working against Roushar this year is scoring in the red zone. The Spartans have scored at least a field goal in 32 of 39 red zone appearances this year, but have just 20 touchdowns in those 39 opportunities.
Settling for field goals instead of touchdowns has been a crucial reason for why Michigan State has come up short, especially when you consider its five Big Ten losses have come by a combined 13 points.
Roushar is just the play caller, and it takes the players to execute the plays that are called. But when the same issues come up week after week, someone has to shoulder the responsibility.
Against Northwestern, the Spartans fumbled in the red zone on a third and one, and later, were stopped on a fourth and goal from the 1-yard line as Le’Veon Bell was hit for a 3-yard loss as soon as he touched the ball.
The Spartans have had injury issues this year and have worked in a lot of new pieces at receiver, and certainly at quarterback with Andrew Maxwell replacing Kirk Cousins.
But the numbers have taken a dramatic dip from last year as MSU averaged 31 points per game.
So, should the blame be on Roushar, or should it be on the likes of Maxwell and the offensive players?
MSU head coach Mark Dantonio says the blame should be on him. He pointed that out during his weekly press conference on Tuesday saying:
“The responsibility for how we play, falls on me. That’s how it’s got to be. Everybody is soul searching, but it has to start at the top and trickle down, and that’s with me.”
Dantonio also said that evaluating his assistants is about a lot more than just what happens on the field.
Dantonio has always been a loyal guy and protective of his staff and players. Roushar has been with MSU since Dantonio has been head coach and the two were together for two years at Cincinnati. It would be surprising to see Dantonio fire Roushar after one bad season, but the pressure will be on Roushar next season to improve the offensive numbers and help improve the win total.

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