Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Who deserves the most blame for MSU's 2012 football season?

Even with a victory in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, this has been a disappointing football season for Michigan State.
Not many could have seen a 7-6 season coming into training camp.
The Spartans had one of the top defenses in the country on paper and were coming off back-to-back 11-win seasons. Despite some concerns about the offense, few would have expected what Michigan State turned out to be in 2012.
Perhaps as disappointing as the record is that the Spartans weren’t far off from having another strong season.
MSU’s five losses in Big Ten play came by a combined 13 points and the Spartans had ample opportunities to win each of those games. Michigan State went from a team that could snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat in 2010 and 2011, to a team that snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory in 2012.
It’s hard to put much blame on the defense. Despite allowing some big plays at inopportune times, the MSU defense still played well enough to have a successful season. When you rank ninth in the country in scoring, you would expect to be at least an 8-win team.
The real issue this season was the offense, which ranked 110th nationally in scoring at 20 points per game. The offense couldn’t consistently put up enough points for a number of reasons, but all of them added up to cost the Spartans five of their six losses.
To me, there are five areas of blame for this season, and all directly relate to the offense.
First is head coach Mark Dantonio. He has to take responsibility for the 7-6 record as he is the head coach. There were plenty of embarrassing moments during the season that were a direct reflection of the coaching staff.
Second is offensive coordinator Dan Roushar. He seems to be the top culprit in the eyes of many MSU fans. The Spartan offense is his responsibility and they were awful. The offense was even awful in the bowl game after four weeks of uninterrupted preparation.
Third would be quarterback Andrew Maxwell. Perhaps an offense, or an offensive coordinator, is only as good as his quarterback. Maxwell was not nearly as good as coaches and fans hoped he would be, throwing for 2,606 yards with 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions while completing just 52.5 percent of his passes. He consistently threw short of the sticks on third downs and showed little mobility when forced out of the pocket.
Fourth is the offensive line. Injuries played a role in their struggles, but they allowed Maxwell to be sacked 21 times and pressured countless other times. Despite having a solid back in Le’Veon Bell, the line failed to provide consistent running lanes for him, which stalled out a lot of drives.
Fifth is the receivers. Though the young and inexperienced receivers improved throughout the season, drops were an issue early on in the year and they cost the Spartans a few games. Was it bad hands, or bad throws?
What are your thoughts? Who should be held most responsible for MSU’s 7-6 season in 2012?


  1. You forgot Dan Conroy. He makes a few more field goals they have 2-3 more wins and it's a very different season.

  2. I don't disagree Andy, but the red zone offense also could have helped that situation by not settling for field goals.

  3. For sure. I'm not sure if that's more on Maxwell or Roushar, to be honest. It was a frustrating season to follow as an MSU fan. That Iowa loss was a killer. I think another thing though that came to mind for me was the fact that the last two years MSU has really won most of those close games that could've gone either way. This year they lost them. Not all, but many of them.