Aaron Burbridge, shades of last year’s defense and John L.’s clock management

EAST LANSING — Michigan State really ought to be ahead more than 10-3 over Iowa at the half. And that’s not just because of the John L. Smith-like botched last-second field goal attempt at the end of the second quarter.

Let’s start there, however. There never should’ve been a question that this was a run-to-the-line-and-spike situation. Not a rush-the-field-goal-unit-on deal. That there was confusion on this, to me, is amazing. It drives me nuts when coaches screw up logical situations that every fan and reporter can see and then, sometimes, act like the sport is too technical for us to understand.

If Andrew Maxwell just stays off the field in the final seconds, Le’Veon Bell might have been able to snap it and spike it in time.

Beyond that, MSU’s defense has done enough for this game to be 17-3 or so. It’s coming with big stops and turnovers. Denicos Allen has played his best half of the season. That said, Iowa is a horrible offense, sort of a poor man’s version of MSU right now. Fewer weapons and even less creativity.

The Spartans should get Aaron Burbridge more involved. He’s got two catches for 58 yards. He’s smooth with the ball in his hands and has a second gear that others don’t. He should be targeted once a series.

Colleague Chris Solari right now is watching the YouTube clip of John L. Smith’s 2005 halftime meltdown at Ohio State. Still priceless.

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13 Responses to Aaron Burbridge, shades of last year’s defense and John L.’s clock management

  1. avatar marky mark says:

    The whole game is reminiscent of the John L days! Challenge for 1 yard was that a joke? Then burn a timeout for a weak trick play attempt.

    • avatar SteveL says:

      What a sorry excuse for a football team. After this much time behind the wheel MD should have a program that is far above what we are seeing on the field regardless of who graduated last year. If you have the pipeline in place you should have people who can step in without the devestating drop in execution we are seeing in this year’s version of a collegiate football team. What disappointment across Spartan Nation for such a pathetic excuse of a football team and staff from the top down.

  2. avatar Hello says:

    Dantonio provides stability but hes clearly not an Xs&Os coach.
    He needs more experience and his offense needs to be more innovative.

  3. avatar AGSpartanFan says:

    This season reminds me an awful lot of 2009. Talent but young talent. Not ready to seal the deal in close games.

    Lets just hope it avoids the nasty icing on the cake that that season ended with at rather hall.

  4. avatar MLM89 says:

    For as great as this defense is supposed to be, it’s choked at critical times. Couldn’t get OSU of the field on their last drive, give up the TD today in the last minute. Hollis must force Dantonio to make some changes to the staff in the off season, starting with firing Roushar.

    • avatar AAsparty says:

      yeah, D is playing very good for the most part but I’m a little concerned that they can’t get a decent pass-rush unless they safety blitz, I think we’re really missing Worthy right now….

  5. avatar Dragon says:

    It is really simple. We aren’t very good, but think we are. At the first home game we got to hear the strength coach (on the $10million screen) tell the team about how to prepare if we want to “win and national championship”. Really? We are now out of excuses – we lost to team that isn’t very good either. Are we the same old Spartans?? Only if we beat Michigan. Lose to the inferior, beat the better. I think the coaches are doing fine. I mean why wouldn’t you pass the ball on a wet field with a shaky QB on 1st and goal from the 7 just because you have a back that is getting yards everytime he touches the ball. I am like the coach – it’s better to bamboozle the opposition than merely score touchdowns. And forget Hollis doing anything. He’s too busy being in front of the microphones.

  6. avatar coach says:

    to: Mark Dantonio, Nobody wants to hear , about the players need to make plays the coaches are terrible at play calling, you play to manage the game , instead of playing to win . you need to recruit athlectic quaterbacks , run up the score and go to a hurry up offense. your a pretender not a contender. let the backs hit the holes instead of following blocks speed , speed ,speed. however you won,t evolve. and msu needs to change to contend.

  7. avatar gm says:

    All the walmart slappies are stepping up here, so time for a little back down. Brutal loss, and brutal performance. The status is this, defense can hold, maybe not quite as good as last year. Offense is limited. Maxwell is a good qb, but I think they are running a trimmed down set of plays to keep things simple for everyone. With that said, you have to make those plays. Would Roushar be more creative with an experienced offense, maybe. Botched fg call, inexcusable and somebody needs to be taken out to the woodshed for that. Booing by fans, unacceptable. Take into account the facts above and set your expectations realistically. Down year, with good wins possible ahead. Start next Saturday.

    • avatar Breadtruck86 says:

      Indiana knows twice as many plays as we do, and their kids don’t seem to mind the extra learning. The plays are better designed and executed. Our offensive coaching and execution stink. Leadership matters here, and it starts with coaches

  8. avatar Gary Benassi says:

    Several observations from the Iowa game. First, why was Aaron Burbridge not in the game sooner and, then, for more plays? This kid is a gamebreaker. Second, where was Larry Caper? This guy is a very good receiver. Was he in the “witness protection program” on Saturday? Third, the botched field goal try at the end of the first half was priceless. That was straight out of the John L. playbook. Fourth, Pat Narduzzi and the defensive unit have to be called to task. They couldn’t get Ohio State off the field at the end of their game. They had Iowa 2nd and 26 at the end and let them complete a long pass which sent them on their way. Fifth, Andrew Maxwell is not making quick decisions. It seems like it takes him eons to go through his progressions and then make a decision. Mark Dantonio has done a tremendous job with this team. That said, this team needs more energy. The pace of the offensive play is often stodgy, there is a need for greater speed. Stop babying Maxwell and let him cut it loose more often.

  9. avatar GreenGuy says:

    OK – the only thing I got right in my Friday prediction was…rain. As I sat there in said rain, for the duration of this inept performance, I had these thoughts:

    1. How many interception opportunities (most fairly easy catches) can MSU DBs bobble and drop? I know the joke about “if they could catch they’d be WRs”, but the dropsies have become epidemic at MSU. The most heartbreaking – Dennard’s failure to secure the INT in the 2nd OT. Watched the play develop and saw the INT in my mind before the pass was delivered followed by disbelief.

    2. I think OC D. Roushar may be bi-polar or something. From bland and totally predictable on many calls, to interesting and opportunistic on a couple calls (drag route to Burbridge, a jet sweep and end-around with Mumphrey), to purely insane (Cook running the option inside their own 15 yard line). I’m sorry, but loyalty schmoyalty…Roushar is overmatched at this level.

    3. Special teams breakdowns, after emphasis and solid coaching in the past, are stunningly surprising. The first half failure to spike the ball is obvious (would have been a 49 yard FG attempt into the wind and rain), but the botched kickoff coverage – not staying in lanes to pin the return against the sideline – is inexcusable. To Iowa no less – with no foot speed anywhere on the roster.

    4. I think Graham let the defense off way too easy in his Sunday column…the dropped picks I already mentioned. What has not been emphasized is the incompetence of the MSU DC who had Iowa on approximately their own 30 yard line (this from memory, I don’t have the stomach to look at the tape) with a 2nd and 26 with 4:02 on the clock! Only, and I mean only, MSU and PN could muck that situation up. I watched in horror as PN called for his D to press corners and flatten out the safeties, leaving Dennard 1-on-1 on the outside. Sure enough, Iowa goes deep with a tall WR to convert the 2nd and 26. From that moment I knew it was going to be OT, and MSU would find a way to lose. Any other big time DC would have rushed 3, dropped 8 in some form of 3-5-3 umbrella look to force Vandenberg to either take a short low risk throw to the flat for 8-9 yards or a high risk throw 15+ yards into double or triple coverage. I’ll say it again, incompetent.

    5. So MD wants to “re-evaluate”…but he will remain loyal to both Roushar and Narduzzi to a fault. MD can talk about “moving forward” all he wants…the ceiling is limited by his OC and DC…and an obvious lack of B10 bodies on the OL.

    6. Fonoti comes back next year to start at RG, Burkland moves over to LT, maybe Conway at RT. Jackson and Allen 1-2 at OC. Treadwell at LG. Ominous lack of depth again.

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