The depth chart has been released for the Central Michigan game, with a few changes from last week:
- The center spot says Blake Treadwell OR Travis Jackson, but Treadwell is out for this week with an MCL sprain. Barring the bizarre occurring Travis Jackson will get his first start for Michigan State on Saturday.
- Jared McGaha is also out with an MCL sprain; he might not be back until the Michigan game. To compensate, Micajah Reynolds has once again moved from the defensive line to backup left tackle. I've got nothing against Reynolds, but if France goes out, you can start twitching uncontrollably.
- As expected, Fou Fonoti is the starter at right tackle, with Henry Conway backing him up. After all the neck problems Conway has had I'm happy to see him on the depth chart.
- Bennie Fowler is back on the depth chart, backing up Keshawn Martin at the "Z" receiver spot.
- Kevin Pickelman has apparently pulled even with Anthony Rashad White at nose tackle, because they're now listed as co-starters.
- Dion Sims is listed as a co-starter with Brian Linthicum and Garrett Celek. That was only a matter of time.
Everything else is as usual. Y'know, if having to cobble together an offensive line from backups is usual, which it is about every other football season.
Other things after the jump, in bullet point form.
- Central Michigan lost to Western 44-14 last week, and even though Western scored 44 points, what is slightly (and I do emphasize slightly) concerning is how Western's run game was stymied. The Broncos averaged 2.6 yards a rush. I'd like to say Western's line is beneath the caliber of MSU's but if I'm being honest...I'm not so sure right now. Michigan State has the talent, but I'm unsure if they have the coordination between all five linemen needed to stop blitzers, run block, and assorted other offensive line stuff. The silver lining is that Western Michigan threw for over 50 yards on 28-38 passing from Alex Carder. I would not be surprised if Kirk Cousins did something similar.
- The line for this game is somewhere around Michigan State -24, which I think might be a touchdown too high. However, MSU could win this game somewhere along the lines of 30-3; Central only had one offensive touchdown last week.
- I was looking through the Notre Dame stats, and one thing that struck me was the yards per play MSU held Notre Dame to about 4.7 yards per play, below the NCAA median of 5.3 this year. While tackling was suspect at times (CIERRE WOOD IS NOT COVERED IN CRISCO CONSARN IT), it was easily the best any team has played defensively against the Fighting Irish this year. You know the old adage "Defense wins football games" (note -- this can be ascribed to anything: "Defense wins basketball games!" "Defense wins checkers!" "Defense wins Bingo games at the American Legion hall!")? The Spartans will have to hope that's true this season.
Lastly, a note of hope -- MSU's not the only Big Ten contender that's looked poor. Northwestern lost to Army, a 1-2 team with losses to San Diego State and Northern Illinois. Ohio State could only put up 6 points at Miami, a team that lost to Maryland to start the season. Penn State's quarterback changes with Joe Paterno's mood. Who knows what'll happen to Michigan if they have to play from behind against a defense not prone to massive gaffes. While things look dark for MSU right now, they're not alone.