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What Scrimmage Statistics Can Definitively Tell Us About MSU's 2011 Football Season

Warning -- contains satire.  The writer trusts the reader has the required sense of humor to appreciate the piece.

Last Saturday the football team had its first scrimmage of the Spring.  In the 115-play controlled affair (whatever controlled means, I'm guessing that it has something to do with play calls.  Or the Konami Code), the defense prevailed 55-45.  I don't know why the press releases release the score since the defense can score points in 18 different ways while the offense has 11 ways to put points.  If you think this lack of understanding is going to hamstring my predictions for the 2011 season though, you'd be dead wrong.  Let me present to you five things I know with 100% certainty.  PUT IT IN STONE:

  • Andrew Maxwell is WITHOUT A DOUBT, the best quarterback.  I mean, look at that stat line: 15 of 26, 116 yards, and one interception.  A bit lower than what we're used to, but look at Kirk Cousins's line: 6 of 16, 46 yards, and one interception as well.  Now you're going to say, "Pete, he's MSU's career leader in passing efficiency.  Pete, he led MSU to a 11-2 record last season.  Pete, he's one of the best leaders Michigan State football has ever had."  Now those are points that exist, but if sports talk radio and Bleacher Report have taught me anything, it's that REAL LEADERS PLAY HARD NO MATTER WHAT THE STAKES.  I don't care that receivers dropped three of Cousins's passes, and I don't think I'm overreacting when I say that those drops reflect poorly on Cousins's leadership abilities and character.  FOR SHAME.  
  • Your 2011 starting halfback -- Nick Hill.  Hill had 36 yards on 8 carries; that equals 4.5 yards per carry.  First-team backs Edwin Baker and Le'Veon Bell combined for 50 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns, that equals 3.56 yards per carry.  So yes, Baker and Bell are workable backs, but if the duo hold exactly to their combined average (and there's no evidence to the contrary on this), they'll barely pick up first downs by 0.68 yards on third down.  If Hill plays, he'll picks up a new set of downs by 3.5 yards on third down, so there should be no doubt who one of the starters will be in the backfield this season.
  • The offensive line will be nonexistent.  This is the only quote I could find in the press release regarding the line: 

We also have a number of young guys playing along the offensive line, so if there's a breakdown up there, things simply don't work."

When Pete "The Dominator" Rossman writes a recap (I give myself an awesome nickname to increase my "street cred" with my "readers"), he looks at three things written by syndicated columnists:  how often the line is called "hard-working".  how often they are described as "unheralded", and how often I read that "real football fans know that the game is won and lost on the line (Ed. Note - along with anyone who's ever watched a half of football in his or her life)."   I did not read anything that fell into any of the three categories, so I think it's safe to make the logical jump that there will be an offensive line consisting of toddlers (they are "young guys" after all), and they will spend their Fall Saturdays being tragically beaten to a pulp.


  • The offense doesn't have a receiver who can "step up".  Twelve different players caught passes in the scrimmage but I wish someone would've really "stepped up" and led the offense.  Some will say that this stat shows that the quarterbacks can make check downs and can get the ball to the open man.  I say that this shows poor leadership, and that Michigan State should be able to mold wide outs who are stars at the college level, which always translates to the pros.  If you disagree, I have two words for you: Charles. Rogers.  Point, Rossman.
  • The defense will be ten better than the offense.  Whatever the offense can do, the defense could've beat by ten.  Did 2011 starting quarterback Andrew Maxwell throw for 200 yards against Central Michigan?  Max Bullough could've thrown for 210.  If Nick Hill ran for 90 yards on 20 carries, Chris Norman could've ran for 100 yards on 20 carries.  If Dan Conroy made two field goals, William Gholston could've made 12.  In my opinion, I don't see what's stopping the coaching staff from playing the defense on offense.  If the defense is made of real "tough guys" and not "prima donnas", they'll learn both sides of the playbook and execute them flawlessly.

The Michigan State team has a long way to go, but if the coaching staff agrees with my superior opinions and starts the defense on offense (when they're not starting Maxwell and Hill), the Spartans will be a team that wins games this season instead of losing them. PUT IT IN STONE.