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2007 Michigan State Preview

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jun 18, 2007


Preview 2007 Michigan State Spartans

Michigan State Spartans

Preview 2007


By Pete Fiutak

- 2007 MSU Offense Preview | 2007 MSU Defense Preview
-
2007 MSU Depth Chart | 2006 CFN Michigan State Preview   

Is Michigan State a black hole for talented coaches?

John L. Smith built Louisville into the power that Bobby Petrino ran with, but he couldn’t stop the inconsistencies and meltdowns in East Lansing. Nick Saban is being paid the equivalent of the gross national product of a small African nation to coach Alabama, won a national title at LSU, and wasn’t as horrible as he was made out to be with the Miami Dolphins, yet he could only make MSU above-average. Mark Dantonio, a tremendous coaching prospect who made Cincinnati relevant in the Big East, will be the next to try his hand.

Head coach: Mark Dantonio
1st year
4th year overall: 19-17
Returning Lettermen: 54
Lettermen Lost: 19
Ten Best MSU Players
1. FS Otis Wiley, Jr.
2. RB Javon Ringer, Jr.
3. LB SirDarean Adams, Sr.
4. LB Kaleb Thornhill, Sr.
5. RB Jehuu Caulcrick, Sr.
6. PK Brett Swenson, Soph.
7. QB Brian Hoyer, Jr.
8. TE Kellen Davis, Sr.
9. OT Mike Gyetvai, Sr.
10. WR Terry Love, Sr.

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
4-8

Sept. 1

UAB

Sept. 8

Bowling Green

Sept. 15

Pitt

Sept. 22

at Notre Dame

Sept. 29

at Wisconsin

Oct. 6

Northwestern

Oct. 13

Indiana

Oct. 20

at Ohio State

Oct. 27

at Iowa

Nov. 3

Michigan

Nov. 10

at Purdue

Nov. 17

Penn State

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
8-4
2006 Results:
4-8
Preview 2006 predicted wins

9/2 Idaho  W 27-17
9/9 Eastern Mich W 52-20
9/16 at Pitt W 38-23
9/23 Notre Dame L 40-37
9/30 Illinois L 23-20
10/7 at Michigan  L 31-13
10/14 Ohio State L 38-7
10/21 at Nwestern W 41-38
10/28 at Indiana L 46-21
11/4 Purdue L 17-15
11/11 Minnesota L 31-18
11/18 at Penn State L 17-13

Despite dreams of grandeur, Michigan State will never be the consistent powerhouse Michigan is. That doesn’t mean it can’t be very good. Getting the athletes has never been a problem, and being explosive hasn’t been an issue. Being consistent and not going into the tank after a heartbreaking loss has been another story.

The first step for the new coaching staff is to make the players more accountable. Dantonio’s early goal is to empower the players and make this their program, and while he says part of the idea is to make sure everyone is having fun, after the Smith era, playtime is over.

Dantonio is a defensive coach by nature, and he should be able to take the experience and quickness of the MSU D and mold it into a far better unit than the one that got ripped apart by any team that decided to show up. The stronger the defense is right away, the less the likelihood for self-destruction.

The Spartans aren’t going to contend for the Big Ten title this year, and will be picked among the bottom five by just about everyone. That’s not a bad thing. They need a year of no expectations. They need a year when losing a game here and there really doesn’t matter all that much. They need a year to rebuild, and Dantonio will be able to do that. In other words, Michigan State can take a deep breath, play loose, and understand that the foundation is being built.


What to watch for on offense: Deciding on a quarterback to replace Drew Stanton might not be as big an issue as it’ll be made out to be. Dantonio had no problems using two quarterbacks when needed at Cincinnati last year, and the results weren’t that bad. Expect balance on offense, with an emphasis on the ground game early in the season.

What to watch for on defense: Dantonio loves to provide pressure and force teams out of their game plans. All teams want to do that, but Dantonio’s can do it. Expect lots of hits on the quarterback, a big emphasis on forcing turnovers, and everything possible to force offenses to be what they’re not. Cincinnati was great at that last year.

The team will be far better if … it doesn’t worry about making mistakes. The “oh no, it’s happening again” attitude crept in way too often under Smith, with errors magnified and all confidence vanishing whenever there was the slightest bit of adversity. This is a rebuilding year, and there are going to be problems. Getting past them and worrying about the next play is the key.   

The Schedule: Interesting early, nasty late. The Spartans must win their five home games against UAB, Bowling Green, Pitt, Northwestern and Indiana over the first half of the season, given the three road games (Ohio State, Iowa and Purdue), along with home dates with Michigan and Penn State, in the final five. Going on the road to play Notre Dame and Wisconsin in back-to-back weeks in late September isn’t going to make Dantonio’s first year any easier.

Best Offensive Player: Junior RB Javon Ringer.  He is the best option for an offense that’ll be looking to replace QB Drew Stanton and his top three receivers while scrapping the spread offense for a more traditional ground game.  Provided a couple of recent knee injuries don’t get in the way, Ringer is a slicing game-breaker who can hurt a defense in a multitude of different ways.        

Best Defensive Player: Junior S Otis Wiley.  In his first season as a full-timer last fall, Wiley emerged as a stopper for the Spartans, leading the team in both tackles and passes defended.  Blessed with terrific range and closing speed, he’s a few more pounds of muscle away from being one of this nation’s top players at free safety.  

Key player to a successful season: Junior QB Brian Hoyer. Appearing to be the leader and standout among the quarterback prospects to replace Drew Stanton, Hoyer, who threw four touchdown passes and three picks in limited duty last season, should provide some surprising consistency from the start. The Spartan offense and the new coaching staff aren’t starting from scratch.

The season will be a success if ... the Spartans come up with a winning season. There are just enough light and breezy games to set a good foundation of wins, but to get six wins or more for the first time in three years (yes, MSU has had three straight losing seasons), they need to come up with two road upsets.

Key game: Oct. 27th at Purdue. Usually, MSU goes into the tank right after the Michigan game. This year, the showdown with the Wolverines is late in the season as a home oasis in a four-game stretch. After going to Ohio State, the Spartans have to go to Iowa in the sandwich game before Michigan. A win at Purdue might be a must to avoid an ugly second half of the year.

2006 Fun Stats: 
- Second quarter scoring: Michigan State 57; Opponents 133
- Penalties: Michigan State 81 for 872 yards; Opponents 56 for 451 yards
- Rushing touchdowns: Michigan State 15; Opponents 8

  

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2007 Michigan State Preview - Defense
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2007 Michigan State Preview - Depth Chart
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