Michigan State Football: 11 Things the Spartans Do Very Well
Michigan State is coming of a terrific 2010 campaign in which they finished 11-2. Mark Dantonio went from a hospital bed to the Big Ten Coach of the Year.
With all of the problems that Ohio State and Co. are having, there is plenty of reason to believe that the Spartans will be the first Big Ten Championship game winner.
Here are 11 things the Michigan State Spartans do very well.
1: "Guard" the Offense
Dantonio will have two of the better offensive guards in the Big Ten blocking for him with Joel Foreman and Chris McDonald returning.
Foreman is an absolute monster who stands at 6'4 310 lbs. He was a Honorable mention All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and media, and named to the All-Big Ten second team by Rivals.com.
Scouts are taking a hard look at Foreman who obviously has his head on straight, evidenced by his Academic All-Big Ten selection for the third straight year.
McDonald will only be a Junior and he did not allow a sack in 2010, enough said.
The Spartans are in great shape up front behind two possible All-Americans at guard.
2: Run the Ball
Edwin Baker will be a household name by the end of the 2011 season. The true sophomore ranked fourth in the Big Ten and 30th in the nation with his 92.4-yard rushing average.
Baker rushed for over 1,200 yards in his second season at Michigan State. He was a Big-Ten First Team selection in the run-heavy conference.
He has the speed, quickness, agility and power to be a productive NFL back. Those same qualities will make him a legitimate Heisman candidate in 2011.
3: Big and Bad Up Front
The Spartans boast a plethora of returning players amongst the defensive line. These guys showed the Big Ten in 2010 that they will not let you ground and pound them.
Work for every yard against the Spartans is what you should expect in 2011. Michigan State will have one of the best defensive line's in the country this season.
4: Be Careful Where You Throw
Michigan State had a ridiculous 17 interceptions in 13 games last year. Even more incredibly was that they only allowed 18 TD passes.
Trenton Robinson led the team with four interceptions and will be back for more in 2011. Johnny Adams had three interceptions of his own, and the two All-Conference performers will undoubtedly be huge factors in the teams success.
5: Stop the Run
Losing team leader Greg Jones from the middle of any defense will negatively affect any linebacking corps, but Mark Dantonio has always put stout run defenses on the field.
The Spartans finished last season 20th in the nation in run defense. They allowed only 3.59 ypc for the season, impressive numbers to say the least.
To win in the Big Ten, teams must be able to run the ball well and stop the run. Michigan State will have both of those areas covered in 2011.
6: Bend but Don't Break
The Spartans allowed 22 points per game in 2010, but that doesn't tell the whole story about how dominating this group really was for the majority of the season.
The team's PPG numbers took a hit in the final two games of the season, but Michigan State has always taken pride in fielding a defense that may bend but doesn't break.
7: The Air Up There
Kirk Cousins will be back in 2011 to air the ball out some more. Cousins had a great 67% completion percentage in 2010, while throwing for 20 touchdowns.
Cousins started every game for MSU and averaged over 210 yards passing per game. With Edwin Baker and Cousins leading the way, the Spartans will have one of the most dynamic offenses in the country.
8: Big Play Potential
B.J. Cunningham had nine receiving touchdowns in 2010 and he will back for more in 2011. Cunningham averaged over 50 yards receiving per game.
Edwin Baker had 13 touchdowns in 2010 with a long of 80 yards. With Keshawn Martin and outstanding backup Le'Veon Bell seeing more touches in 2011, the Spartans can score in a variety of ways.
Michigan State will boast one of the most exciting and dynamic offenses in 2011. Big play's will be aplenty in East Lansing this coming season.
9: It's Good
Michigan State boasts one of the best kickers in the country in Dan Conroy. If you need proof, he made 94 percent of his field goals (15-for-16) and 98 percent of his PATs (45-for-46) in 2010.
He also made his first 14 field goals that he attempted in college. Needless to say he led the Spartans in scoring in 2010 with 87.
Conroy is a huge weapon that Michigan State will have back in 2010. Conroy quite simply does not leave points on the field.
10: Always Well Prepared
Mark Dantonio became a national darling in 2010 after what he went through. Dantonio suffered an apparent heart attack after last years win over Notre Dame.
Dantonio's team seemed to unite and grow even stronger as a group. He was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year and was a legitimate National Coach of the Year candidate.
Dantonio has shown that he recruits quality players that are high-quality people. Michigan State has one of the best in the business in Mark Dantonio.
11: It's Going to Be Loud
Spartans stadium, one of the best venues in America. It also has one of the best names as well.
The home of the Green and White will enter its 88th season in 2011 and there is a distinctive home-field advantage in East Lansing.
The Spartans have won over 69% of their home games since the stadium was built 1923. 75,000 strong jam-pack this stadium every home-game and create one of the most intimidating atmospheres in all of sports.
Michigan State loves cheering on their Spartans and they will have plenty to cheer about in 2011.