Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dawg questions, Spartan answers

You asked the questions and Mike provided the answers.

BourbonDawg - Who's the biggest deep threat for Michigan State?

-- B.J. Cunningham. He isn’t a burner, but he is great at going up and getting the ball. He has shown tremendous body control and athleticism throughout the year and is the leading receiver in MSU history. He also is Kirk Cousins’ go-to receiver. Keshawn Martin would be a close second because he is a burner, and has emerged as a downfield threat this season.

SugarHillDawg - Do you see the Spartan rush offense as a real threat to Georgia's defense?

-- I do, but not as a threat to post 200 yards or some crazy number like that. Le’Veon Bell has been playing really, really well lately and is hard to bring down. I do think they run the ball away from Jarvis Jones, especially early. Honestly, the run game for MSU will be the number one key to the game, because if they don’t get it going it will leave Georgia with the freedom to blitz and blitz and blitz Cousins.

CLT Dawg - How do you think the MSU offensive front matches up with Georgia's defensive front 7?

-- With the Georgia defensive line, pretty well. The front seven … the matchup isn’t as good. Jones obviously is scary, and Alec Ogletree is a great linebacker as well. Right tackle Dan France has his work cut out for him in blocking Jones. The tight ends (Brian Linthicum, Garrett Celek and Dion Sims) will be used in blocking plenty, as well as fullback Todd Anderson. The running backs, Bell and Larry Caper in particular, do a good job blocking, too.

The MSU offensive line was a real concern early in the season, but they have jelled very well of late and haven’t allowed a sack in five games. That will change against Georgia, but I do think they will do a good enough job for the offense to do some good things. The size and speed of the Georgia front seven, thought, would give Georgia an advantage against the offensive line of MSU.

RTDEW - How will the loss of your long snapper affect the Spartans' special teams?

-- Let me put it this way, had anyone heard about Matt Giampapa this season? No. Which means he does his job and doesn’t make mistakes. But, based on the fact that the freshman long snapper Matt Giampapa beat out Steve Moore in a competition late in the fall, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. The coaches certainly feel that way and are very strong in backing Moore – who has played in games this season.

MortonUGA - I haven't seen Mich St play. Is the QB very mobile? Are the defensive linemen quick off the block?

-- Cousins isn’t very mobile. He can run if he has to for a few yards, but won’t break off a 20-yard run or anything. They will run some play-action bootleg plays once in a while, but he will throw out of those sets. Backup Andrew Maxwell, who will be playing in the game is much more mobile. He is more of a threat to run and out of the bootlegs, he can definitely pull it down to run.

Jerel Worthy is the fastest defensive lineman off the block you will ever see. Too quick, in fact. In the past two years, I can think of at least five penalties for jumping offsides – including one in the Big Ten Championship Game. Ends Will Gholston and Marcus Rush also do a great job off the block, more so with Gholston, but none compare to Worthy.

5thYearSoph - Is the MSU offensive scheme centered on establishing the run and setting up the play-action pass? Also, does Cousins have the arm to really hurt teams deep?

-- It is run-based, and definitely uses plenty of play-action off the run. Mark Dantonio and offensive coordinator Dan Roushar will seek to establish Bell early, and then start trying to open it up. When I looked back at the Big Ten title game, the first quarter had eight runs play in two total plays, and the second quarter had 15-of-25 plays in Cousins’ hands.

Is he going to air it out 60 yards routinely? Not so much. But he can hurt teams downfield, but it will usually be done in a more finesse sense of a hitting a wide receiver down the sideline.  

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