One down, 11 to go.
Ok so it was only a 26-13 victory over Western Michigan and their baby faced new coach and his weird “Row the Boat” mantra but a win is a win. Here’s some knee jerk reactions from week one.
Kurtis Drummond played like an animal last night.
Every year we have a couple young guys that take huge steps as they become upperclassman. That’s what has kept our defense so dominant under Dantonio and Narduzzi. This year it looks like Drummond is that guy. He was EVERYWHERE last night. A couple tackles, he broke up some passes, he took a lateral after a Jarius Jones interception and housed it, he had a great play on punt coverage that downed the Broncos at their own 1, and…..that pick. We’re one game in and already saw a grab that probably won’t be topped by another Spartan all year. If Drummond keeps this up, him and Lewis could be the best safety pairing in the conference.
This is something that will probably be unsustainable as we start playing Notre Dame then Big Ten teams but our D-line got their hands on a lot of passes. This could be a result of low trajectory throws from quarterbacks not used to playing against the size of Big Ten lineman or, I would like to think, an aggressive awareness from our linemen. Keep it up. Tipped balls cause chaos that typically favors the defense.
Sophomore quarterback Connor Cook is a tough dude.
On multiple runs he lowered his shoulder to get a couple more yards rather than slide or get out of bounds. I’m usually against that as it leads to injuries but Cook is 6’4”, 200 lbs, I think he can handle a hit or two. Is his ability to extend plays and/or take off with the ball something that our otherwise hapless offense needs? Possibly. With questions in the running and receiving game, any extra weapons or wrinkles in the offense are welcomed.
Jarius Jones looks more than ready to replace Johnny Adams. He had two interceptions (notice how easily he caught them too? Sure handed defenders is a luxury), one of which he made a heads up lateral to Drummond who was able to take it all the way.
He does it all.
Denicos Allen was EVERYWHERE last night. Five tackles, one sack, multiple pressures…the fifth year senior had a great start to the year.
STILL IN THE AIR
Jeremy Langford doesn’t have the same in-traffic awareness that LeVeon Bell had but did show great straight line speed when he was in the open and has above average hands (all of these things can be attributed to the fact that he’s a converted WR). He finished with 94 yards and a TD on 20 carries but did fumble late in the game. I’m not sold yet but I have a small amount of optimism for him.
We’re back to a two-quarterback system.
Remember when Kirk Cousins and Keith Nichol used to go back and forth at quarterback and neither were that impressive. Then Cousins got the nod and evolved into one of the most successful quarterbacks in team history. Quarterbacks are not meant to be rotated how runningbacks are. Maxwell came out hot (5-5 on the first driveIt keeps the offense in constant limbo and limits momentum. Before we go to South Bend someone needs to be anointed number one.
Connor Cook’s accuracy.
He missed a deep ball, he threw a low one to Mumphery in the back of the endzone that was dropped, he rolled out to his weak side and let a duck loose that was way short. He may be able to move but he’s not athletic enough to overcome inaccurate passing. This could be his downfall.
Bennie Fowler still not stepping up.
He needs to stop letting the ball come to him and GO GET THE BALL! On consecutive plays in the first half he let a catchable deep ball get batted away then dropped a slant route on third down that hit his body. You’re the number one receiver. Start acting like it.
The return game looked really bad.
Andre Sims misread 3 punts in the first half, nick hill bobbled a kickoff and had two miscommunications with his lead blocker where they wer on different pages on whether Hill was downing it or not. Minus one great punt return in the third quarter by Sims (33 yards) the entire unit was disappointing.
Unofficially we had 65 drops last year. Before I got sick of counting Burrbridge had one, Fowler had 2-3, Mumphery had one in the end zone on 3rd down, and Arnett had another in the end zone on 3rd down when he didn’t come back to the ball. Successful teams don’t do this.
Taylor Pepper had a bad snap to Sadler on a punt (that you could see Sadler yelling at him about) and a botched snap over the head of the holder on an extra point. You have one job dude. You’re why we can’t have nice things.
They definitely need to iron some things out next week against Youngstown State. If we don’t win by four scores I’ll be worried.