Against Michigan, They Just Call Him "John L Smith"

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Sure, with MSU's 7-1 start, Spartan coach John L. Smith had picked up the nickname John WWWWWWW-L Smith, but let's not forget that he was hired to beat Michigan and he's now 0-1 in that department. Memo to Spartanfan: this is a bigger game for MSU than for U-M. Both Notre Damn (bageled AGAIN this week! At home, no less! I think Touchdown Jesus was signalling 'Surrender!') and aOSU are bigger rivalries.

Chris Perry paid cash for every one of the 219 yards he gained Saturday; as far as I could tell, he never stepped out of bounds and he got hit hard on just about every carry. I suspected at the time that one of the reasons he got so many carries (besides the fact that MSU couldn't stop him) was that he'd have the bye week to rest; indeed, running backs coach Fred Jackson said as much:

"'He's always asking for 40 carries, and this is when he needed to carry 40 times,' running backs coach Fred Jackson said. 'I did not think he would carry 50 times, but since we had the bye week coming up I thought it would be OK.'"
I'm just glad he didn't fumble the ball - tired backs have the tendency to do that at the most inopportune times.

It's a shame that the final score doesn't reflect how much Michigan dominated that game - MSU only had two plays of any consequence: the long touchdown pass and the sack/fumble return. The latter happened when Michigan tried the same counter-bootleg they used for Mignery's TD pass - the same counter-bootleg that Brian Griese used about a hundred times during the '97 season (in fact, I'm pretty sure that all three Rose Bowl TDs were off that play). I wonder if State read the play in advance, or just happened to guess right on pretty much their only blitz of the day. Carr took some heat for the call, but I'm glad he tried that play - it shows he was going for the 'kill shot' that Michigan traditionally seems to have trouble delivering. My biggest regret is that now he may be less likely to go for a kill shot in the future.

I never put a whole lot of faith in the importance of a balanced offense, but the last two weeks has shown me the light. Neither Purdue nor MSU could afford to commit their defense to stopping half the attack for fear of the other half, and they ended up getting killed both ways. It's like Mr. Miyagi said in The Karate Kid:

"Man walk on road. Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk down middle, sooner or later, get squished just like grape."

It's clear now that Michigan has two teams: the one that played against Oregon, Iowa, Indiana, and Minnesota (first three quarters), and the one that played against everybody else. All they have to do is make sure that first team misses the bus, and they'll be fine.

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to further quote Miyagi-san, I view the balanced offense as the "crane technique" in that same movie:

"If properly use, no can defense."

That's why the Colts are 7-1 as of now-- the "1" is from a game of dismal attempts to run, run, run, despite instinct and better judgment. Most of the 7 come from the crane technique.

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This page contains a single entry by Chris published on November 5, 2003 11:24 AM.

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