The Big 10 Season Debut

 

The Spartans start off the Big 10 season with a narrow win over a Purdue team that hung in the game and was in a postion to win.  Once again for the second week in a row, MSU lost key personnel due to injury. This time Dennis Finley, the left tackle who was starting in place of Jack Conklin, went out with a broken leg. This prompted a shuffling of the offensive line. Center Jack Allen moved to left tackle and Brian Allen moving from left guard to center. There is plenty of versatility on the O-line, but continuity is a must. The Spartans still churned out close to 300 yards rushing. Defensively, R.J. Williamson was lost for what looks like the remainder of the regular season with a torn bicep injury. He joins Davis and Copeland as starters on the defense lost for the year. The depth on this team will surely be tested as the season continues.

The thing that concerns me the most is the passing game should be more productive that what is being shown so far. It seems to me that the play calling gets real conservative late in games when the Spartans are trying to close games out. The third down play called  on the Spartan’s drive prior to their defensive stand was terrible. Why not go down the field  with a pass instead of a swing pass to the back to pick up 2 yards. That swing pass had no chance at all! If your fifth-year senior QB cannot complete a two-yard pass to keep a drive going, there is a problem. However, the defense made a stand to seal the game, so a win is a win as in the eternal words of Al Davis: “just win, baby”  In my book, this game was too close for comfort. Up 21-0, it should have been a cake walk.

The schedule will get a lot tougher in the weeks to come. The next game is at Rutgers and this should be an easy win, but the following week is the Michigan game in Ann Arbor. The question is “are the Spartans playing down to their competition”? or “are they overrated”? We will see!!!

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See you in the Spring

The Detroit Tigers just finished a very disappointing seasoDetroit_Tigersn finishing in last place in a division they have owned the last four years. It looks like a very interesting off season coming up for them. I really believe that Ausmus was in way over his head as a manager, especially when he didn’t have a full deck. The bullpen was, lets’ say, invisible and the starting pitching unpredictable. When Miguel Cabrera went down on July 3, the team was still in contention. He would not play again until August 14, and the team he came back to looked far different than the one he left. The Tigers went 15-20 in the interim and were in bad enough shape at the deadline that they traded stars David Price and Yoenis Cespedes. Price led Toronto to AL East title and Cespedes played a huge role for the New York Mets in their NL East championship.

Shortly after the deadline, the Tigers let general manager Dave Dombrowski go and handed the GM duties to Al Avila. So, its anyone’s guess as to what happens next. One thing is for sure, that the pitching must improve before any success can be achieved. Verlander may not throw a 100 mph fastball in late innings anymore, but it looks like when healthy he can still be a dominant pitcher. Norris looks like a rising star and Sanchez is serviceable if healthy, but the bullpen needs an overhaul. We will have to wait and see on that.