Pregame: Illinois at Michigan State, Saturday, November 9th, 2:30pm CT, FS1

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#76
@Twangers awhile back you mentioned that the LBs and safeties were the two position groups most of place/terrible at positioning. Has that still been the case these past few weeks?
 
#77
@Twangers awhile back you mentioned that the LBs and safeties were the two position groups most of place/terrible at positioning. Has that still been the case these past few weeks?
I’ve seen marked improvements over the last 3 weeks, especially as it relates to the back half of the secondary. It does appear as though things have started to click. Some changes in personnel have made huge impacts to that room, there’s a noticeable difference in play when trading Devon/Tony and Stanley for Quan and Kerby (Kerby the most egregious offender, that kid was lost). Devon really impresses me. He’s getting to the right spots, he sinks his hips, flips and gets in stride with whomever he’s covering, he tackles. Hand usage is still an issue but he’s a string bean true freshman, that part will take time. I kinda scoffed at a couple guys who hyped him up during camp and I’m looking like a fool for it now. That kid has a future. For the backers, it’s better but still lacking. Milo is still routinely in the wrong spot and despite a nice second half yesterday, I wish he was merely rotating in with someone as opposed to playing all 3 downs. Jake Hansen is a bit of an enigma for me. Illinois Breakdown (Which, for note, does well offensively but only so-so defensively. Their Rutgers defensive breakdown was a complete waste of time) trashes him for missing gaps but his eyes are actually routinely leading him to the right spot. Jake simply doesn’t have the athletic ability to get there when he needs to be there. There was a play yesterday off guard that their back took for 7-8 yards or so that went right to Jake’s gap responsibility and he missed it but he didn’t misread it, he clearly sees the play develop and attempts to break. If he had Shammond Cooper’s natural, athletic ability he stuffs that play for a yard or two, if that.

Overall though, a lot of improvement. Kudos to the staff on a wild turn around, the kids are starting to get it.
 
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#78
Michigan State opens as a 12 point chalk vs Illinois. Get ready for a Illinois Straight up Win and cover for the Orange and Blue
 
#79
Morris, IL
So I’ve heard msu is bad on offense. Haven’t seen them play at all. What are they so bad at? What is/are their strength(s)?
Haven't seen them play at all. Highlights of their and our offensive stats from Bigten.org:
MSU:
23.9 pts per game vs. 21.0 pts per game opponents
117 yds rushing per game vs. 117 yds rushing per game opponents
240 yds passing per game vs. 197 yds passing per game opponents
357 yds total offense per game vs. 314 yds total offense per game opponents
Illini:
29.7 pts per game vs. 29.6 pts per game opponents
146 yds rushing per game vs. 195 yds rushing per game opponents
188 yds passing per game vs. 237 yds passing per game opponents
333 yds total offense per game vs. 432 yds total offense per game opponents
Since they appear to favor the passing game, it looks like a repeat of Purdue game weather would be welcomed.
Go Illini
 
#80
Haven't seen them play at all. Highlights of their and our offensive stats from Bigten.org:
MSU:
23.9 pts per game vs. 21.0 pts per game opponents
117 yds rushing per game vs. 117 yds rushing per game opponents
240 yds passing per game vs. 197 yds passing per game opponents
357 yds total offense per game vs. 314 yds total offense per game opponents
Illini:
29.7 pts per game vs. 29.6 pts per game opponents
146 yds rushing per game vs. 195 yds rushing per game opponents
188 yds passing per game vs. 237 yds passing per game opponents
333 yds total offense per game vs. 432 yds total offense per game opponents
Since they appear to favor the passing game, it looks like a repeat of Purdue game weather would be welcomed.
Go Illini
Doesn’t really matter but the source you’re citing has got some weird voodoo math going on there. MSU has scored 174 points this year and allowed 175 which renders it SLIGHTLY improbable that they would average 23.9 on offense and 21.0 on defense.

LOL, we don’t allow 29.6 either, we allow 24.7. Those guys need a better formula.
 
#81
Hey everyone. Remember for several weeks on these threads everyone was griping about Lovie's son being the linebacker's coach. Well, I would say they're the most improved unit on the defense. Also, we don't need discussion's on this thread between 3 or 4 people. It just adds to the difficulty to find the relevant opinion's of the fateful few. I chime in about twice a month, and even then I feel like why is my opinion so important to bother anybody.

Great weekend in Champaign
 
#82
Doesn’t really matter but the source you’re citing has got some weird voodoo math going on there. MSU has scored 174 points this year and allowed 175 which renders it SLIGHTLY improbable that they would average 23.9 on offense and 21.0 on defense.

LOL, we don’t allow 29.6 either, we allow 24.7. Those guys need a better formula.
maybe it’s just conference play? Would that make more sense for those numbers?
 
#83
Just North of the Southern border!
Past 3 games:

Illini last 3 vs. (all 8) games:
28.7 (29.7) pts per game vs. 13.0 (29.6) pts per game opponents
195 (146) yds rushing per game vs. 158 (195) yds rushing per game opponents
106 (188) yds passing per game vs. 162 (237) yds passing per game opponents
302 (333) yds total offense per game vs. 320 (432) yds total offense per game opponents
 
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#84
maybe it’s just conference play? Would that make more sense for those numbers?
No. If it were solely Big Ten play, MSU’s offense would average 17. Rough past 3 game stretch for them. At Ohio State, at Wisconsin and then Penn State.
 
#85
Morris, IL
Doesn’t really matter but the source you’re citing has got some weird voodoo math going on there. MSU has scored 174 points this year and allowed 175 which renders it SLIGHTLY improbable that they would average 23.9 on offense and 21.0 on defense.

LOL, we don’t allow 29.6 either, we allow 24.7. Those guys need a better formula.
Totally my bad. The stats are directly from the Bigten.org website, but I looked at the stat pages and Illinois' is only updated through the Wisconsin game (10/19) and Michigan State's are updated only through their game against Wisconsin (10/12). Come on BigTen.org, get with it!
 
#86
Totally my bad. The stats are directly from the Bigten.org website, but I looked at the stat pages and Illinois' is only updated through the Wisconsin game (10/19) and Michigan State's are updated only through their game against Wisconsin (10/12). Come on BigTen.org, get with it!
Ah, now that makes sense.

The kid Lewerke had a lot of problems against ASU and it sounds like those have carried over to the rest of the season. He’s got the same central issue as Brandon but with the opposite end result. They both struggle to correctly diagnose the defensive coverages pre and post snap. The difference is, when Brandon gets confused he hesitates which causes him to miss throws he shouldn’t miss and take sacks he shouldn’t take. With Lewerke, when he gets confused, he either bails on the pocket or he lets the ball go before the route develops. Left a lot of yards on the field against the Sun Devils.

Be interesting to see how we attack him. My gut says to blitz.
 
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#90
It might give us a few percentage points so I'll take it. Trying not to read in to it because no matter what they need to just win this game.
 
#91
Ah, now that makes sense.

The kid Lewerke had a lot of problems against ASU and it sounds like those have carried over to the rest of the season. He’s got the same central issue as Brandon but with the opposite end result. They both struggle to correctly diagnose the defensive coverages pre and post snap. The difference is, when Brandon gets confused he hesitates which causes him to miss throws he shouldn’t miss and take sacks he shouldn’t take. With Lewerke, when he gets confused, he either bails on the pocket or he lets the ball go before the route develops. Left a lot of yards on the field against the Sun Devils.

Be interesting to see how we attack him. My gut says to blitz.
I know you’re more tuned into the schematic side of things, but don’t we basically show our hand presnap every time?

We’re man with a single high safety or we’re cover 2 and you’ll know which one it is when you break the huddle.

Sometimes we’ll spice it up and fill those gaps presnap but just play the numbers that 90% of the time those guys drop back and there’s not a whole lot to really diagnose. What say you?
 
#92
Former Krush Cow
South Bend, IN
Michigan State likes to turn the ball over. It could be because of who they have played so far, but at 13 total, we will definitely have chances. It's not as bad as Nebraska Purdue or Rutgers, but it's not great.
 
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#94
Carbondale, IL
I know you’re more tuned into the schematic side of things, but don’t we basically show our hand presnap every time?

We’re man with a single high safety or we’re cover 2 and you’ll know which one it is when you break the huddle.

Sometimes we’ll spice it up and fill those gaps presnap but just play the numbers that 90% of the time those guys drop back and there’s not a whole lot to really diagnose. What say you?
We show blitz quite a bit then drop back into coverage. That's about the only pre-snap wrinkle I can see. 🤷‍♂️
 
#97
We show blitz quite a bit then drop back into coverage. That's about the only pre-snap wrinkle I can see. 🤷‍♂️
With the backers, sure. With the safeties, there's a lot going on that you probably don't see.

It's a bit more technical if you break it down but in general, FiveStar is correct. This defense is not designed to win through disguise.
 
#98
That's one thing I still can't stand. I can understand once in a while, but either blitz more out of that package or leave them back. It leaves them out of position in a lot of cases to have them show at the line that late.
We do blitz from those sets, quite a bit actually.

It won't leave them out of position, they'll be able to get to the spot. This is where recruiting better athletes makes all the difference, however.
 
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We do blitz from those sets, quite a bit actually.

It won't leave them out of position, they'll be able to get to the spot. This is where recruiting better athletes makes all the difference, however.
While I've grown to respect your perspective and knowledge over the last few weeks, I still have to disagree. I definitely agree that not as great athletes (Jake HAnsen has done well but is too slow to drop back when up at the line) hurts this, but we really do not dial up many blitzes with the two LBs up in the A gaps. In addition, if they were to run a stretch play or a QB rollout, they are out of position for both. I did like some of the blitzes they ran (Ayo was about to drill the QB when he threw the pick to Dele--I definitely think the pressure made him choose a bad throw) and have been happy with the ball hawking that continues.

Still, I have my reservations of how they will do against mobile QBs or heavy passing teams. MSU is such an interesting game. I'm glad I am not a betting man, because that is a tough one to figure out what will happen.
 
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