MSU Football: What Changes Would You Make?
November 27th, 2016 by I Believe

The 2016 MSU football season was an abomination. One reporter who covers the Spartans says MSU failed in every aspect of the game this season, a point that is hard to argue. But was it an anomaly and, if so, how much of one?

In previous posts, I’ve shared how former MSU seasons have gone sour after significant success – even under Duffy – and recently posted a link to a New York Times article in which we learn that Mark Dantonio still talks weekly with his mentor, Jim Tressel, and that even Mr. Sweatervest once suffered through a 3-8 season (at Youngstown State) only to win the national championship two years later.

Michigan State was seemingly riding high, having won two of the last three B1G titles, earned a berth in the FBS playoff, and put together its best recruiting class which included more early enrollees than any other. Coach Dantonio and his staff are putting together another strong recruiting class, so the future is seemingly bright. One member of the 2017 class even tweeted last night that the newest group of Spartans would return MSU to greatness.

Mark Dantonio is unconditionally loyal, and has already declared he will not be making any staff changes. Am curious to know, with other coaching changes in the works across the nation, if any members of the current staff will depart for other opportunities after such a disappointing season. (Sometimes it’s better to self-purge.)

Recruiting and at least one victory each season could get more difficult for the Spartans if P.J. Fleck, whose first coaching job was as a grad assistant at Ohio State under Jim Tressel during the Buckeyes’ 2006 season which ended in a loss to Florida in the BCS title game, leaves Kalamazoo for South Bend. Brian Kelly is apparently looking for other opportunities and Fleck would be a dynamic choice for Notre Dame, which will be seeking a disciplinarian after the academic scandal cost it two seasons of victories.

The Spartans’ first order of business for the 2017 season is a team (soul searching) meeting at 7 a.m. Monday. Put on your coaching cap and share your five agenda items for that meeting. Then include the three changes you’d make as head coach between now and the Spring practice sessions.

Together, we’ll get through this as we are Spartans For Life who have #SpartansWill.


7 Responses  
  • USMC Retired writes:
    November 27th, 20167:51 amat

    1. Work harder in the off season
    2. Work harder in the off season
    3. Study harder in the off season Classes)
    4. Study harder in the off season (film)
    5 Stay away from social media, booze, drugs, and girls who want you to indulge in same

    1. Play calling duties on Offense
    2. Play calling duties on Defense
    3. Overall approach to the game – people all have said that Coach Dantonio is a risk taker – maybe 2 or 3 times a season, I think that has to be that many times a game. LEARN the strengths and weaknesses of your kids and don’t force them cookie cutter into what YOU think is the only way to play – it did NOT work this year and there is no reason to think the frosh coming in or the kids that are there will miraculously blossom in to all stars in your system. If there is no adaptation, next year will be the same – Other schools know what to expect and when to expect it.

  • I Believe writes:
    November 27th, 20168:48 amat

    1. Compare and contrast results of 2013, 2014 and 2015 seasons vs. 2016 to illustrate success is possible and expected – and that 3-9 is not acceptable.
    2. Lowlight reel of the most embarrassing moments from the 2016 season to emphasize how bad the team truly was in 2016, and to illustrate no position was immune. An attention-getter to instill a serious and somber tone.
    3. Declaration that there is no depth chart as of today. Open season on all positions.
    4. Apologies from the coaching staff, that they are just as responsible for the 2016 results, and brief statements on changes they plan to make going forward.
    5. Inspiration from Coach Mannie in which he stresses the university has made a huge investment in a new weight room that opens January 1 and it is the responsibility of every team member to respect that investment by putting in as much time as possible in their physical development for next season … that MSU lost essentially every game in the second half.

    1. Continue the serious / somber tone in the post-season banquet. Reward deserving individuals but remind the team 3-9 is nothing to celebrate.
    2. End the co-coordinator experiment. Dyad leadership is a hot paradigm in corporate management right now (instilled 18 months ago the University of Mississippi Medical Center), but it doesn’t work at MSU. Promote Warner and Tressel, re-assign Bollman and let Barnett focus on the DBs.
    3. Player-by-player review, detailing strengths / weaknesses, and modifying the over-arching offensive and defensive schemes accordingly. (Echoing USMC’s No. 3 point above – adapt to fit your talent.)

    A few closing thoughts:
    Pay P.J. Fleck whatever he wants to bring him in as OC (put Warner in charge of QBs, encourage Bollman to retire) with the idea he is the heir apparent when Coach Dantonio retires. (Much like the Jud / Izzo transition.) Not going to happen, but it is a great fantasy of mine. (I’m hearing / reading that if WMU wins the MAC, the Cotton Bowl wants Michigan vs. Western Michigan.)

    Messiah deWeaver is the starting QB from Day 1 of spring practice, and LJ Scott is No. 1 at running back. No roulettes. If they fail early, they fail early. Patience. 2017 figures to be another rebuilding season, especially with trips to Columbus and Ann Arbor on the schedule.

    Another failure of this season: Coach Dantonio was seemingly unaware that LJ was 6 yards short of 1,000 for the season, yet didn’t give him carries late to try and eclipse the mark. Would have been a nice capper to an otherwise awful season.

  • GoSt8Go writes:
    November 27th, 201612:23 pmat

    Not ready to fully bite IB, it would come off as too armchair. With no bowl game MD and staff will have plenty of time to “reflect”. I would be disappointed come Spring if this coaching staff and lead assignments stayed exactly the same. Yet, I’ve told too many young managers that when you make an org change, you get exactly that, an org change, nothing more, nothing less.

    It’s amazing how important the QB has become for this team after observing Cousins, Maxwell, Cook and TOC. That said, this program became special when it’s Defense became nasty. I’d rather have that.

  • JerseyJohn writes:
    November 27th, 20161:11 pmat

    not much to add to these solutions. I would give the coaches a pass until this abomination recurs next season. I will say however, that if we lose to Penn State at home next year, I want them all fired including Dantonio. I was in the camp that losing Narduzzi was the main defensive problem, but looking at Pitt’s results this year make me think otherwise.

    • JerseyJohn writes:
      November 27th, 20161:37 pmat

      back to Narduzzi. I always thought he was a bit of a loose cannon and would not be suitable as a head coach. I now think that when Dantonio does call it quits he might be the fire and brimstone type that we need. thank heaven he did his job this year by beating Penn State or that team may be heading to the still mythical and overhyped final 4. I still fear that they might make it as Wisconsin’s QB is hurt. another week of hiding in my basement. and when the Packers lose to the Eagles Monday night, it will complete my week of hell.

  • Ben Green writes:
    November 27th, 20161:32 pmat

    Good points by everyone here. I think the first order of business is for Mark Dantonio and his coaching staff to recognize the culpability they have in this disastrous season. Graduations and injuries were certainly contributing factors, but those alone would not have resulted in a 3-9 season. Given the supposedly better recruiting classes over each of the past several years it’s inexplicable to me the degree to which this team failed.

    The Spartans were leading at the half of 6 games this season, tied in 2 others. Of the 4 they trailed at the half, in 3 games they were within 1, 2, and 7 points. Opponent coaches made halftime adjustments. MSU coaches failed to do so, making it appear, at least, that they were out-coached in a vast majority of games.

    Every facet of the team must be evaluated, starting with the coaching staff. Why Danonio would declare there will be no coaching changes without a full evaluation is baffling. Every position should be evaluated, starting at the top, Mark Dantonio and each of his coaches. I agree the co-coordinator experiment must be questioned.

  • JerseyJohn writes:
    November 28th, 20165:55 pmat

    one change I would make for a season or two would be the naming of team captains. no more team vote. the head coach names the captains. sometimes a dictatorship works.

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