– The offense wasn’t bad over the first half of the season, but it stalled a bit too often. Offensive coordinator Josh Gattis and Jim Harbaugh, though, were able to flip things a bit, and it seemed to come at halftime in the loss to Penn State.
All of a sudden, the running game got nastier when it was time to pound, Shea Patterson and the passing attack were far more effective, and the team went on a run before dropping the dates to Ohio State and Alabama. Now it’s up to Joe Milton to take over the offense and make it his – and consistent.
Overall, the O was okay – averaging just over 400 yards and 32 points per game – but it needs to be more consistent, and it starts with getting more out of the quarterback.
– The top three tacklers are gone, but the defense that finished 11th in the nation and allowed just under 21 points per game has enough overall talent back to be great again, if the linebacking corps comes together right away.
The Wolverines lost leading tacklers Khaleke Hudson and Jordan Glasgow to the NFL, and not having hybrid pass rusher Josh Uche around anymore hurts even more.
The linebacking corps has the upside, talent, and range to be great early on, and the line should be a brick wall with a little bit of time.
Michigan State Spartans
– The Michigan State offense could use a fresh set of ideas. Jay Johnson takes over after running new head coach Mel Tucker’s Colorado offense last season, and he inherits a veteran bunch that turned the ball over way too often, couldn’t run the ball nearly as well as it should have, and ended up averaging just 372 yards and 22 points per game.
It all starts with a line that was beaten up throughout all of last season. The offense couldn’t get into much of a groove when game after game there were new parts up front, but at least the experience is in place. The passing game should come around, but the team’s season relies on the ground attack to do more after coming up with just 1,653 yards and averaging 3.5 yards per pop.
– How fast will the rebuild take? Mel Tucker worked his way up as a defensive coach, and defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton comes in from Kansas State to help figure out how to keep the Spartan defense going like it’s supposed to.
MSU’s D was a slight disappointment after a special 2018, but it still finished 18th in the nation overall allowing 322 yards and 22.5 points per game. Seven of the top ten tacklers are gone with six starters needing to be replaced.
The pass defense has to be a whole lot sharper, and the D line needs work – especially at tackle – but the linebacking corps will be strong. It won’t be an amazing group, but it’ll be good enough to not be a problem.