Life trimmed much of Film Room’s leisure time this week. Consequently, this week’s Film Room blog entry is going to suck even more than it usually does, friends. Please accept our apology.
Now then, let’s get to this week’s opponent, Sparty.
Kill The Lights
For most of the last decade, Sparty’s defense looked a lot like the gif below:
However, in the last 2 seasons, a few immutable facts of existence have exerted a significant influence on Mark Dantonio’s approach. Namely,
- “quarters” coverage is notoriously difficult to teach;
- the press-man version Dantonio favored requires difficult-to-find, highly talented DBs;
- if/when you locate those highly talented DBs, they’re gone to the NFL in 3 years; and,
- offenses have generally caught up, and incorporate a ton of man-beater route concepts into their attacks.
As a consequence, Sparty now deploys a metric ton of zone coverage. And that has ruined what used to be a really easy column for Film Room. Don’t be surprised to see Sparty’s defense playing like the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday (except that Raequan Williams, Naquan Jones, Mike Panasiuk, and Joe Bachie represent significant upgrades in the center of that defense).
On the offensive side of the ball - look, if you’re not mentally scarred from the past two seasons, then you’re likely not a PSU fan. Ignore everyone who says “lol Sparty’s offense is terrible lol”. They mock Dantonio at their own peril.
Sure, Felton Davis III is finally, mercifully gone. Darrell Stewart Jr has taken his role. And it doesn’t matter a lick that Darrell’s dropped a fair number of footballs this season - just as it doesn’t matter that Brian Lewerke’s never completed 60% of his passes in a season. Because against PSU, he’s thrown for 700 yards and 4 scores in just 2 games. The new Sparty defense and slow pace of play will keep PSU under 30 points...which keeps Sparty’s offense in the game through the fourth quarter...which buys just enough time for Lewerke to lob a duck at Stewart, who some-crazy-how...anyhow, the threat is real, and it stinks.
Hit The Lights
Ignore anyone who is confident. Disdain feelings of happiness. Throw aside every argument that disparages Sparty, such as transfer portals or offensive coaches or whatever else. None of those matters.
In fact, all of that crap is actually Spartan fuel. Welcome to the Dark Side. Most people pursue love, family, praise, belonging. Dantonio and his team of misfits are powered solely by insults and slights. That’s it.
Anyhow - stay vigilant. The danger is real.