3 Keys To The Season, Offense: #1, Pound Green Pound

3 Keys To The Season, Offense: #1, Pound Green Pound

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3 Keys To The Season, Offense: #1, Pound Green Pound

With the 2018 season weeks away, we’re taking a good look at the three keys to the season for the Spartans – three keys on offense and three keys on defense.  The #1 key to the offense’s ability to deliver wins on Saturdays this Fall is broken down here.

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The Michigan State football program has become a Top 10 program for a lot of reasons.

Talent up and down the roster.

Skill, expertise, experience, and continuity across the coaching staff.

Strategic recruiting that is highlighted by an eye for diamonds in the rough.

Player development.

A commitment to hard work on a daily basis, all year round.

The creation of an atmosphere – the 2016 season notwithstanding – that fosters togetherness and strong team chemistry.

And a commitment to concentrating every day of the year on doing everything it takes to defeat UMAA.

But, when it comes to the specific moments deep within the realities of the games that are played on Saturdays, the success of the program has been predicated on interior toughness, power. and strength.

Successfully running the football is what opens the doors to everything else for the Spartans.

When Michigan State won the Big Ten Championship in the title game in 2015 over Iowa, that final drive will forever be a rock solid representation of what Pound Green Pound means to the Spartan program.

The epic drive was a grinder that went for 82 yards on 22 plays that took up an astonishing 9:04 of game time.

Of those 22 plays, 17 of them were runs.

The final twelve plays of that drive – including, of course, LJ Scott’s never-to-be-forgotten plow across the goal line – were runs.

It might not have been pretty – but winning the Big Ten Championship for the third time in the Dantonio Era was beautiful.

That 9:04 chunk of clock that the Spartans gobbled up on that drive – it reminds us that time of possession continues to be a major part of the success of the program and the ability to extend drives, gain tough yardage, keep the clock moving.

Everything grows out of the ability to pound the ball.

In 2017, Michigan State was third in the nation with an average time of possession of 35:19 per game (opponents had the ball an average of 24:41 per game).

Despite the fact that Michigan State averaged a somewhat unimpressive 167 yards per game (good for only 7th in the Big Ten), the Spartans were able to grind out tough yardage, hang on to the ball, keep the clock moving, and demoralize the opposing defense.

In 2018, Michigan State has a shot at extending that time of possession to an even greater edge and piling up even more tough yards on the ground.

Even without NFL-bound former center and team leader, Brain Allen, the Spartans have, perhaps, more depth, athleticism, and experience on the offensive line than at any other time during the Dantonio Era.

Matt Allen is expected to pick things up right where his brother left them off at center – and he’ll be surrounded by experienced and versatile beefeaters like Cole Chewins, AJ Acuri, David Beedle, Luke Campbell, Tyler Higby, Kevin Jarvis, Jordan Reid, and others.

And with LJ Scott opting to return to East Lansing for a final opportunity to recapture the magic of that brawny Big Ten Championship winning score against Iowa in 2015, fans would be wise to be long on the Spartans’ running game.

Improving on last season’s 167 yards per game seems more than realistic.

LJ Scott appears ready to break the 1,000 mark for the first time in his years as a Spartan.

And Connor Heyward will become a featured back, more than capable of handling plenty of snaps in order to spell LJ when necessary.

The ability to pound it will, of course, allow Brian Lewerke to exploit the defense’s need to concentrate on stopping the ground game – and he’ll take advantage of the size and athleticism of Felton Davis, Cody White, Darrell Stewart, and Cam Chambers at opportune moments.

The commitment to that interior toughness and power is what opens everything up for the Spartans.

The #1 key to the Spartan offensive attack becomes obvious and essential – Pound Green Pound.

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