Why John L. gets to wear the big headset
"Should we have probably used Jehuu more? Yes."
-- John L. Smith, Detroit News 09/26/06
So this is why football coaches often say they have to go back and look at the film, I take it?
Wow. I mean, I watched the game at home on my TV, and came to a very similar conclusion as Michigan State's head coach. Hell, I even made that assessment while the game was still being played.
There are surely many reasons MSU lost that game Saturday in embarrassing fashion to Notre Dame - and I've read and heard most of them.
I'll try not to follow Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard, kick MSU while they're down, and say they're the only school in the country that would collapse like this. I have a few Spartan friends, and consoled them on Sunday and Monday. I was at the Lions game on Motor City Sports Magazine's credential, and as you might imagine, the collapse was the talk of the press lounge. Those in the media who are MSU alumni (and there are quite a few) were pretty damn angry - and sensitive.
But as long as I've watched football, I don't think I've ever understood why coaches, when their team runs out to a big lead, stops doing what established that margin in the first place.
Jehuu Cahlcrick was pretty much an unstoppable force on Saturday night, plowing between the tackles, mowing over anyone who got in his way. His size (6'0", 260 lbs.) and strength was overwhelming the Notre Dame defensive front seven. It was like watching a boulder flatten out Wile E. Coyote. He racked up 111 yards on only eight carries. Eight carries. And for almost the entire fourth quarter, he didn't touch the ball at all. You think he could've gotten a couple of first downs when the Spartans needed them most?
I'm not saying that's why MSU eventually lost the game. But I'd certainly tag it as evidence. Why did offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin steer away from what was so clearly working? John L. says it's because Notre Dame was bringing more defenders up the middle, and they preferred Javon Ringer running to the outside.
Sure, it's easy to look in hindsight and say that was obviously not the way to go. Even at the time, however, that seemed like a bad game plan, didn't it? I don't get it. But hey, that's why they get to wear the fancy headsets, I guess. I'm just listening to music with earbuds.