Thursday, September 13, 2007

Where The Game Has To Be Won

Last week versus Grambling, the defense lost its most talented player, Gus Mustakas, for the entire year. This is bad news for Pitt as Michigan St. returns four starters on the offensive line. In addition to this, MSU's new head coach, Mark Dantonio, has installed adopted a power running game plan and philosophy to the Spartans offense. Everyone remembers Drew Stanton and the Spartans moving the ball at will in last years contest at Heinz Field. If Pitt has any chance of winning, then it starts with the defensive line. However, the big question is: how much better is this years defensive line.

I think in the first two games the defensive line has looked much better than our teams of the past. Obviously, Mustakas played at an All Big East caliber, but other than him Greg Romeus and Joe Clermond have both played very good football. Pitt has created pressure without blitzing which has led to turnovers and rushed passes. Michigan St. has an offensive line that is leaps and bounds above what we had already faced but I'm not convinced that they will be able to handle the rotation that we use on the line.

What the defensive line needs to do is get pressure on quarterback Brian Hoyer. When he drops back, get a hand in his face or get a hand on his body. The defense needs to take away the pass so that we can stack 8 in the box to shutdown the running game. Speed, strength and conditioning is what has been emphasized and that's what we need to bring against Michigan State's offensive line. Buddy Morris has turned this group into a 4 quarter presence, where every snap has the same intensity. If we are able to take away any semblance of a passing game without too much blitzing, then Michigan State's offense can be contained.

Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers are the best 3 ways we can neutralize the Michigan St. offense.


Anonymous said...

Any truth that Romeus was banged up in practice this week and is hobbled?

In hind-sight, Gus was a 2 to 3 star player coming out of high school in Florida, and yes I agree he is our best d-line player.

Kind of makes you wonder if the ratings really mean anything when these guys are being recruited as high school players.

Nice blog, hopefully we beat MSU.

Pitt Grad 1981

Cat Basket said...

Romeus did get hurt in practice. Right now he is 50/50 on playing. Although after talking to some of the coaches, the team is hungry and really wants to avenge last years loss. If I were to bet, I'd place my money on Romeus playing some in this game.