02 August 2011

Why the Spartans will Overcome Doubters in 2011

With the Spartan football season under a month away, I can personally feel a positive buzz in the air, an excitement in my heart, and with no surprise, a belittling attitude coming from the large number of critics that surround me. And, in their defense, I cannot blame them as our program has seen its share of ups and downs in the previous few years. From beating in-state rival Michigan Wolverines 3 consecutive years to being defeated by the Chippewas of Central Michigan, we've seen just about everything. Now, with another season looming in the near future, we hear the doubts once again from fans, critics, analysts, etc. However, the Spartans have enough pieces and potential to once again prove critics wrong in 2011.

The #1 uncertainty going into this season could be one of the team's strong suits if history repeats itself: the offensive line. Anchored by all-Big Ten left guard Joel Foreman, the line needs to fill in 3 important spots on the starting lineup. For many, this is considered a problem. For the Spartans, this is just another task to check off the to-do list as they had this same "issue" going into last season. Look what happened with that inexperienced, young offensive line. They played a large role in forming the team into one of the better rushing teams in the country.

In thinking back a year, you may remember the "log-jam" of personnel in the backfield. Larry Caper led the coalition of tailbacks; however, an injury shot him down the depth chart. Then, Edwin Baker came out of nowhere as the Spartan "back-up running back" to emerge as one of the elite running backs in the conference and in the country. Not to mention, Le'Veon Bell gave the squad a big bruiser to compliment Baker's fluent running style. Now, with Larry Caper back to 100% healthy and with Bell and Baker returning, this 3-headed monster at tailback will give opposing defenses a nightmare to deal with.

The Spartans return a strong defensive line headed by Jerel Worthy, a very talented junior tackle whom many believe will be a first round draft pick in the NFL draft after this season. The linebackers are young as they are filling the void of Greg Jones and Eric Gordon; however, a nice mixture of experience and talent will be filling those responsibilities. The secondary is led by junior cornerback Johnny Adams and senior free safety Trenton Robinson, the Spartans' leading returning tackler.

Last but not least, the Spartans have a very experienced quarterback returning in Kirk Cousins. He has played in the big games, he knows how to win, and he wants to make this team the best team the school has put on the football field. With a number of different weapons to work with (Cunningham, Martin, Nichol, Linthicum, Celek, Lippett, Fowler, and Sims), Cousins should put up some impressive numbers this season and lead a talented team to a very special season.

With all these factors working together, critics will be scratching their heads again wondering how the Spartans keep winning games. It's about time to realize that this team is going to be a special one and they will surely overcome the doubters once again. Go Green!


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