Where is the running game?

I know, it’s lame.  It’s Friday night before the next game and I haven’t even managed to post about last weeks win yet!  Not that I’m in to excuses or anything, but I’ve made 3 trips to Yost since the last game and if you haven’t gone over to check out the hockey blog, just stop by http://yostsection25.com and let me know what you think!  So, add the start of hockey season to a very busy work schedule and this post has been seriously delayed.

If this keeps up, you’ll think I’m a one trick pony always complaining about the running game.  No, I’m not talking about Superman. We all know Denard is there and when he produces we have a great chance of winning against anyone.  We need to be prepared for the game when Denard stumbles across the kryptonite that has been buried on the field somewhere.  We need a dependable running game from our running backs.  Of all the things I expect Brady Hoke will be able to deliver, I always thought a solid run game might be one of the easiest, but our running backs continue to under perform.

From over here in section 9, it seems clear to me that the backs are tentative when they run.  They aren’t hitting the holes they are sliding and trying to find them. Fitz used to hit the hole whether it was there or not and wasn’t afraid to initiate contact.  Vincent Smith could tuck in behind a big lineman and then cut off of him at the first sign of a crease.  I’m not seeing this kind of running out of our backs.  A few weeks ago I mentioned in a post that Fitz did so much better when he ran like he was angry.  Well someone over there, do something to make the guy mad so he’ll run the way we saw him run last year.  In the big ten you don’t need your RB’s to lay down sacrifice bunts, they are supposed to be your triple crown winners.

The deeper we get into the big ten season, the more difficult it’s going to be for us to depend on just Denard for all of our offense.  I’ve said over and over that the guy is magic, but sooner or later all of the hits he takes and all of the wear and tear of those yards is going to start to wear him down and if there is no one else to shoulder the load we are going to be in a world of hurt.   This week may not be as much of a test, although sometimes Illinois has a way of getting up for this game and giving us fits.  We can’t look past the Illini, but if we get to the MSU game and we haven’t found another way to run the ball besides Denard, it may be a very, very long day.

I wish I was going to be at the game tomorrow (this time work inteferes :( ), I get a lot better feel for the improvements of the team when I can see them live, but my general feel was that there was solid improvement everywhere else in the game last week.  The tackling seemed solid, the pass rush was better the coverage was better, the run support was better.  There really wasn’t a lot to complain about in a very solid performance by the team.  We need to continue to improve each week just like we did between ND and Purdue.

Because this is late, I’m going to cut this short and the DVR will be on tomorrow so that I can get a look at what happens.  Hold down my spot in the Big House and bring home a homecoming victory and we’ll talk more about the team as seen from Section 9 as we head into MSU week.

I don’t have any pictures from this week of course, so I’m going to pull a couple from the archives.  They are fun if not painful in some sort of way as well.  Hope you enjoy them.  From Section 9, see you next week.