A look at this weekâ€™s opponentâ€¦
Michigan State will be facing a team whose color scheme is green and white, but it isnâ€™t EMU.Â This is a scrimmage.Â What they are really facing is themselves.Â Dantonio admitted as much this week saying about the game, â€œI wish we were playing tomorrow. I wish we were playing today. That’s how we feel. That’s how you feel after what happened last Saturday. You want to just get on with it and get back on the game field. You want to try to right a wrong. â€œ
He went on to add, â€œThis will be about us. This will be about who we are, this football team. It’s an opportunity to step forward, to show a response. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to show a response. Our players will be ready to play.â€ (Emphasis added by Spartan Nation.)
Some will say that this is disrespect of EMU and they are wrong.Â It is reality.Â EMU is a terrible football team; poorly coached, and the sixth best team in Michigan. You will find EMU behind MSU, UM, WMU, CMU and Grand Valley.
I do not respect or like their head coach Ron English, personally or professionally. When my career is over and I write a book, you will know why.Â It has nothing to do with him being a former Wolverine.Â I have immense respect for many Wolverines current and former.Â This week EMU will be pushed around, beat up, and essentially be paid to let the Spartans use them for their own personal workout.Â It wonâ€™t be pretty.
When MSU has the ballâ€¦
This is about the Spartans.Â They have to spend a lot of time on their passing game.Â They have to get work and time in for the offensive line.Â This will not be a game like CMU or WMU where the Spartans would call off the dogs.Â They have things to work on and not many reasons to play the nice host role.
I look for Maxwell to play the first three quarters and if things are rolling along, take a seat.Â If Dantonio isnâ€™t happy, he will stay in.Â The score doesnâ€™t matter the Spartans wonâ€™t stop no matter how far ahead they are.Â This is about them and getting things ready for the Big Ten season.
QB Andrew Maxwell may have said it more politically correct, but he still said it.Â â€œWe just want to get back on track as an offense, we want to get back to doing what we do best, that’s running the football, being effective in the passing game, having those explosive games. Coming out fast, finishing strong. That’s something we talk about every week.â€
When MSU is on defenseâ€¦
In the words of Clubber Lang (AKA Mr. T), â€œPAIN.â€Â This will be a dominating performance.Â I know for a fact the MSU coaches want the shut out in a bad way.Â A ton of players will play.Â The Spartans need this time to go after someone other than their own teammates and it will show.
The Spartans donâ€™t need any motivation for this game.Â Mark Dantonio summed it up best.Â He said, â€œWe want to play Eastern Michigan tough and make a statement.â€Â This is not a good week for EMU to come into the High Cathedral of the Spartan Nation:Â Spartan Stadium.
For those of you who donâ€™t know, the SID (Sports Information Department) of any school is essentially the public relations staff of that school.Â They send out game notes every week.Â They sent out the EMU set this week and on the front page listed, â€œRon English (the head coach) is 5-0 against Michigan State.â€Â All of that as an assistant at UM, and they had no mention that English is 8-31 as a head coach!Â No, I donâ€™t blame them for not saying that, they are the schoolâ€™s athletic PR arm, but the 5-0 comment rubbed some folks the wrong way.Â Trust me.
Mike Hart will be on the sidelines for EMU.Â He is now an assistant coach.Â In case you donâ€™t remember, Hart vs. Dantonio is a very personal thing.Â CLICK HERE to see how Mike Hart got it started.Â CLICK HERE to see Coach Dantonioâ€™s response.
When MSU faces WMU or CMU Mark Dantonio keeps in the front of his mind respect for the state and both programs.Â Donâ€™t think that enters into his thinking Saturday.
This will be a massacre.Â A beating is on the way.Â I may not like English, but I do like EMU and they have some great kids on that team.Â It is sad to see how bad they really are.Â This game has nothing to do with EMU and it is all about MSU.Â They have a BCS game on their mind, a Rose Bowl, and they have some big things to work on.
Dantonio stated what Saturday will be like on Tuesday.Â He said, â€œThe focus right now is at the task at hand, Eastern Michigan, getting better as a football team. The focus is on playing hard, doing the little things that allow us to win, doing the little things that allow us to dominate.â€
Make it MSU 62 and EMU 3.