Balanced Offensive Attack Key For MSU

Cousins Not Afraid To Run Offense vs Tech Defense

Michigan State (6-6) is a full touchdown underdog to the (8-4) Texas Tech Red Raiders despite the turmoil that has swirled around Lubbock in recent days. Rather than hope for a less than optimum effort from TT, MSU is planning to come in with a balanced attack to try to keep the Red Raiders offense off the field.

Michigan State (6-6) is a full touchdown underdog to the (8-4) Texas Tech Red Raiders despite the turmoil that has swirled around Lubbock in recent days.

Rather than hope for a less than optimum effort from TT, MSU is planning to come in with a balanced attack to try to keep the Red Raiders offense off the field.

"Certainly against a very explosive opponent, in terms of what they do on offense, I'm sure it would be to our advantage to certainly be a balanced team, to be able to run the football, take some time with the clock, and do what we do," said offensive coordinator Don Treadwell.

"That being the case also there's some things that we do and that Kirk does very well. If we are throwing the football, he'll throw where his reads take him and those types of things. We won't handcuff ourselves either, at the same point."

MSU needs its two highly recruited running backs, Larry Caper and Edwin Baker to excel the way they did at their respective high schools in order to have a shot against the Big 12 power.

"I think it's huge to have chemistry between ourselves (the offensive line) and the two running backs," said MSU senior center Joel Nitchman.

"First off, they're two talented, talented running backs, so they really make us look good at times. I think we first just have to be able to execute on our side. If they get a little bit of a seam, they'll take it and go far with it. Knowing what they like to do and the cuts they like to do, it doesn't exactly affect our blocks, but at the same time, it's nice to know where they're looking to go."

Senior wide receiver Blair White, who himself was an unknown commodity until his coming out party at the 2008 Champs Sports Bowl hopes that tonight is sophomore receiver Keshawn Martin's time to shine.

"I see it as a challenge. We have these guys out, but Keshawn (Martin) and some other guys are going to be able to step in. Personally, if you want to call it pressure, you can go ahead and call it that, I'm just excited to go out there and make as many plays as I can...I just think we really want to get this win because there's been a lot of negatives, and we're just excited to get out on Saturday and bring back some positives for the program and get a win."

Quarterback Kirk Cousins said that he plans to focus on White and Martin and also use his plethora of four talented tight ends, Garrett Celek, Charlie Gantt, Brian Lithicum and Dion Sims to keep the chains moving.

"We've had to mix it around with our personnel groupings and figure some things out there in the past month, so we have a pretty good feel for what we're going to be doing on Saturday," said Cousins.

"We have Blair (White) and we have Keshawn (Martin), and they have shown what they can do all season. That hasn't changed and it's not going to change on Saturday. We're very excited about getting them the football. We've talked all season about the four tight ends we have and we're going to use those guys as much as we can on Saturday night. We have a great gameplan in, a lot of offense in, so there's a lot there and we're excited about the opportunity to go showcase it."

Those tight ends will be critical against Tech's rugged defensive line which ranks second in the nation in sacks. MSU will need them to get "chip blocks" against senior defensive end Brandon Sharpe who is second in the nation with 15 sacks, ahead of such luminaries as TCU's Jerry Hughes, Nebraska's Ndamukong Suh and Michigan's Brandon Graham.

"We're always trying to evaluate every snap what the defense is doing and getting the best play possible. At the same time, Coach Treadwell is going to put us in a great situation all game long, so we'll just roll with what gets called, and if I feel we need to get into a better play or what I'm coached to get out of, then we'll do that. We have our reads and we have our indicators that we'll look for, and we'll go from there."

MSU had talked about using backup quarterback Keith Nichol as an extra wideout in some sets maybe in a wide receiver option play or something similar but look for the Spartans to use more two and three tight end sets that using Nichol on the outside.

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