I think Sparty will run a game plan very similar to Iowa. They will try to establish the run and then hit us with play action and screen passes. On defense they are going to come after us with pressure from the first snap. We will need to play our best game of the year on both sides of the ball to win.
I don't think it is being negative to worry about our defense ability to perform at the level we expect from an OSU defense. To a certain extent we were spoiled during the Tressel years when we fielded a defense that we were confident could win games sometimes without the help of the offense. The worm has definitely turned in that regard. We now have an offense that can win simply by out scoring the opponent.
What I saw yesterday was a defense that was in position several times to make game changing plays. For whatever reason, we were not always able to finish either Gardner or the RB was able to wriggle free. Our defense faced a steady diet of misdirection and screen passes and our aggressive tendencies seemed to work against us. Folks want to talk about the youth of Michigan's offense, but our defense has it's share of youth as well.
I would love to roll out the 02 and 05 defense every year, but those teams don't just materialize naturally. They are developed over time and tend to be the perfect mix of skill and experience.
Is our defense the weakness of this team? Absolutely. Are they capable of playing better? Certainly. Should we be allowed to critically assess their performance? I think as fans, this is the reason we come to sights like this.
Next Saturday should be interesting, as we will be on the receiving end of Tresselball and the dreaded Bollman offense.