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Posted on Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 9:38 a.m.

Another advantage: Michigan State anticipated Michigan's snaps

By Kyle Meinke


Part of the reason Denard Robinson was under constant pressure on Saturday, players said, was that Michigan State anticipated the Michigan snap. MSU had seven sacks on Saturday. The Wolverines had allowed two all season.

Melanie Maxwell |

There's no question the Michigan football team was outplayed and out-toughed by Michigan State, especially in the trenches.

But the Wolverines also were at a tactical disadvantage up front in their 28-14 loss Saturday.

Center David Molk confirmed on Monday reports that the Spartans anticipated Michigan's snaps and were getting a head start at the line of scrimmage.

"They did jump our snap count," Molk said. "They knew us, they knew how we played and how our plays were going to start."

Michigan State's Trenton Robinson originally told The Wolverine on Saturday his team could anticipate Molk's snaps because he bobbed his head down, then back up before he hiked the ball.


Something on your mind after Michigan's first loss of the year? Email your question or comment to football beat writer Kyle Meinke at kylemeinke@annarborcom for Thursday's column.

Also, join Meinke in a live chat at noon Thursday to talk more Michigan football.

Molk said Michigan recognized this during the game, but could not adjust because of the crowd at Spartan Stadium.

"Making an adjustment came down to our ability to communicate, and with the crowd noise, it sort of covered that," he said. "It puts us into a tough situation, and something we have to react to, and we weren't ready to react. They got us, no doubt."

Michigan State held the Wolverines to a season-low 82 rushing yards, and quarterback Denard Robinson had the worst start of his career, passing or throwing.

The Spartans also recorded seven sacks. Michigan had allowed only two all season.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke said he did not believe the Spartans had an extra advantage due to anticipating the snap count.

“I think everyone has an idea of snap counts from guns, because there’s a mechanic that every team has," he said. "We have a silent count, and we have a double-silent count. I don’t think that’s all the way correct.”

Michigan players thought otherwise.

"(Spartans defensive tackle) Jerel Worthy had a couple offsides penalties, and I think that's a testament to his quickness off the football, and him anticipating the snap count," senior tight end Kevin Koger said.

"It definitely is hard to block them when you have those guys jumping the snap. We have to switch it up a little bit, and that's on us to get to the line of scrimmage quickly enough so we can do that."

Other notes from Michigan's Monday news conference:

  • Hoke said his staff will be out recruiting during the off week, but he'll stay in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines will practice Tuesday and Thursday. Hoke declined to say what he will do Saturday.
  • Lewan_Taylor_11.jpg

    Taylor Lewan

  • Sophomore left tackle Taylor Lewan left the game during the first series for several plays, and later came up limping. He also was punched in the throat by Michigan State defensive lineman William Gholston. However, Hoke said he should be fine when the Wolverines play Purdue after the off week. "He’ll be all right," Hoke said. "He’s a tough sucker.”
  • Hoke said sophomore safety Marvin Robinson did not travel to East Lansing because he "still has some lingering (physical) issues." Robinson, who also did not play against Northwestern the previous week, had been expected to dress against MSU.
  • Hoke said senior linebacker Brandon Herron did not dress against Michigan State because he "still isn't where we want him to be."
  • Sophomore linebacker Cam Gordon (back) played for the first time this year against Michigan State, and recorded a special-teams tackle in his debut. However, he did not appear on defense, where redshirt freshman Jake Ryan continues to get the bulk of the snaps at weak-side linebacker. Hoke said Gordon "is much better than he was," but did not offer a timetable for his return to linebacker.
  • Hoke, on where he went when he left the field between the first and second quarters: "Well, that is really a personal question. I had to use the men’s room, and I’ve had to do it before. I drink a lot of coffee and a lot of water.”

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.



Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 8:52 p.m.

Remember, he was the third choice. Welcome to the BCS coach.

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 3:21 p.m.

I agree with Daggett on the uniforms. I don't have problem with number on the helmets but for crying out loud, leave it at that. Stop with the white pants, and the bumble bee shoulders! This is supposed to be Michigan. We know who we are, and what we stand for. These 'leagacy' uniforms are disgusting. These kinds of cheap gimmicks are for schools that have no identity. This is Michigan. It's time for Brandon to act like he understands that.

Lorain Steelmen

Thu, Oct 20, 2011 : 12:42 a.m.

RudeJude. RELAX! You are getting a little 'carried away' with all this. Keep the uniforms basic, that is, numbers on the helmets, no bumble bees, and NO white pants. Keep the yellow pants with the small block M. OK, on the score boards, but NO cheap advertising permitted. Ok, on an occasional night game, but not each year, if that means a night game with WMU...or whoever. If Brandon really wants to make a statement, then start scheduling some home and homes, with BIG name schools, and fan interest instead of all these MAC schools. I'm talking Alabama, LSU, WVU, USC, Texas, Florida, Tenna. If he needs to drop ND to get that done, then so be it. My point is, he does NOT have to sacrifice our traditions, aka uniforms to be relevant. Those uniforms, are part of who we ARE. Brandon must maintain that when he goes to the next step, not sacrifice it, to go to the next step.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 7:09 p.m.

If we really want to live in the "glory days," we should break away from the FBS and join whatever league our old conference-mate the University of Chicago is in...Division II or is it Division III? No worrying about corruption from money with so much more focus on academics. We can probably play Harvard and Yale again, remember when they were the top football programs?


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 7:02 p.m.

Michigan lost its identity somewhere near the end of the Lloyd Carr era and is still working to reestablish it in the everchanging world of college football. We can stay the same and become irrelevant (see Notre Dame) or continue to redefine our Michigan Tradition in the 21st century. Remember, Michigan broke tradition by being the first school with an electronic scoreboard (gasp!). Michigan is also among the first schools to have their games televised on a regular basis (oh no!). Did Michigan break tradition when it left the Big Ten in 1907, or when it accepted an invitation to participate in the first Rose Bowl? Did Michigan break tradition by updating its weightroom and practice facilities with modern equipment? Michigan used to have wing-less helmets too. Shame on Crisler for breaking away from that tradition. Traditions are only good until they're not, and a stagnant tradition is a dead one. To many, Dave Brandon seems like a money-driven CEO, but if you're paying attention, that's what big-time college football is about these days. I see Dave Brandon as a Michigan alumnus who loves Michigan football tradition and understands the new money-driven world of college football, protecting the essence and integrity of Michigan tradition while updating it in ways necessary to stay relevant in today's world. He found a capable coach with integrity who understands and LOVES Michigan and its traditions, who seems to be recruiting upstanding kids who LOVE Michigan too. The players still run out under the "M Club Supports You" banner, and we still sing Hail to the Victors, right? Those once-tradition breaking winged helmets are still worn, right? We're focused on defense again and using that traditional pro-set, run-focused offense again, right? So we play a neutral site nationally-televised game in Dallas, so we have a new scoreboard, so we play a home game or two at night every year, so we wore some throwback uniforms. So what? Go Blue


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 4:39 p.m.

Going to have to agree with you on this one.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 4:39 p.m.

Agree with you LS. This constant uniform change is sort of the anti-Michigan. Part of Michigan's beauty is its lack of change in uniforms. I did not like this week's uniform, though the white pants did have some basis as "throwback" from the 70s. But the numbers on the helmets seem too big to me. I don't like anything on the helmets personally, but if number is there at coach's request, I would prefer it be smaller so as to be nonobtrusive.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 3:20 p.m.

To some degree defenses always anticipate snaps. Sometimes they're wrong and get called offsides.

Ed daggett

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 3:28 p.m.

watch replay & you will see they were not "anticipating"---they knew snap count & that is on the M coaches and is inexcusable to cost the team this way

Ed daggett

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 3:11 p.m.

Terrible coaching on M staff to allow this to happen. Watch replay Molk looks between legs and when he brings his head up he snaps it immediatly & MSU is already coming full speed ahead. I thought we were supposed to get better coaching with this staff!! 4th & inches at six call works in MIAA but not Big Ten. Coaches talked of tradition & toughness yet punt at MSU 34 & squib kick. AD has turned into college version of Jerry Jones with the clown outfits M team wore on Sat. That is fifth uniform change this yr (2 jersey's a patch, pants, helmet numbers). Brandon is stomping tradition to make himself visable


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.

Er - what Trenton Robinson said before the game wasn't that MSU could anticipate the snap count. What he said was that David Molk was bobbing his head to draw defenders offside - and that it's illegal, but the refs almost never flag him for it. Big difference.


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 5:37 p.m.

Not really. But since you seem fixated on living in your own little fantasy world, you go right ahead and believe that. If you're going to complain about bad calls and malicious yanking on face masks, you should note the missed call on Lewand yanking Gohlston's facemask and mashing his face into the ground, the U-M player who twisted Baker's head (photo on but wasn't called for it, the bad spot on the fake field goal (runner's elbow clearly struck the 20-yard line as he went down, but they gave him another foot), the non-call on the U-M receiver who shoved an MSU defender O.B. with both hands on U-M's second possession (and Robinson promptly threw the ball five yards over his head), the bogus horse collar call, and the bad call on the late hit OB where the defender raised up his arms but still got flagged. Face it, there were plenty of bad calls to go around on both sides, as there are in most games. You got outmuscled and outplayed - again. Deal with it.

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 5:22 p.m.

zeeba. Looks like I hit a nerve! Hmmm, Does that make me a 'Spartan'? You know, a 'tough' guy? One that chokes players, when they can't defend themselves? Suit me up Coach Dantonio. I can injure several of those nasty old Badgers for you, on saturday night. Ha, ha...they'll never know what hit 'em!


Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 3:35 p.m.

Actually, since he made his comments before the game, he was talking about all the refs in U-M's previous games, Einstein. But you just couldn't pass up an opportunity to whine and complain, could you? My pregame prediction was that come Saturday night, U-M fans would have found something new to whine about - and I was right.

Lorain Steelmen

Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 3:30 p.m.

zeeba. Wait a minute... Are we talking about the same refs that don't know that a lateral, when fumbled, can be recovered by the defensive team, and that the ball changes hands? Are we talking about the same refs, that don't know that a taunt on a touchdown run, negates the touchdown, and the ball is spotted at the 5 yard line? Are we talking about the same refs, that see a malicious faced mask pulled, to snap a players neck, and fail to eject the offending player? Are we talking about the same refs that see a sucker punch to the throat, and fail to eject the REPEAT offender? Ohhh.........THOSE refs! All right, then!