Penn State Dream Team Series: How Kraigen’s Defense Will Try to Limit Michael Robinson to Come out Victorious

Each For The Glory writer has picked their team. The coaches have put the players through a hard week of practice and preparation. Now, it is time for my Penn State Dream Team from 1994-2019 to clash with the Dream Teams of both Cory Lestochi and Brandon Musso. Here is how each of my opponents will be defeated.

My team vs Brandon Musso’s Dream Team

When Brandon has the ball; I have found one glaring spot of his offense that will allow my defense to hold their offense in check, Michael Robinson’s accuracy throwing the football. In his 2005 season where he was Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, Robinson still only maintained a 52% completion percentage. Nothing spectacular about that. So, there will be several ways my defense will look to use that to their advantage.

-Stack the box with eight men including Safety Marcus Allen, essentially forcing the team to throw.
-Use a variety of players to QB Spy on Robinson as a way to confuse him.
-Play a zone defense to keep him contained on a potential scramble and to force him to squeeze the ball into certain windows of the defense when he is throwing
-Use the zone defense to limit the big play capabilities of a Joe Moorhead offense

In a way, I am expecting Saquon Barkley to be able to “get his”. He is too good of a player not to create plays when he gets the ball in his hands. However, if I can have Tom Bradley and Larry Johnson Sr. confuse Michael Robinson when he is looking to throw or looking to scramble, then I think that is when inefficiency and even turnovers could plague Brandon’s offense.

When my team has the ball, I am looking to run to set up the pass and then passing to set up the run. Whether Kerry Collins is in the shotgun formation or under center, I will open the game by establishing the run behind an excellent offensive line and a top notch blocking tight end. From there, the offense will expand by stretching the defense both horizontally and vertically. As Barkley gets going with the ball, play action passes deep down the field to big targets like Allen Robinson and Bryant Johnson will take a defense that is creeping up towards the line of scrimmage and put them back on their heels as these top-notch receivers run past them. When expanding the defense horizontally, quick screen passes to the receivers and quick passes to Barkley out of the backfield will force Brandon’s defense to cover not only the length of the field, but also the width of the field. That is what is amazing about my receivers; they all can catch screen passes and create plays after the catch for big gains in addition to catching the ball down the field.  By having an accurate QB in Collins, drives can be sustained by “matriculating the ball down the field” with Barkley helping him in the backfield, as well.

Overall, I think my efficient offense will be able to dominate the game and the time of possession. I do not think I will be able to score on every possession; Brandon’s defense is too good to allow so many points. But, I can certainly see my offense being able to move the ball down the field behind Barkley’s running ability and Collins’s efficiency at QB, even against a potent pass rush.  So, even if a few drives fizzle out after getting a few first downs that is ok. Then, Jeremy Kapinos can pin Brandon’s offense deep in their own territory and limit the offensive play calling of Joe Moorhead. This would be an intense game to watch but Dream Team will pull it out behind Bill O’Brien’s steady offensive attack.

Kraigen beats Brandon 24-17

My Team vs Cory Lestochi’s Dream Team

Now facing Cory’s team, my defense has to be less focused on Michael Robinson and more concerned about limiting the two running backs, Saquon Barkley and Larry Johnson. Those two players are both powerful runners and great receivers, meaning one of them if not both of them could certainly be split out wide. My defense would have to continue to account for Robinson’s scrambling ability by playing a zone defense. But, I would limit the use of a spy because those two running backs concern me too much. So here is my defensive game plan:

Stack the box and force Robinson to throw. 

That is the key to my entire defense, forcing Robinson to throw. Out of the three players in the backfield, Saquon and Johnson scare me so much more than Robinson does. Therefore, if I am going to get beat, it will be by Michael Robinson throwing the football all over the yard and as I said earlier, I will take the chance on a 52% passer.

Offensively, I will deploy a similar attack on Cory as I did on Brandon, setting up the pass by running and setting up the run by passing. Personally, I believe my offense is too well balanced in the running game and the short, medium, and deep passing game, as well. The key for me will be trying to keep Cory’s offense off the field and the best way to do it will be utilizing those different facets of the game to keep drives going. If my offense can maintain that high level of balance and keep time of possession on our side, we should be in pretty good shape throughout the game.

This is really a clash in styles as Cory has an offense that is ground and pound, with the potential for big plays with Allen Robinson and Mike Gesicki, and sure handedness of Jordan Norwood while my offense is very balanced in all aspects of the game. Cory’s offense really scares me with his two dynamic running backs that are not only great runners, but also great receivers. I believe this would be a battle of time of possession. If his running back tandem of Saquon Barkley and Larry Johnson, along with Michael Robinson at QB can run the ball throughout the game and win time of possession, then he wins. If my well-balanced offense can hold on to the ball and win time of possession then I believe I win. I believe that is what will happen in this matchup as my offense wins a shootout.

Kraigen beats Cory 34-28



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