Michigan State football fans are struggling to find things to cheer about these days.
After Mel Tucker was suspended for his alleged involvement in a harassment scandal, the team responded by getting nearly blanked against Washington at home the following game. It took a fourth-quarter drive engineered by Katin Houser to score the lone touchdown of the game, losing 41-7 on Rose Bowl reunion day.
The following week, the Spartans got a shot against a beatable team with Maryland coming to town, but the offense once again didn’t come to play.
The Spartans lost 31-9 despite having seemingly all the momentum early in the fourth thanks to a long Houser drive which got them inside the 10 while down 21-9. A touchdown would have made it a one-score game with a whole quarter to play. Unfortunately, a poor play call and errant pass led to a pick on a halfback screen and the scoring drive was shut down.
But Houser’s drive was the best the offense had looked all day. Coincidence? Maybe, but probably not.
And yet Noah Kim still has Harlon Barnett’s vote of confidence.
Harlon Barnett questionably sticking with Kim
I’ll be the first to admit, I wasn’t on the Kim train before the season. I wanted Houser to be the starter because I felt like he had more of an upside. Through four games, it seems like that has come to fruition, but the coaching staff is sticking with the veteran.
Barnett announced that on Monday.
Look, I get it. I know all the responses will be: “They seem him in practice every day so obviously they’re going with the best guy.”
And while I can agree with that, what we’ve seen through two fourth-quarter appearances in the last two games should be enough to at least crack the door open for Houser. He has looked better in actual live action games against quality opponents than Kim has. And he’s played a fraction of the snaps.
At least see what you have in Houser before saying “no thanks” and sticking with Kim.
If Houser struggles mightily, then you can go back to Kim or you could even ease Houser in more with a drive or two in the first half, especially when the offense is getting blanked.
This decision by Barnett and the coaching staff could ultimately cost him a shot at interviewing for the full-time job after the season.