First I want to quote Eric Murtaugh's excellent write-up:
There was some bad, but also a lot of great play to boost this unit's grade.
First the bad: Gary Gray had another sub-par game (thankfully better than last week though), Cousins completed 34 passes, gained 329 yards through the air, and B.J. Cunningham had a big day with 12 receptions and 158 yards. In sum, there is plenty to work on and improve at corner and safety.
Now the good: The secondary made some plays at key moments with players like Harrison Smith (4 pass break ups) stepping up and forcing some incompletions late in the game to seal the victory.
But really, it was the Robert Blanton show.
However, I want to delve more into this subject and get everyone's thoughts. First, towards the end of the game Harrison Smith was making some crazy plays breaking up passes from his FS spot. While this is great, it got me wondering, can good QBs (Stanford's Andrew Luck, comes to mind) take advantage of his aggressiveness?
If you watch the tape, you can see Smith darting towards the ball on Cousin's first move. Granted, it was the end of the game, everybody knew Cousins had to throw the ball to get MSU back in the contest. But, I see a potential flaw in how Smith tracks the ball down with his aggressive, which worries me when the Irish play a team with a better pocket passer than Cousins.
I like Smith's aggressiveness, but I think better QBs will take advantage of this with a simple pump fake or looking him off. Luckily, we have a DL that might not give the QB time to do that, but, I think it's worth mentioning that Smith, while VERY good, can be exploited in this regard.
PS - I love how he plays...he's gritty and has a nose for the football, which are a great skills for a FS.