Hondo, Greetings from behind the Blue Wall! We have lost to three teams who our defense has kept in check and been beat by broken plays, ad libs, ie. Miller OSU, Robinson UM, Notre Dame. Now granted these guys make their living with their feet but why can’t we expect an occasional boot on the goal line, or have him occasionally tuck it and run when nothing is open?  Chris

Great question Chris.  It is one Mark Dantonio addressed this week.  He admitted that Maxwell has missed some chances to run.  I also asked Maxwell about it.  He said, “I think you can look at the first third down in the game where I kind of scrambled out, tried to throw it down to Larry down the sideline. There’s definitely an opportunity to pick up some yards. You can go back to last week in overtime against Iowa where on the third down before we kicked the field goal, I kind of put it high in the back of the end zone. That’s an opportunity where maybe I score, maybe I don’t. I get as close if I run.  Since I’ve been here, I’ve been so ingrained into being a drop‑back passer, make plays with my arm, it isn’t second nature for me yet to see, okay, I’m going to go. Looking from the film the last couple of weeks, I could definitely look at putting in a premium and putting emphasis on that in practice and carrying that into the game.”  There you go, a long answer from the horse’s mouth.


Last week I had an email from a man named William.  We got over 50 emails to his need.  Here is one of them:

Regarding question from William, the fan who was denied access because his wife must bring medical supplies…… there is a solution.

Many of the security people at the stadium are often insensitive jerks and the security policies are overly intrusive, as this fan indicated.

However, my wife developed similar medical issues after a series of serious surgeries, and in fact must carry both oral and injectable medicine (in a hypodermic syringe) with her at all times. We wrote Hollis and were told that patients with such medical needs must enter the stadium at the farthest Southwest corner of GATE C where a security guard and a State Police Officer are always available to check people with special medical needs. They check my wife’s small carry-in pouch containing her medicines then give her a special wrist band designating her as a person whose medical needs were accommodated after a security check, and I enter the stadium at the gate next to this and wait for her. Note the wrist bands change weekly to prevent forgeries. If it were not for this security checking, my wife would not be able to attend games either, but this resolved the issue for us and we appreciate the flexibility afforded us.

Tell the writer that it still is a hassle on some weeks, as not every security person is easy to work with, but that the University does have a policy to accommodate such special needs. What I don’t understand is how they can be so tough on some of us who need no scrutiny, yet still let some people in with liquor, as a fan near us goes downstairs several times each game to “take a nip.”
HJ Buter—56 year season ticket holders  Holland, MI


Hey Hondo, at this point in the season, is the program safe enough to weather the storm and rebound next year? Because, the fans are WORRIED!  Aaron Jupp

Of course they are Aaron.  The big key now is how far they drop.  When Dantonio arrived people would have been thrilled for any bowl.  Now they are looking at Rose Bowl and other big dreams.  This staff has to find a way to stop the bleeding.  If the Spartans lose this weekend, as I suspect they will, the biggest game of the Dantonio era will come next with Nebraska.  This is a tough year, but there is no doubt that the program is safe enough to weather this storm.


Hondo, I am a huge fan of your site and your show. I live in a house divided. My wife is a Huge Michigan Fan and I am a huge Spartan Fan, so this time of year is always great. I told her at the beginning of the year that Michigan’s O and D lines would not be as good as last years because of the lack of depth and graduations. I also told her that MSU’s O and D lines would be much improved because of Depth and experience. I was wrong; I believe both of MSU’s lines not to be as good as Michigan’s. Is this because our coaches are not teaching our kids the techniques they need for us to be successful? Jay

Great question.  I think the coaching on the defensive line is very good.  I think the offensive line is difficult to tell.  With so many losses, that has to enter into your thinking, but look at the youngsters in Jack Allen, Travis Jackson, and even Donovan Clark’s performance last week.  All are doing well.  France and Tready came over from the DL.  In the spirit of total honesty I think, the jury is out.  As far as the DL, teams have changed how they play against that line.  Quick passes and getting the ball to the outside fast are just two of the ways.  This week Wisconsin won’t change and we will learn a lot. 


If Edwin Baker had stayed we would have won the game because he would have broken off some big runs. Had the MSU coaching staff played Nick Tompkins they would have won because he would have been the change of pace back who would have complimented Bell.  MSU needed a thunder and lightning this year. Instead, they have the slowest rushing attack in the country which makes them very easy to defend. That is on the coaching staff for being too cute with the redshirting.  Joe

Great points.  Now is not the time to get into this with the staff, but I also question the choice to red shirt Tompkins.  I am going to ask at the end of the year and I am also going to dig on the playing of Macgarrett Kings and losing the redshirt and then using him minimally.  Questioning red shirts come at the end of the year from my end to them, but it is germane and one that makes a ton of sense.  How about not using Jeremy Langford?  He is a burner.  If Langford is not used this weekend I will ask about him again next week, but the Tompkins questions will come at the end.


Sure hope Michael Sadler gets due credit after this game! He can be counted on.  Mary Morgan

I agree.  Never said he couldn’t be counted on.  I simply said after game six was that Pepper was the special teams MVP because of his youth and the position.  Please remember that Sadler was my preseason vote for 1st Team B1G punter.


Hondo, I’m wondering why we don’t put more emphasis on recruiting Offensive Linemen. This current crop has not been able to protect Maxwell nor has it been able to open holes for the running game. I know you think that Bell’s yardage totals indicate good blocking but that is not what I see – he’s getting the yardage on his own. MSU obviously needs to rethink its offensive strategy for the future. We should never be in the position of having an “iffy” placekicker kicking when we only need two feet for a first down yet we seem to be doing that over and over including against U of M.  Kent Johnson

You don’t think they put a ton of emphasis on it?  More?  Come on Kent.  You can question the coaching and the play, but obviously you aren’t around the program at all because it is a huge area and constantly addressed.  Current crop?  You mean Jack Allen, Travis Jackson, and Donovan Clark?  They are the young pups and are playing very well.  Do you mean France and Tready who came over from the DL to cover OL injuries?  Barrent, Conway, or Ray who were injured?  I agree that the OL has been tough.  To say that it isn’t getting the attention needed in recruiting is a stretch.  As mentioned above, you can ask questions about the coaching, but the jury is out for the reasons already stated.  We have a stable of young OL that were highly sought after and coming. No one wants to hear that they are coming, I get that.  Things aren’t perfect.  I agree, but to act like they aren’t addressing and working on it is incorrect.  Now to question how they are addressing and working on it is fair, just don’t act they aren’t emphasizing it.


Hondo, I never want to read about Dan Conroy kicking a field goal again.  Don’t tell me how great of a kid he is. I am sure.  He gets a scholarship to make the kicks not kick them.  Why not let another kicker take a shot?  What is the worst that can happen?  Miss and we lose?  We are already doing that with Conroy.  Matt in Chicago

Well, I am going to say it again, he is a good kid.  His kicking is struggling.  Opposing kickers are 15/15 this year while Dan is 15/21.  In fairness to all of the email I get, the young man is a former 1st team All-Big Ten kicker and is second all-time in career field goal percentage hitting .783.  All of those stats are important to look at to temper your comments with.  Having taken those into account it doesn’t change that he is struggling.  Dantonio has acknowledged that they looked at giving another kicker a chance, but by sticking with him they are making it clear he is their best shot.  It is fair to be critical.  Some of the vitriol is over the top.  I am not saying your email is full of vitriol, but trust me, I am getting a ton of them.


Hondo, I am from Grand Rapids and watched Mike Sadler in high school.  He is a far better place kicker than Conroy.  As great as he is, can we please just let him finish the year?  Peter in GR

Mike is not available to place kick this year.  More on that after the season.


Hondo, I think it stinks when anyone criticizes these kids.  They are kids.  You should only write nice things.  They are having fun and so should the fans.  Sara

Sara, I have no answer for you.  I decided to post your email to let some of the fans rebut your thoughts.  Thanks and stay tuned next week.  Fans what do you think of Sara’s email?


There you go everyone.  Your weekly Q/A.  Feel free to send me one if you would like for the Friday version.  Simply send it to me at SpartaNationMail@yahoo.com

About Hondo S. Carpenter Sr.

View all posts by Hondo S. Carpenter Sr.
Hondo S. Carpenter, Sr. is the founder and publisher of SpartanNation.com and all of the family of services. The idea was birthed when overseas he ran into a Spartan not native to the United States who was wearing his Green and White proudly. He is dedicated to bringing you the latest and greatest information about Michigan State and Detroit Sports News every day. He resides in the Mid Michigan area. Follow Hondo on twitter here: @hondocarpenter.

2 Responses to “Answering Your Michigan State Football Questions and Emails…” Subscribe

  1. Pete October 26, 2012 at 6:23 pm #


    Please grade the offensive linemen and the entire offense based on how well they do, not whether they manage to survive a game. Donovan Clark survived the UM game, he didn’t excel in it, nor did Treadwell.

    No player among the twenty Olinemen on the roster strikes fear into a defensive coordinator. The players we have that are reasonably athletic are too small and the players that are big are too slow. Others just aren’t up to the physicality of the game. These guys aren’t going to “get better” next year as evidenced by the fact that the starters from last year didn’t play better this year. There isn’t any help coming either since MSU has not successfully recruited any of the huge and talented prospects that end up in places like Alabama, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Notre Dame. By the way, when was the last time a MSU Olineman has been a high round draft pick by the NFL?

    So, if the players MD needs to play his style of offense are unavailable and the ones he does have are suited for a different style, why does he insist on playing “smash mouth football” as if he was coaching Alabama? Why can’t he change to a offense that requires more contributions from more players so the team has a chance of competing with the top colleges? If you want MSU to be successful in the long term and to fully utilize the gifts the present players do have, lobby for an “option-oriented” offense and, if that means coaches have to go that can’t adjust, then they have to go. The Cousins years were good but they did not occur when the B10 was typically strong. Life goes on. MSU better learn to play with what they have and stop hoping they will find a Superman recruit that will carry an inferior team to glory. It’s not going to happen and it is just that simple.

  2. Brent October 27, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    Army football did that in the glorious 1980s, when I was a cadet, with one of the greats Jim Young. Running the wishbone and beating teams with vastly better talent, like Illinois in a bowl game in 1985.

    I saw him in the 1970s at Purdue coach a passing Mark Hermann offense.

    Jim Young is now is the college football Hall of Fame.

    Our offensive line has been deficient this year, our play calling unimaginative, and our QB play far below that of the recent past.

    But are we really worse than over a 100 offenses? Heck, no.

    Part of the blame is on poor QB and OLine coaching and Roushar-designed plays that feature east-to-connect-the-dots schemes like scUM has for Robinson.