The biggest disappointment was the play of the offensive line. I really expected MSU with the level of experience they had coming back to be able to pretty much run the ball effectively and consistently against most opponents. I know the line lost Fou and Jackson and that affected the play. But even before those losses to injury, I wasn’t that impressed with the play. And, to be candid, both those players were replaced with players who had live game experience. Too many fans are up in arms about Coach Roushar. I don’t think he is the problem. It seems like Coach Staten has gotten a pass. Dan
I agree with your analysis. I am going to write significantly more when the season is over, but you hit the nail on the head. I like Coach Staten, this is not personal in any way, but it is reality. The OL has not performed well and we have seen very little personal improvement in the advancement of players’ individual play. I will have much more after the season in my “What went wrong” article.
Hondo-I am very concerned with Maxwell’s lack of improvement this season. Do you think Mark Dantonio will open up the quarterback competition this spring? Larry
Yes, and I think you could almost make an argument on some issues he went backward. I DO NOT think Maxwell is a bad QB at all, but the coaching he got was at best suspect. I will have significantly more about this in my after the season article “What went wrong.”
Wisconsin Coach Bielema quickly changed his quarterback and shook up the staff after his team struggled in the first two weeks. In contrast, Coach Dantonio stubbornly stayed the course with Maxwell even though our offense remained anemic the entire season. I thought we actually had a better team this year than 2011 but couldn’t overcome the terrible play by Maxwell. Will there be a new leader on the field next season? old goat, Larry Midland, MI
First, let me reiterate that there WILL be an open competition for the QB job in 2013. If there isn’t (and I know that there will), the fans should be outraged. Maxwell didn’t have the benefit of any competition like Kirk Cousins did and that hurt him. AGAIN, I like Maxwell and I think he can be an elite QB. The way he was “handled” hurt him and that rests 100% on coaching. His coaches let him down.
Hondo, Please, please tell me Dantonio isn’t so clueless and stubborn that he doesn’t realize someone OTHER than Maxwell HAS to be the QB next year. I can’t watch this team next year if he is still running the offense, I can’t take it anymore. Dave Furstenberg
First, I have known Mark Dantonio for a very long time. I not only cover him as a media member, but he is also my friend. The last person in the world that you can call clueless is Mark Dantonio. Is he slow to get angry and at times when personnel are involved make changes? Yes, but that has served him well more than it has hurt him. As I have already mentioned, the QB job at MSU will be open for all comers in 2013. Maxwell will open spring as #1 on the depth chart, but the competition will be open for all. After the season I will discuss that competition and how it needs to unfold.
Hondo, of the many things to be considered in “what went wrong” this year, one factor I believe is much larger than the little I hear of it is the early departure of Edwin Baker. He was the yin to Bell’s yang in running style, but equally durable. I think of this every time I see Bell running east/west trying to get around the end for very little gain. We went from an effective two-pronged running game last year to a very predictable “one horse show” this year. Do you agree and more importantly, who’s in the stable to complement Bell next year (assuming he stays)? Greg
Greg, assuming he stays is a rather large assumption that I don’t share. I do think the loss of Baker hurt, but it was not the reason the season went wrong. He was a homerun threat that the Spartans simply didn’t possess this year. It hurt. Was it larger than some of discussed? Yes, but not even close to the primary reasons for the struggle. Good observation.
Hondo, Coach D’s lack of confidence in his offense was never more evident than when he decided to give up the ball on 4th and 2 from the Nebraska 39 with under 2 minutes to play. Get the first down, we win. No one and I mean no one would have blamed him for going for it. Seems like he actually got more conservative this year with his play calling. Arnold Weinfeld
The offense was more conservative this year. The number one reason rests on coaching. Some things they simply couldn’t do and some they weren’t able to because of young players and their grasping of the playbook. This was a very difficult year and I think your statement of “Coach D’s lack of confidence” says more than even you realize. I will get into it more in my after the season report.
Hondo, you’ve been uncharacteristically quiet after the NW loss. What’s up? I’m hoping for a season end editorial from you to spark some needed change in Dantonio. Rick Sikorski
As you know I do that each and every year. I have been somewhat quiet because there are some things that are necessary to discuss during the season. We will. Trust me, we will.
Hondo, like a reporter calling out a coach, now it’s my turn to call you out. You mention that the fan base has never been more down than this year compared to the last 40 years. Really? I was there for the Muddy era; I was there the Williams and JLS eras. And that doesn’t include the NCAA sanctions following the ’74 season which was the lowest of all lows. This year is nowhere close to any of those situations. The best indication of an apathetic fan base is to look at the empty seats and they were full thru the NW game (except the student section…which is a national epidemic). Please compare the full stadium this year to the open and unsold seats in the aforementioned eras. There’s been a lot of griping this year particularly about Roushar, but the evidence of “the fan base being down worse than I’ve seen it in over 40 years” doesn’t show anywhere close to what you imply. Bill Krombeen
Bill I have been around for all of those dark times. You are correct; fans stayed away and were apathetic in the past. I 100% stand by my comments. I do not think the MSU administration or the staff realizes how angry the fans are. They were apathetic in those times, but almost a Chicago Cubs mentality. Not now. Fans are mad. They are very upset. They bought in and psychologists will tell you that when people buy in and invest emotionally the reaction, good or bad, is significantly stronger. I deal with fans 365 days a year and 24/7. The level of anger and disappointment is stronger than at any time in my life. How MSU responds could set the stage for the next decade and generation. It is crucial right now.
Hondo, Will Dantonio fire Roushar? That is my question. Thanks. BrIan
No. Dan Roushar will be at MSU unless he chooses to leave and should be. I think Mark Dantonio has to make some staff changes, but Roushar is a good football coach in a bad spot this season. I will have more in my after the season article, but the issue is systemic and Mark Dantonio is more than capable of fixing it and I believe without a doubt that he will. He has earned that level of confidence from me and should from the fan base.
Hondo, you are a fat, ignorant, and worthless hack. You’re constantly protecting Dantonio and your boy Roushar makes you look like a bigger buffoon than anyone. Stop serving the Kool-Aid you jackass and start telling the truth. Richard
First, let me say that your name being Richard is apropos. Secondly, you may be right about the fat and worthless. As far as protecting Dantonio or Roushar I think you are very wrong. I could take the easy road, the road more frequently traveled in our society and simply follow public opinion and say “Fire Roushar” but if that is NOT how I feel why would I? Do you think my self-esteem needs insulation from criticism? I have done one thing since my endeavor down this path and it is simple: tell you unvarnished how I feel. There isn’t one coach on this staff I don’t like. I have made it clear that I think they need to make some changes. I have also been clear that I don’t think Roushar is the main issue. As the OC he certainly has a part, but being aware of the inner workings of the MSU program it may be expedient to acquiring public adoration to call for his firing, it wouldn’t be true to following the sense of character and integrity I wish to maintain. I have never and will never hold back on criticism when it is germane and warranted. I will not follow the sloppy map of journalism that says call for what the masses want even if you disagree. Being popular is NOT my goal. Being truthful and giving great information is. I hope as the biggest buffoon you know that the Kool-Aid wasn’t too cold. Signed, Your Favorite Jackass.
MEMO: Moving forward I will NO LONGER be discussing will Mark Dantonio fire Dan Roushar or will he open the QB competition up next year. I have made my opinion abundantly clear.
OK everyone, there you go. Our weekly Q/A article. If you would like your email to be considered for this article, please add to the subject line Football Q/A. Email me at SpartanNationMail@yahoo.com