Answering Your Michigan State Football Questions and Emails 11/29/12 Edition…

Andrew Maxwell was NOT helped by his QB coach who set the bar of expectation so high, that no matter how well he played it was certainly close to unattainable.  Andrew Maxwell was NOT helped by his QB coach who set the bar of expectation so high, that no matter how well he played it was certainly close to unattainable.

Much has been made of offensive woes this season. Dantonio has alluded to a change in offense for the bowl game and going forward in the program. Looking at the recruiting it seems MSU is slightly WR heavy. This has led to some speculation on a move to more spread type offense. I was wondering if you have an insight as to what the change in offense will be? Bryan Williams

Yes, I do have an idea.  I wouldn’t say spread in the traditional sense.  MSU already runs a significant amount of three, four, and even five wide WR sets.  I think they want and have to add mobility to the QB spot.  You will see VERY SMALL amounts in the bowl game, but significantly more in the falls of 2013.  There will be some conceptual changes, but the biggest will be philosophical.


Hondo, I know you have been supportive of Coach Roushar this year, even in the face of so much criticism for you.  Can you pick out one play or one game that you would agree he did a bad job? Kari

No problem Kari.  The Iowa game.  In the first half he put Connor Cook in the game for one play.  It was a speed option play or what folks call a traditional option play.  When the players had shown up on Sunday night (six days prior), the play had been inserted into the play book for Iowa week.  First off, Cook had a great high school career running an offense that had plenty of “zone” read which is similar to Michigan.  Why they ran in the speed or “traditional” read was not smart in my opinion.  Where they used it on the field wasn’t smart in my opinion and the fact that they didn’t adjust and use him more was absurd.  They didn’t even try any of that with Maxwell.  That was poor coaching in my opinion.  Good coaching puts players in position to succeed.  They adapt to what they have and not what they want.  The kid got one play and it was not successful.  To not use him again certianly was a  mistake if for nothing else than his confidence and that of a fan base that shockingly has almost written him off.  Cook is a very good QB, who was poorly used.


There has been rumblings about several players leaving the Spartans, I’m assuming for lack of playing time, etc. Any of them really serious about this?  WR’s are still very undisciplined about running crisp pass routes. Another position coach on the hot seat?  Dave Christensen

Dave, I do expect transfers; doesn’t mean it will happen, but I do expect it.  You will understand in my end of year “What Went Wrong” article.  As far as Samuel on the hot seat, he isn’t.  Again, you have to wait for my recap article, but Samuel is NOT the issue.  There are issues at WR, but he is not one of them.


Before I write another check for thousands of dollars, I’d like to know there is a chance we will enjoy Spartan football next season, because many of us paid entirely too much to come home from five games this season with our “stomachs in a knot” and diarrhea over another Spartan game foolishly wasted. I stopped reading the Sunday Sports page because I couldn’t take the hurt two days in a row. Jim Butler

Jim, this fan base is the best.  They are not apathetic, they are hurting.  Prices are up and expectations are up and this was a bad year.  I think Dantonio’s track record should give you reason for hope.  If they have another poor season next year I think you have reason to worry.  One bad year doesn’t constitute that.  He has to make some changes and I think he will.  I will tell you that you are far from alone.  My inbox is packed with upset people.


Hondo, I want to applaud you for perfectly dissecting the mood of Spartan fans.  I have been a MSU fan for all 63 years of my life and this year I am more disappointed than ever.  It can’t be easy telling the truth, but I agree that I don’t think MSU realizes how down we are.  It matters to me and a lot of other people.  I still say that in Coach D I trust.  Claude

Claude, I know the fans are upset, angry, and mad.  I think Mark Hollis and Mark Dantonio are amazing men who do great things.  Sometimes I do think that they live in a bubble and I must confess I wonder if they are truly cognizant of the emotions.  They are good men and they can be trusted.  Again, one year doesn’t kill a program.  When they happen consistently, they do.  We shall see.



Hondo, The OL and its lack of development is almost embarrassing. I see other OL getting pushes up the field, I NEVER see our guys doing that, rather is the system that complicated?  Gregory Seraydarian

In my humble opinion the issue is NOT the OL concept.  The OL has issues and they do not rest on the system.


What are your thoughts on how MSU’s offensive philosophy needs to evolve? Bryan – Chicago

Right now the QB is a statue that you have to game plan for only as a thrower.  The audible package, if you can call it that, is archaic and they lack the killer instinct to go on the attack.



Hello Hondo.  Something tells me the current situation is pretty bleak when Bullough calls out the offense to step up and produce before the Minnesota game. And offensive players thank him for it…..Brian

Hello Brian.  I addressed that incident with Bullough HERE, but I think that this was one of the greatest groups of young men MSU has ever had as captains.  All three are exceptional young men as people. I also think it is one of the worse captains groups purely from the perspective of being a captain.  Captains either need to be vocal or two of the three or three of the four in years with four must be vocal.  Andrew Maxwell and Chris Norman are both superb human beings, but neither one possesses the ability or maybe it would be better said want to call out and be vocal like Bullough did.  Without the presence of a senior captain to lead the way, it took Max a short time but he got it.  I will be stunned next year if he doesn’t leave as one of the single best captains in MSU history.  He gets it now and there is NO DOUBT this is his team on all sides of the ball.


Hondo, I know there’s been lots of talk lately about shifts in population demographics and the reduction in population in the aforementioned states. Does this shift and the reemergence of teams make it possible for MSU to compete regularly with Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Notre Dame, or are the odds with us to slide back to the middle of the big ten?  Christopher Dahlin

I totally 100% and unequivocally believe MSU can and will compete for championships IF the MSU administration stays out of the way.  I already reported this, but for 18 months I screamed, hollered, and reported about how poorly paid the staff was.  Prior to this season they had dropped to 11 out of 12 in the Big Ten for salaries of coaches.  That was an embarrassment to the University and it made the program look bad.  As long as that tom foolery stays out of the equation and MSU from an administration stand point is committed to win in all phases MSU is fine.


Hey Hondo, When Dantonio got here Roushar was the O-line coach with Staten as TE coach. It seemed like last year and this year have been a struggle with those two guys having traded position assignments.  I know Roushar has a lot on his plate with the O-coordinator spot so it may be an issue of time available, but any chance they could be switched back to their old spots? Adam

Is there a chance he could remain OC and do the OL job?  No way.  He had to step in last year and this year and spend way too much time over there to salvage what he got.  The OL coach is the third most important assistant job behind the coordinators and you need a star there, doing only that.



Hondo, This season was a total team effort from coaching to playing. Every facet had a hand in the 6-6 record.  We can’t be afraid of inexperience, especially if it means more production.  Thomas Johnson

AMEN.  All over college football you see top programs using young guys and winning.  I wish everyone could redshirt, but that isn’t reality.  In today’s game of football you must use at least SOME young players and you must let them play through some adversity and mistakes.  Couldn’t agree more.


Hondo, Long time follower, first time emailer. Looking to the future, I think there is a lot of unfinished business with this MSU football team going into next year. With that said, who do you think is going to leave early to the NFL and who is going to stay? Go green!  Dave Hinds

I will be stunned if LeVeon and Dion don’t leave.  If either return, I would be shocked, especially LeVeon.  I am leaning towards Gholston staying.  He should.  Dennard will be back and I expect Lewis to return.


You stated that Maxwell didn’t have the benefit of a QB competition and was handed the job. I said at the time that losing Joe Boisture was a detriment to the team due to the lack of competition. I think we could have used a JUCO QB after learning of his departure. Interested to hear your thoughts. David Herc

Mark wants to take 1 QB every year.  The loss of Joe from a numbers stand point hurt, but I don’t think he would have pushed Andrew.  I think Andrew has all of the tools to be great.  I think how he has been handled from the onset has been terrible and he was let down by his coaches more than anything.  I will talk more in my end of season “What Went Wrong” article.


Hondo, We can all read between the lines that if O’Connor is w/Maxwell at the end of spring, O’Connor will get the ball and Maxwell possibly transfers out.  Jonathan

I think there will be a major QB battle.  Don’t count any of the four QBs out IF IT IS A LEGITIMATE COMPETITION.  With that said, if Maxwell were to lose out, don’t in any way see him transferring out.


Hondo, I have heard so much about your upcoming “What Went Wrong” that I can’t wait to read one next year that is called “What Went Right.”  I appreciate you taking us inside MSU sports and at the same time keeping the fine line of great reporting void of personal attack.  Carson

Thanks Carson and I agree.  Let’s all plan on 2013 ending with an article entitled “What Went Right” and I can write it in the press box from out in Pasadena.


Hondo, you have been an ardent supporter of Andrew Maxwell.  You have also pointed out fairly that he has not been perfect this year.  Was there a time or practice or something when you realized that maybe his year wouldn’t be as successful as some thought?  Bryce

Yes Bryce there is.  I am a supporter of Andrew, but I can pin point the exact moment I thought there could be issues.  It was around 1 pm on August 17.  QB Coach Dave Warner walked in to Case Hall for a press conference with us.  


When asked about Maxwell he said that there wouldn’t be a drop off from where Kirk Cousins started 2011 and where Andrew would pick it up.  Here is an exact quote by Warner, “I expect Andrew to go into this season where Kirk Cousins went into 2011.”  The audio is terrible, but I posted it at the time anyways because I thought it was so profound.  LISTEN FOR YOURSELF WHEN YOU CLICK HERE.  Not all of the press conference with Warner is up because of MSU rules limiting the amount we can post.


Sure that he had made a mistake, he was asked if he meant Andrew could finish where Kirk ended and he was emphatic that he expected NO step back at all.  I was stunned. 


Here is a young QB that they had failed to get good reps for, following one of the greatest QBs and leaders at MSU all time and he said that?  I said to myself that either Maxwell was the second coming of Bart Starr or his coach just threw him in the fire.  Coach Warner moved all in.  He wasn’t saying that to encourage Andrew, he had just squarely put him in the middle of the fire.  Fans ran with that and it fueled the expectations like a wild fire.  I know it raised some eyebrows in the football building too. 


I bought the Kool-Aid and I drank it.  I was convinced there was NO WAY he could make that claim without seeing something we as media didn’t in the closed sessions.



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

About Hondo S. Carpenter Sr.

View all posts by Hondo S. Carpenter Sr.
Hondo S. Carpenter, Sr. is the founder and publisher of 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.

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