CMU, WMU, and even GVSU (Div II) can send an OL to the NFL!! I couldn’t stand the Wiscy coach but he was quick to change OL coaches when one wasn’t effective. It makes those 11 win seasons even more “outstanding.” And finally, it has to kill MSU on the recruiting trail. Kevin
HI Kevin. MSU is indeed being killed on the recruiting trail with the performance of their OL. MSU has good players, but it is a struggle right now. I did get some great analysis of the MSU OL from the NFL people that I know and will have some good stuff in those articles. I know of one recruit that was told by a high level BCS coach to take a long hard look at the MSU track record with the OL. According to the recruit the coach told him, “Coach Dantonio is a great man. I can see why you like him, but as an offensive lineman are you going for four years to have fun or get to the league? If you want to play in the state of Michigan go to Hillsdale. They have had offensive lineman drafted, MSU hasn’t under Coach Dantonio.” OUCH!
Hondo, with our “top 3” juniors all officially departing now, who (on both sides of the ball) do you predict/expect to really breakout next season? Thanks, Ryan
Demetrious Cox, Evan Jones, and Josiah Price are certainly on that list. If he puts all of his attention on, Darien Harris is another. Also don’t forget Jamal Lyles and Riley Bullough and one last name: Tyler O’Connor.
Hondo, during the BW Bowl ESPN posted a stat showing that Bell had the most yards after contact of any back in the country. I believe it was more than 2/3 of his yardage. Thinking about that it told me our offensive line failed to open holes for him so he was often “contacted” close to the line of scrimmage. This statistic simply confirmed what most of us observed during the season, the O-line didn’t perform up to expectations. Given your evaluation of the talent this year prior to our first game, most of that must go to coaching. Tim in San Diego
Agreed. That one stat is the reason LeVeon, in my opinion, had no choice. He could have come back and done a lot of things to get better. That wouldn’t have changed the wear and tear on his body.
If there are any coaching changes on the football staff, do you think Bill Cubit could slide into the coaching position? Would he be a good fit if he joined the staff? Bryan Mathews
Bill is now the OC at Illinois, but he would have been a great fit at two spots on the offensive coaching staff and would have loved to work for Mark.
Hondo, my question is “When is the MSU football community going to wise up and when are its representatives in the media going to stop covering for mediocrity? Is this football program going to continue to be a Detroit Lions lookalike in that we take pride in saying real fans wait for “some day” and we die before “some day” comes? Does anyone believe that MSU can make its own football tradition right now?” Pete Vander Jagt
First, I am unsure who you are crediting as the MSU representatives? I assume you mean the people that work on their radio shows, TV, and website. If in fact that is who you are targeting, they get a paycheck from MSU and MSU controls the message. I don’t blame them. Those are all great resources, but I would suggest you read some of the media not paid by MSU for a more rounded analysis. I think MSU can have success and success at a high level now. I also think that Mark Hollis needs to be allowed to run his athletic department free of the President and Board using athletics as a pawn. MSU athletics gets ZERO dollars from the school. He should be told, “You can run your department on your own. Hire/fire as you will. Win, make money, and don’t cheat. As long as those three things happen we will leave you alone.” Trust me. They don’t. Mark Dantonio can fire anyone, but he has to look at his budget and ask himself who can I hire for that? I know several high profile coaches, great ones at schools who have won or just did win, that would love to be here. No way Mark can pay them. Want to compete for the big boy titles? The fans are paying like those schools, but MSU isn’t. That isn’t the fault of Mark Hollis. As long as those above Mark don’t want to allow MSU to pay the money that they can afford to do, MSU is stuck. Until Hollis gets that mandate, his hands are tied.
If the OC isn’t the problem, which you’ve been saying throughout the year, what or who is? The OL coach? I’m not a coach, but I do not see a progression of our OL and we were supposed to have recruited some good players. Please don’t say injuries, everyone has injuries. Gregory Seraydarian
Injuries is an excuse and excuses are for losers. Not ONE MSU OL who played this year was a true freshman. All had at least one year in the program. An offense is like a pizza. There are so many ingredients. If one is bad, the pizza stinks. MSU has weaknesses on offense that are hurting the whole.
Hondo, with the expected departure of Sims, who do you expect to step up this upcoming season? I know you like Jones and Price. Also, we keep hearing about Caesar and how big he has gotten. Your thoughts? Thanks as always. Ray
Juwan Caesar is not a factor. Doesn’t mean that he can’t be, but as of now, he isn’t. He is a big young man with some great talent, but he isn’t close. I laugh with Matt Charboneau of the Detroit News because we are constantly being asked by fans about him. Let me make this clear, he is a good kid. His not playing is NOT because of him being a problem. He has to step up his game. He has the talent to do it. Don’t forget Paul Lang and Andrew Gleichert.
Hondo, is it mainly experience that enables lineman develop in dominating road graders? Brett Phoenix, AZ
Experience certainly is a big part, but at this level everyone is big. When those are equal, coaching is far more critical. When all things are equal with mass, I am talking physical ability, coaching is the difference. That is assuming ‘the want to’ by the player. MSU doesn’t struggle with young men void of the want to.
Hondo, I hear a lot of people talking about the MSU RB situation. Is there a name we aren’t hearing? Do you think Langford and Hill can do it, or do you see a freshman? Craig Dallas, TX
Hi Craig, Langford couldn’t even get on the field this year. The coaches knew the situation they are in now was possible. I asked Mark repeatedly during the year about Langford and you heard his answers. Hill was brought in to be the PR and KR, and midway through this year wasn’t doing either. Could either one of them step up their game? Sure they can. I am a realist and I look at track records. Neither has, so I am skeptical.
Let me throw a name out as a possible RB that I am not hearing get any play outside the program. Darien Harris was a big time RB at one of the greatest high school football programs in the nation when MSU recruited him. Several schools offered him as a RB.
He told me on Spartan Nation Radio at the time, “I am always going to be a running back. I love that position. I was recruited by Michigan State to be the STAR linebacker and at that spot I can use my running back skills to play there. I want to play at MSU and for Coach D so I will do anything, but I love running back.”
His true freshman year he ran RB on the scout team and turned a lot of heads. He got a lot of praise as the MSU RB for that work on the scout team. I have asked more than one defensive player about him at RB. They saw him. They know and each of them were totally convinced he could do it, if he set aside distraction.
He had a great spring last year at LB, but lost focus in 2012. He is a viable contender for the job if he eliminates distraction and gets back to being the stud he was as early as last spring. Harris is a super kid, great in the classroom and loved by his teammates. If he falls back in love with the game, he could not only be a good RB in the B1G, he could be elite. I know this has been discussed.
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