Answering Some of Your Spartan Spring Football Questions

Hondo S. Carpenter

This spring they are experimenting with a camera on top of QB Kirk Cousins helmet (Seen above) so they can get a better look at his progressions and reads.  Photo courtesy of Troy Benoit.
This spring they are experimenting with a camera on top of QB Kirk Cousins helmet (Seen above) so they can get a better look at his progressions and reads. Photo courtesy of Troy Benoit.


Todd Anderson getting more reps with the 1’s, is he closer to getting the starting spot at FB. –Chuck

Hello Chuck! Thanks for the email. He is the number one FB right now. It isn’t because others haven’t played well. It is truly because of his play. He has earned it. He is a tough young man and although I wouldn’t say it is set in stone, I would say the concrete is curing on the depth chart with him as the solid number one.


If the season started today, what linebackers would start? Chris Norman, Max Bullough and Steve Gardinier? –Mike in Osage

No Mike it isn’t. Your starting linebackers right now are Denicos Allen, Chris Norman and Max Bullough.

I have heard it mentioned a few times that Mike Sadler kicks with his left foot. Why does that matter? –Kim

That is a great question Kim and surprisingly one I have actually gotten a lot of. It makes a world of difference. It is a lot like pitching in baseball. There is an old adage that an OK right handed pitcher would be a multi millionaire if he was the same pitcher throwing left handed. Most people are right dominated (hand and foot) when a person does things differently there are many ramifications. First and foremost, the ball spins differently. Secondly, the trajectory off of the foot is different. It certainly doesn’t make a bad kicker good, but when you are a great kicker (and Sadler is) and you do it, it makes you even better.


Is the O line developing adequately with top quality starters and solid depth with subs for breathers and injuries? -Tim in California

This is a super question Tim, and the answer is an emphatic yes. The depth is stunning and when I say depth I don’t count bodies. Depth to me is the talent that is backing up a starter. When you look at the roster as a whole when Dantonio arrived, there were starters who shouldn’t have been on a Big Ten team. So no matter how many back ups there were, there was no depth. The Spartans at OL and every other position have multiple players and players that should be and could be starters. The Spartans are fine. Young, but fine.


After reading your article after the bowl game with what Nick Saban and his defensive coordinator said, is there are chance we will see better play calling from Roushar? –Doug

That is a loaded question Doug. Don Treadwell is a dear friend of mine. His play calling won the Spartans a Big Ten title and 11 games, so to call for “better” play calling to me seems harsh. You are correct however in pointing out the Alabama thoughts on the style of play calling. If you are asking me if Dan Roushar will call a game differently and maybe at times be less predictable? No doubt. If you are asking me if he will be better I would hope not. You can’t get much better than Big Ten champs. I do understand where you are going and he will be different and I think you will see him address the passing game that at times I would concur was inadequate and struggled.


How committed are the Spartan players to making it 4 years in a row that we will beat UM? In other words, do our players from other states understand the rivalry? -Dr. Jodi

Well Dr. I can tell you this. Even in recruiting Dantonio brings this rivalry up. He eats, sleeps, and always has it on the top of his mind. Because of that and the importance it plays, I can tell you that their commitment and understanding is immediate. It starts with Coach D and goes through all of the players. I can tell you under the previous staff there was NO understanding of the depth of this game. NONE. Embarrassing none. Embarrassing like the results of their games with them. With this staff and these players they get it.


Is there a redshirt that is going to step in and have a huge impact? -Jeff

Another great question and that freshman is Tony Lippett. He is your next great star in the making. He is electrifying and I will be stunned if he is not a starting CB. MSU has eight or nine quality WRs and they need big athletic corners. He will play both ways and he will make big plays. A star is born and I can’t wait to see it. He has the million dollar smile and the multi million dollar talent.


Will Coach Dantonio finally get the respect he deserves this year for what he has done for this program? –Jason in Lansing

Jason, that is a great question. I am stunned at times even among our fan base how people forget just how far this team has come under Coach D. At times I frankly get disgusted. In his first four years he has competed for and WON a Big Ten title. He has played in four straight bowl games. He has brought back honor and respect to the program. He took a team with MAC talent when he arrived and transformed it into a top tier talented team. Still young in age, but a top tier. He has righted the wrongs and fixed so many non-football problems. He could have been a candidate for many jobs around the nation and said no. Never ONCE holding the University hostage for raises. He has had some off field issues, so does every other program. He deals with them. I think the lack of respect is sad.


What is the most important thing you are looking to see on offense and defense in 2011?

-Brent in Sagnasty

A non-blitzing pass rush. It was their Achilles heel last season. Sure they got sacks, but they had to blitz constantly to get it. The #1 thing MSU has to get out of this season is a quality pass rush that allows them to blitz when they want and not when they have to on defense. On offense I would have to go back to Doug’s question above. I want to see more variety on offense such as screens, draws, going down the field on early downs, and MOST OF ALL better utilization of the TE.


Curious re your take on the state of football recruiting for the 2012 class.

We're now just one of two schools in the B11 that does not have a verbal for that class as of yet. When do you expect us to get some verbal commits? Do you think this will be MD's toughest year on the recruiting trail due to the coaching change at UM? -JT

Thanks for the question JT. The state is good.  Everyone (and this is human nature not a criticism of you) looks at your neighbor or your competition and envies. Well so-and-so has this many and we don’t. In recent memory PSU had none and MSU had significantly more and when I would do radio interviews there, people would clamor that MSU was “Kicking their butt” and they still had a great class. My point is that MSU has raised the recruiting bar very high. Mark Dantonio and Mark Staten have recently admitted the awesome depth on this team now has made things very competitive. One example is that they have a QB on the bench that would start at NINE other Big Ten schools. They have five, did you read that FIVE, quality running backs. They have young men on this team that would have started in Dantonio’s first, second, and maybe even his THIRD season that won’t see the field this year. So with great depth and talent they are going after a higher tiered player and there are new players at that level. If you are a long time reader then I think you know I would tell you if I was worried and I am not at all.

Thanks everyone for the great questions. I am going to start posting this column every Saturday A.M. so as the week progresses please send in your questions. Have a great weekend!

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