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Answering your Michigan State Football Questions and Emails…

Mark Dantonio working hard during the 2016 summer camp.  Photo courtesy of Sofiya Stumpos.

Mark Dantonio working hard during the 2016 summer camp. Photo courtesy of Sofiya Stumpos.

Hondo, there is a lot about Malik McDowell being a top five pick and perhaps the best DT in all of college football. Just curious what his weakness is? Kathryn Blanch

His biggest weakness is himself. Malik is two years out of high school and he needs to grow up and mature. He will determine his own ceiling. He has the potential to be the best. He needs to embrace that, the time to grow up is now.

Hi Hondo -I just saw Javon Ringer's photo working out with the RB group and I just thought in lieu of the U of M secret QB workouts with certain receivers I was thinking that MSU (of course) had much more of a 'team' and 'we're in this together' culture. Big surprise I'm sure. Jarrod Lynn

I know that one of the major reasons for the Spartan success is the family atmosphere that Mark Dantonio demands. To see Javon Ringer back, who is the ultimate teammate and Spartan, speaks volumes for the Spartan program. I can’t really comment on UM, because I am covering MSU every day. I doubt any program preaches and practices family like MSU.

Could you see Dantonio running some 3-4 with the lack of depth at the dline and the amount of talent at the linebacker position? Keith Stopera

Yes. With the proliferation of the spread and the depth at LB for MSU, I think you could see more of not just the traditional DELTA (third down four LB package) but also more of the VIPER (non-third down four LB package) as the Spartans like to play to their strengths. Plus the DL is farther along than anyone thought it would be.

Hondo, I have a friend I work with whose family is close to Malik Smith (running back from Boyne City-Preferred walk on). We were wondering what life was like for a freshman walk on. Is it a guaranteed red shirt? Will he play on the scout team? Just wondering. Thanks Dan Moss

Scout team for sure as a preferred walk on and yes a redshirt.

Hondo, always loved your post spring polling of players for captain. I remember thinking a few years ago that you were nuts for not having (Connor) Cook, but you nailed it both times. Great call hitting it this year. I don’t think the story is that a QB is back as a captain, but more about the leadership of O’Connor. Kris Sanchez

Thanks Kris. I always love to listen to the players. My post spring poll and the green and white game draft are telling to me. Those two things are NOT controlled by the staff and the players tell the unvarnished truth. I said before, the ONLY way Cook was going to be a captain was if the coaches usurped the will of the team and the only way O’Connor was NOT going to be one was if the coaches usurped the will of the team. To his credit, Mark Dantonio trusts his players. This is their team, and despite what some say, he does not interfere when he asks them for the truth.

Hondo, I caught an interview with you on a national radio show. I wanted to commend you for your breakdown of Jake Hartbarger. I am always fascinated how you see the little things others do not. When asked to break down something people are not talking about, most would not mention a punter and your explanation was great. I love learning when I read and you are a great teacher. Thanks. Jeff Wright

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Thanks Jeff, I try. The media’s job is to tell the truth; not to sugar coat either way, just tell the truth. Jake plain and simple outkicked his coverage because he was that good and special teams were terrible last year. That is not on him. It is the team’s job to improve around him, but he can be a major key to what I think has the makings of a special season.

Hondo, I have a friend who is close to the program who tells me that Coach D told Naquan Jones (true freshman DT) this past Saturday that he is not only not red shirting this season, but that he is going to start vs. Furman. He says that he is getting no press, but going to be a big deal this season. Ruben M.

Ruben, you need a new friend to listen to. Naquan is going to redshirt and although I think he is going to be a GREAT player at MSU, there is zero chance he plays vs. Furman. In fact, there is a better chance that I suit up and play vs. Furman. Sorry, but your friend is clueless and has zero inside information.

Hondo, I am a Spartan out here in Pennsylvania. There is a redshirt sophomore offensive lineman named Casey Schreiner. Can you give any kind of an update? I don’t know him, but love to see the Granite State kids doing well at the alma mater. Bob Parker

I love Casey. He is such a wonderful person and football player combined with being a hard worker. A thumper by nature, I expect him before his career is done at MSU to get into the rotation and be a factor. I know that Coach Dantonio and Coach Staten love the young man as well. He is a great teammate and just an all-around great youngster.

Hondo I am a big Husker fan, but in following you I have become a big Spartan as well. How is Husker DT transfer Kevin Williams doing up there? I always liked him here in Lincoln and I was disappointed to see him leave. Karen Davis

I think he will be starting at DT for MSU and if not starting, he will be the first sub in. He is big and powerful and smart. His problem has always been an inability to stay healthy. If he can, he will be a big deal for the Spartans.

Hondo I was stunned to see Cassius Peat transfer. Sad. Why do you think he left? Sandra Hicks

He is a great kid. Academics aren’t easy at MSU and he had to adjust to that. Add to it that he came from a great family in Arizona and moving halfway across the nation isn’t easy. There isn’t one person at MSU who would say anything bad about the young man and everyone should wish him well.

There you go everyone. That is your weekly MSU football questions and answers article. Make sure you send your questions to and put in the subject line Football Q/A. Thank you.