Answering Your Michigan State Football Questions & Emails...

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Hondo, Great job as usual. MSU will return six legitimate, former starters on the O line next fall, plus Donovan Clark who also has started. Who of these will get to sit? What do you see as the opening day starting five? Randy

Randy, I think there are some young players who will push for some time also. If I had to say right now Fou Fonoti, Jack Allen, and Travis Jackson are rock solid. Everyone else and where they all lineup are up for grabs.

You are right; we could and would have gone to Phoenix but not to watch another low scoring loss. If Hollis wants us to buy bowl tickets he better hire a new offensive coordinator! It is time he gets the message....improve dramatically or the money dries up. Candidly, I hope he gets stuck with a big bill. Maybe that gets his attention. HJ Buter

I think that the OC is NOT the issue, but I certainly understand WHY people feel that way. MSU must make some changes and if they do I have no concerns about Roushar. I understand HJ that everyone seems to want me to jump on the ‘Fire Dan Roushar’ train, but my job is to tell the truth and give you honest analysis. I can’t jump on that train, because I don’t think it is the answer. Dantonio has much bigger staff issues than Roushar.

Hey Hondo, You've said several times that you think the MSU athletics administration understands the disappointment of the fans about the football season, but not the anger of the fans over this season. Is there any chance that the poor ticket sales for the bowl game wake them up to this fact or do you think they'll still write it off as a disappointing season or increased sales through online second-hand retailers? I just keep hoping they won't be in denial about what the fans are feeling. Adam

I think Mark Hollis is WELL AWARE.  I do not think Michigan State football understands. I think they are so dialed in that they are almost not cognizant of what is going on outside the Duffy. In fairness, I don’t think any coach during the season can really get the depth of what is going on inside the fan base unless they are poor coaches who lead with every whim of the fan base. I can assure you that this off season the MSU staff will get a firm grasp of where things are.

Hondo, why doesn’t MSU do a better job with roster management? IMHO, signing only 15 guys a year puts us at a disadvantage. The best evaluators will make mistakes. Transfers, injury retirements, leaving early to the NFL, WILL happen. Schools like UGA, sign 35! Would love to see MD take advantage of mid-year enrollees, grey shirting, etc...Brandon Sherman

Well, Dantonio could do a lot of things with the roster that are less than ethical. Let me give you some examples. He kept Arthur Ray on an athletic scholarship for years when it was clear he may not be able to play at this level. A very good friend of mine who is an SEC position coach told me, “No way that happens in the SEC.” He could bring players in and simply tell them that he won’t renew their scholarship and boot them out. He doesn’t. MOST, not all, but MOST grey shirts happen when schools call a player on signing day when he thought he had the scholarship and say, “oops.” They would like to do more of it all, but there are scholarship limits and there are moral boundaries that Dantonio won’t cross. I can tell you of about 10 guys on this team right now who won’t ever be major players, because of injuries or any number of issues. Every program has them; many just get rid of them. Dantonio does not. Most people don’t know that many schools give scholarships that are year to year. Dantonio gives them for the allowed length of time.

Hondo, I know that Taybor Pepper had a decent year as a true freshman. My question is about Leland Ewing. We watched him in high school and just wonder if you think he has a real shot at the job since Taybor is only a true freshman. Katherine in Jackson

Yes, he does. Taybor is a good kid so this is not a slam on him. Leland has an amazing work ethic and is pushing hard. I think if Leland can keep improving this off season, with his work ethic he will have a true shot. If Taybor and Leland were tied, I believe Leland would get the nod. It is his job to get close.

Hondo, do you still think LeVeon goes pro? Karuth

Yes, but I am in NO WAY saying that it is a done deal. I do know that MSU is using the Heisman sales pitch to get him to stay. Is that enough? It may be, but I know some of the things that guys hear and as a RB, you only have so much tread on the tires.

Hondo, I was really excited about Evan ‘the bulldozer’ Jones coming to MSU as a freshman this year. I was a little disappointed that he never played and redshirted. Any update? Carl Rome

Carl, for some reason we live in a society that thinks redshirting in football or not leaving after a freshman season in basketball means you are not a good player. Jones is the REAL DEAL. They have a lot of big plans for the Dozer and he will be just fine.

Hondo, I just got done watching the video interviews and I must confess I am glad you asked the players about all the expectations to start making this bowl game so big. How big do you think it is? Dennis in Okemos

Dennis, I think this is the single biggest off season of the Mark Dantonio era. He desperately needs a win. A win in the bowl game would give him something to build on. A loss in the bowl game when you are so far away from your own goals, added to a mix of a brutally boring home schedule next year, and an outraged fan base, casts a dark cloud. Not at all insurmountable, but the biggest off season of his time at MSU and a loss would make it even worse.

Mr. Carpenter, please help me. My husband says that the only thing he wants for Christmas is your end of the year report on Michigan State football. Where can I purchase it? Chandra

Chandra, it is NOT available for purchase and ONLY comes after the year.  I think your husband was speaking about wanting it now instead of waiting. Even Santa can’t have it early.

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