The Weekly Michigan State Football Question and Answers Column

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Mark Dantonio was all smiles this spring and with the current state of his program who can blame him.  Photo courtesy of Starr Portice.

Mark Dantonio was all smiles this spring and with the current state of his program who can blame him. Photo courtesy of Starr Portice.

Answering your Michigan State Questions…


Good morning Hondo. Any thoughts on the spring game attendance? I heard 35K and thought we should have had more with perfect weather. Jeff in Lyons


Good morning to you, Jeff. I was happy with it. You have to applaud Hollis for making that event a “day” and not just a game. You have a baseball game now that had a monster crowd. You had the baseball game, the kids clinic, the tailgating, the garage sale and most of all the spring game. Since I was born I was at MSU events as my children have been and many youngsters there this year. The children’s event (started by JLS) is the most significant event of the day. Props to Hollis for helping to make it better and Coach D for not being petulant like so many ego obsessed coaches in the country and cutting out something great JLS did. As far as attendance, it was one of the best in the nation. In the nation! I thought it was superb.


Hondo, I know that you have seemingly been in love with Mike Sadler long before he committed to MSU. Now he is getting a lot of pub from others than you. What did you see in the kid that let you know he was going to be a star? Secondly, will he have the biggest impact of all freshmen? Tracie from Lansing

Well Tracie, I have been a Sadler guy since day one. First, I know how much Mark Dantonio values punters. He is a throwback guy, not just in press conferences either. He talks about them privately. He calls the punt, as I have told you many times, the most important play in football. If you recall, I took a lot of heat originally for calling Aaron Bates one of the biggest recruits for the first Coach D class also. Because of all those things I instantly took notice when MSU started sniffing around the young man. As far as what I saw in him, that is different. Mike is no doubt a star punter and kicker. I saw a young man that did all of the workouts with his team, ALL OF THEM. He is a football player whose gift was punting. Not a kid who could punt or kick and ran off to practice that as soon as he could get away from the real drills. I met a young man that any parent would love. He walks into almost any room and is the most intelligent guy there. He came to MSU with the credits of a college sophomore. He is one of the most humble people you have ever met. Never once did he act like he was the best kicker/punter in the nation, and when Lane Kiffin called just before signing day nearly begging him to come to USC, he politely declined. Telling me the next day, “Why would anyone want a player who said yes to someone else and gave their word to them and switched? I was really upset he thought I was a good player, but a liar.” If you took away his football talent, Mike is the All American young man and the dream of any parent as to what their son would turn out to be. He is also what every dad hopes his daughter would one day stand at the altar with to marry. All in all, he is a super human being. Nothing not to love about the kid. I will have more in the August issue of Spartan Nation Magazine.


Hondo I think that Greg Jones getting drafted in the sixth round with Chris L. Rucker says that maybe Mark Dantonio isn’t as good of a talent evaluator as you think? That is pathetic. I am not as sold as you. Do you not agree that you need to take a second look at his eye for talent? Charles in Okemos

Charles, I would respectfully say that your email was perhaps the most ignorant I have ever got. Not because you question Dantonio’s eye for talent, he is a public figure and open to any criticism you can lob. It is because you make a blanket judgment on someone and don’t even take into account his entire body of work. Butch Jones is one of my best friends. He is the current head coach at Cincinnati. I can’t, in good faith, break our relationship and the natural confidentiality of it, but I can tell you story after story about what Mark did there and the lasting impact. In Dantonio’s first year he brought in with LIMITED time this class. Two of them were drafted and several, when the lockout is over, will get free agent deals. In 2012, he will have potentially THREE first round picks in Cousins, Worthy, and Foles (the QB at Arizona who transferred). If you think a man who in five years at a school can have three first rounders (that he brought in) can’t evaluate talent then you my fine sir are a dingbat. Secondly, how do you take a group of young men (many of who were unheralded) and compete for two Big Ten titles and win one of them in four years? Especially a program that was at the bottom like MSU was when he arrived? Charles, Mark Dantonio is my friend and my defense of him has nothing to do with it. My defense is based on a common sense look at the program and where it stands. Yours is based on something that makes no sense at all.


Hondo, I heard you say that the MSU vs. Northwestern game will decide who wins our division. You have to admit that those two schools do it right with their programs. MSU is getting the love, so what is the biggest question mark on this team? Tom

Tom, I love Coach Fitz and the Northwestern program. He is an upstanding person just like Dantonio who does it right. I have a great friend whose son has played for him and LOVED him. He told me many stories that are similar to how Dantonio handles his program. As far as MSU goes, they are getting the pub and to me the biggest question mark is the offensive line and I am not worried. Treadwell will be an upgrade and IF he gets beat out that means someone was amazing and that is great. France vs. Fonoti at LT is going to be fun. OL is a question mark, but not a worry. 2011 is going to be special.


There you go everyone. Another week of your MSU Football Q and A in the books. Make sure to send in your questions for next week. Simply email them to and put weekly Q and A in the subject line.