Answering your Michigan State Football Questions and Emails…
Good morning Hondo, You mentioned about MSU being better because Cook would often zero in on one wide out every year. Could you explain that in more detail? Thank you. Celeste in Laingsburg
Hi Celeste, Sure I can. Whether it was Bennie Fowler, Tony Lippett or Aaron Burbridge, every season Cook would pick one guy and key in on them. There were a lot of other players that were underused because Cook would lock on. I know there was genuine excitement all spring and through the fall with the Spartans using more weapons. Think about this. College football analyst Anthony Becht said last year on TV while doing a game, “He (Cook) says really Burbridge is the only receiver he feels truly comfortable with as being on the same page.” I was told about that quote from one of the top offensive players LAST YEAR who had DVDed the game and watched it later. He was not happy that not only Connor said that, but that he was willing to share it with media. They all knew that was how he felt, but that he would openly admit it was bothersome. The more weapons that are utilized, the more defenses have to game plan for more options. One player told me this spring, “In one short scrimmage of just a few drives Tyler threw to nine guys. I am not sure Cook threw to nine guys in three years.” Cook did, but the player was obviously speaking cynically.
Hondo, every year I look forward to your captain predictions based on conversations with the players. In fact, I don’t remember you being wrong yet. So in talking with players, who do you predict will be the captains? Kirk King
Thanks Kirk, it is fun. This is the 11th year I have done it. I anonymously survey multiple players after spring each year for who they would vote for captain. I give them four votes even though Coach D likes to have three. The only two to get UNANIMOUS votes this year were Tyler O’Connor and Riley Bullough. Josiah Price, Demetrious Cox, and R.J. Shelton were all separated by four votes for the #3 spot. In the previous ten years I have never had a unanimous post spring player not get picked so I predict Bullough, O’Connor, and either Cox, Shelton, or Price. We will know Thursday.
Hondo, Do you see the 2016 team coming right out of the gate with the usual “Spartan Dawg toughness, grit, spirit, attitude, etc.?” I think this 2016 team will need to do so from the beginning. Dan
Sure I do, but it will be hard with Furman and then a bye before Notre Dame. That is brutal.
Hondo, great call on signing day saying you thought (Mike) Panasiuk and (Donnie) Corley would play as true freshman. A lot of people said that about Corley, but you are the only one who called Panasiuk. Christine W.
Thanks Christine. Mike hasn’t been a surprise for Spartan Nation readers, listeners, and viewers. Mike has the heart of a lion and is a terrific young man.
Hondo, Any insight into what is happening with Drake Martinez? Eddie Russell
Will O’Connor lead the Spartans to wins over ND, OSU, and UofM this year? Scott Lehr
Can he? Yes, but football is a team sport and to ask if one player can lead and will lead are different. He can’t lead them if not allowed. I want to see MSU come out more on the attack. We haven’t seen MSU attack often. If the Spartans come out and attack offensively (that is a caveat that O’Connor doesn’t control), the answer is yes.
Dear Hondo: Will we see the return of the screen pass to the Spartan offense this season? It was noticeably missing during Connor Cook’s tenure. Might the combination of Tyler O’Connor’s skill set, a new flock of receivers with YAC ability and four quality running backs lead to a more diverse offensive playbook? Best regards, Glenn T. Marrichi
Yes, I think we will see some of that this year. Not a ton, but it is in the arsenal.
Hondo, are you seeing changes made to the offense so when we play another top 5 defensive team we can adjust our game? I am mainly concerned about the stubbornness to establish the run to open up the pass. Craig Borowsky
I agree. This is a concern. I wrote extensively about it last year vs. UM and Alabama and in both cases you saw your answer. Just like referenced above with this offense attacking, I have to see it. This is a special MSU team if they attack. I have to be convinced they will. I will make this prediction. If MSU comes out of the gate with their foot on the gas offensively they will win the Big Ten again. If not the journey is going to be interesting.
Hondo, if you had to predict the starting DL and OL for the Notre Dame game what is it? Jeff Curtis
LT Beedle, LG B. Allen, C Kodi Kieler, RG Benny McGowan, RT Miguel Machado
DE D. Cooper, DT K. Williams, DT Raequan Williams, DE Malik McDowell
Hi Hondo, Can you talk about how Coach Dantonio does such a great job instilling mental toughness in our players? Our guys always seem so prepared for any scenario in a game, never look rattled in pressure situations, and rarely make any personal foul undisciplined penalties. Will Owens
Sure, he stressed that pressure is good and stress is bad. By creating an atmosphere of constant competition and pressure that prepares a team mentally to always compete. He never lets up. They hit a lot more than most teams and maintain that edge of physical and mental toughness. While others mock him for his “Michigan Obsession” it has worked in that rivalry and keeps an edge all year long.
Hondo, read a lot of criticism about you asking Dantonio of Chris Frey as the first question at media days. Even read other media calling him “Serviceable,” but you didn’t get angry at me or call me out for emailing you for wasting his time. Looks like after listening to Dantonio he is the number one and has had a great camp. I am sorry. Mark Morgan
I get a lot of people that email and take shots. Part of the game. I respect someone who can email back when wrong. Like I said, I didn’t make it up. Coach D, Coach Tressel, Coach Snyder, and multiple players talked about Chris being the one all spring and summer. It wasn’t that I was smart, it was that I listened. Chris had a great and physical spring. Can’t wait to see what he does this year. MSU didn’t blitz as much last year, but that wasn’t on him. He can’t blitz if they don’t call for it and I know Coach Tressel loves his abilities as a weapon.
My son Duffy wrote the cover article in the last issue of Spartan Nation Magazine that was dedicated to the life of Mike Sadler. Mike and my son were very close. Many of you emailed. Thank you. Here is a sample.
Hondo, Simply a superb issue and tribute to Mike Sadler. I especially enjoyed the conclusion from Jordyn about him fighting the good fight. He now rests with the Lord and it doesn’t get any better than that. I can’t wait to see your son punt for the Spartans in another 7 years…he’ll be the first OL in NCAA to do so. Best regards, Bill Krombeen
WOW…you must be so proud of Duffy. What an article. I really hope he follows in Mike’s footsteps as a generous, warm, witty, and intelligent man! Jay Davies
Hondo, you are a fat worthless blob. To let your son write an article about Mike Sadler was exploiting his pain. I hate you more than ever. I wish we had lost you and not Sadler. F*&% you loser. Carl
As a close friend of the Sadler family we can agree on one thing. I also wish that Mike and I had swapped places Carl. He is dearly missed. As far as Duffy, he is 11 and he asked me to write it. Sorry you feel I exploited my son, but you are entitled to your opinion. I can tell you that his family loved and appreciated it.
Hondo, your son’s article to Mike Sadler was moving, heartfelt, and so kind. As his words went from my eyes to my heart I sobbed. You are doing a marvelous job as a father and I commend your son. Melanie
Hondo, the magazine dedicated to Sadler was your best work. Letting so many people write about him was moving. What your son wrote about his hero, roommate, and mentor was the greatest tribute I heard or read about him. Since the day I read it, I have not ceased to pray for your son. God bless that fine boy. Allen VanDam
Hondo, if I learned one thing in the last issue, it is that your son is a deep well of respect, intelligence, and kindness. To read him write about Mike and things you wouldn’t let them do together because it would appear to be inappropriate with your coverage of the team, cemented my respect for your character. Paul M.
Hondo, please let Duffy write more. Please, I beg you. Larry Brady.
If you didn’t read the magazine YOU CAN CLICK RIGHT HERE AND READ IT NOW. Make sure when you are done YOU CLICK RIGHT HERE TO SUBSCRIBE 100% FREE and never miss another issue. The new issue comes out tomorrow and in it I sit down for a one on one exclusive interview with MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon.
There you go everyone. That is your weekly MSU football questions and answers article. Make sure you send your questions to SpartanNationMail@yahoo.com and put in the subject line Football Q/A. Thank you.