SpartanDigest Mailbag: August 15

Answering your questions about Michigan State football, basketball and recruiting! This week's edition has a heavy presence of offensive line questions as the season approaches

How are the backup offensive linemen looking, like Benny McGowan and Dennis Finley?

Both received nice praise from offensive line coach Mark Staten after Thursday’s practice. Staten said in the last scrimmage both played well and he had to yell at Finley as little as he ever had, so he was pleased with that. I think both are still on the outside of the playing rotation, but have made good impressions.

What is the offensive line rotation?

Right now, the starting group is Jack Conklin, Travis Jackson, Jack Allen, Connor Kruse and Donavon Clark. As Michigan State did last season, the goal will be to play seven or eight. The next two in line are Kodi Kieler and true freshman Brian Allen, who has shown a lot early to get himself into that group. The next tier, as mentioned above, consists of Finley and McGowan.

Most think Donavon Clark is a guard and he seems to struggle at tackle. If we really want to think about making the playoff, is he an answer at tackle?

I’m with in, in part. We have seen Clark at left tackle, but never right. He was not suited to play left tackle, in my opinion, from any time I saw him. He did play much better at the position last year than he had previously. He appears ready to be the starting right tackle this season, which I am good with assuming he makes the adjustments to playing on that side. Still, if Kieler continues to emerge, it might not be a bad option to move him inside to guard with Kieler at right tackle.

What are the odds you give of John Kelly committing to Michigan State?

This one is hard to call. It makes sense for him to commit to Michigan State. It is a successful in-state school and he could potentially excel at multiple spots. That said, Minnesota is right there because they offer the chance to play running back, the spot he seems to favor. The longer it goes on with Kelly, the more likely Michigan State’s class fills up, though. I would say it is 60-40 Michigan State, but that is hard to say completely.

Any updates related to Damon Knox’s injury?

Not a whole lot right now is known beyond what coach Mark Dantonio said a couple weeks ago. We will see what happens there, but Michigan State fortunately has some nice depth and options inside on the defensive line.

Who looks primed to take the second running back spot behind Langford?

If you ask the depth chart, it is senior Nick Hill. Does it make sense for a senior to back up a senior? No. It will likely be Delton Williams or Madre London. Williams had a nice freshman season and showed he can be a solid player, while London has come on strong this preseason camp as a true freshman. Dantonio had high praise for him Thursday morning, saying he is ahead of where most freshman running backs are because of his high school program at St. Thomas Aquinas.

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