SpartanDigest Mailbag: August 28

Answering your questions about Michigan State football, basketball and recruiting!

Of the true freshmen on the depth chart as released on MSU’s official site, which do you figure to be unlikely to play as Dantonio may wish to preserve their redshirt?

I expect Brian Allen, Malik McDowell and Craig Evans to all see the field this week. The next level of most likely I figure to be Montae Nicholson and Montez Sweat, depending upon their practices the past couple days. I think it is in Michigan State’s best interests to redshirt Enoch Smith and Madre London – as well as Chris Frey, although he is a tough one to read what the staff is going to do.

Do you expect that Tyler O’Connor or Damion Terry will play in garbage time? Might we see one under center in the first half?

Mark Dantonio has not said much about what he might do with the quarterbacks in this game, just offering up that all have had good camps. Now, what I believe is that all will play, but expect Cook to play the first half entirely. Will you see Terry on some special packages? That would not surprise me.

What is the status of Anthony McKee? Is he or isn’t he?

Well, he isn’t committed and he is looking to take more visits. It is hard to get a gauge on him at present, as I thought he would be committed many times by now.

When Michigan State goes to the dime defense, who will be the sixth defensive back with Darian Hicks, Kurtis Drummond, R.J. Williamson, Trae Waynes and Demetrious Cox? Also who will be the linebacker (I assume Ed Davis)?

I would assume it would be Arjen Colquhoun, as he is a player that has worked at both safety and corner, so he brings nice versatility as well as size. As for linebacker, I like the thought of Davis in that, but I also would not be surprised if Darien Harris that guy.

Which freshman has impressed the coaches the most?

You know, I want to say Malik McDowell, but I am going to instead go with Brian Allen for one reason: The offensive line is so tough to make an impact on during your true freshman season. It is a complex position and he is set to play it immediately, so that to me says he must have been very, very impressive quickly.

What is your opinion on the move of R.J. Shelton and Monty Madaris to defense? Is the Madaris move permanent?

Keep in mind, Tony Lippett was a cornerback for a while, as was Jeremy Langford. I think it makes sense for depth if you are trying to redshirt all your incoming freshmen, like Vayante Copeland. That much is clear to me with the decision. I like the idea with Shelton as he is such a good athlete and football player. Madaris I did not see as much logic with because he has never played the position before as Cincinnati Moeller is not a school that requires playing both ways – a little different from Beaver Dam, Wisc.. I expect Madaris will ultimately move back to offense as the Spartans are very upperclassman heavy at receiver.

What are some key things you will be looking at in the opener?

First and foremost, new starters and new positions. Hicks and Taiwan Jones will be my focus on defense, as will Trae Waynes. But the biggest thing I will focus on is how the right side of the offensive line plays. Kodi Kieler is a new starter and Donavon Clark now is playing right guard. How those guys play will say a lot about how Michigan State will play early.

Who are you expecting to start at STAR linebacker, Mylan Hicks or Darien Harris throughout the season?

I think Harris is the guy, but for certain situations, you might see Hicks start just because of a formation the opponent presents. That was my guess when I first saw the depth chart with the pair listed as co-starters regarding Hicks.

Which James Kittredge are we more likely to see this year? One who makes a solid contribution like two years ago or one who is bypassed by freshmen after a few games?

Kittredge needs to be a contributor, certainly early in the year with Damon Knox sidelined with an injury. Which one will he be though? I think he is rotation player right now, but certainly could be passed if the freshmen prove solid enough.

Care to offer a prediction of the Jacksonville State game?

Michigan State comes out hot and stays hot – while the weather is not – and the Spartans cruise to a 35-13 win. A rain delay is present again, because why not.

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