SpartanDigest Mailbag: September 19

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

Any noticeable changes to the depth chart for Saturday?

Nothing major has been noted yet, even though Pat Narduzzi said last week there would be some changes. The biggest thing to expect is seeing a lot more young guys getting snaps, like Jon Reschke, Demetrious Cooper, Montae Nicholson, Malik McDowell, etc. The one thing I was curious about as far as changes go is would Riley Bullough get more of a look as I think he has been really solid so far this year.

Predictions on which freshman do not redshirt? Looks like Brian Allen, Malik McDowell and Craig Evans may be it?

Of that group, I think Allen and McDowell are locks to continue playing. The next most likely would be Chris Frey and Montae Nicholson to me. That pair is entrenched on special teams at this point and both have been pretty good in limited action – I thought Frey was like glue to his man on a couple of third-down plays at Oregon. Then the question becomes Montez Sweat and Craig Evans. This week will be big for that pair.

Can (will) the Spartan defense pitch a shutout?

It certainly can in this game, but with the fact the second half likely will consist of mostly backups playing, it likely won’t. Think about the Jacksonville State game where MSU had a 38-0 lead at halftime, but won 45-7 with backups in during the second half.

I see that Clemons is listed on the depth chart at both OG and DT. Typo? What's the deal here? Surely he can't be getting practice reps on defense, can he?

Clemons is being used for depth on the offensive line right now, but can easily slide back over to defense and play defensive tackle. I believe he is getting reps on offense right now mostly, but has gone back and forth a la Micajah Reynolds through his career now.

Thinking of the Oregon loss, I was disappointed in the second half play calling and besides Tony Lippett, why didn't we get the ball to some other playmakers like Aaron Burbridge and MacGarrett Kings?

I think the goal was to get the ball to those guys more, but Oregon brought a lot of pressure and Connor Cook struggled to get the ball out in time. But the playcalling did get a little bit off, with swing passes and the like taking over too much. Burbridge had a great catch on a great pass from Cook early in the game and Kings had a nice reception as well, but it is true that neither was used a lot in that game. Keep in mind, R.J. Shelton and Josiah Price were used well against Oregon and Michigan State sees plenty of weapons in the passing game it can use.

Evan Jones – does he have the tools to be a legit, rotation guy at DE, or is he getting passed up by Montez Sweat?

I think Sweat has more raw physical schools than Jones, but I think Michigan State can be content with Jones as a rotation player. He has shown some flashes this year thus far. Looking ahead, Sweat’s upside definitely is higher.

Sounds like Tom Izzo is gearing up for a big recruiting weekend with alums as well coming back. Any word if Caleb Swanigan is making the trip?

This is a big weekend indeed for Michigan State basketball recruiting, with Matt McQuaid and Henry Ellenson coming in. I have not heard either way on Swanigan.

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