SpartanDigest Mailbag: November 7

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

Prior to the game with the team from Ann Arbor, you claimed Devin Funchess to be a better pro prospect than Connor Cook, Shilique Calhoun, Jack Conklin, Trae Waynes, etc.... Has your opinion changed since that game?

Not one bit. I still think right now Funchess has the most intriguing pro potential because he has such a rare combination of skills. I think of that group he would be the highest pick in the NFL Draft if it were this week. Given a solid quarterback, offensive line and be playing at full heath, I don’t think this would be a question. This weekend’s game could go a long way for Jack Conklin in this regard, though.

We know last year it was Type of Way by Rich Homie Quan, what is the team song for this year?

From my understanding, it has changed a bit from week to week. “We Dem Boyz” by Wiz Khalifa has been in there, I know that much.

How much in your opinion will MSU benefit from playing some quality spread teams like Oregon in preparation for the Buckeyes?

I think it helps a little bit just from a speed standpoint, but by no means is Ohio State’s offense like Oregon’s. It is a different level of speed and talent – and that is not to demean Ohio State. I think the up-tempo faced at Oregon will be a help for the Spartans on Saturday though as I don’t think OSU will move quite as quickly as Oregon.

In the summer you indicated that you thought OSU would have the best D-line going into the season. I haven't watched or paid attention to them this season, but at this point, has that remained true? How has MSU's D-line compared to OSU D-line so far?

With Joey Bosa leading the way, Ohio State has a very, very good defensive line. Steve Miller has taken a jump and Adolphus Washington has been consistent. The one thing I expected to take Ohio State to that top level was elite play from Michael Bennett, which has not been the case. I think Michigan State’s defensive line has stacked up well to Ohio State’s and is right there as the top unit in the conference.

Where has Demetrius Cooper been lately? Has had a relatively quiet season thus far.

A lot was expected of Cooper this season and he just hasn’t managed to live up to the expectations. This is scary for Michigan State for this season, but more so for the future as they might need to replace both defensive ends next season. He remains the No. 3 defensive end, but needs to play better and more consistent to get on the field more often.

Biggest key to the game this weekend? Difference maker for this weekend?

Well, I have five right keys and key players right here: The Five Spot: Ohio State

With Connor Kruse coming on strong, does this lead one to think that this season's offensive line is the best of the Mark Dantonio era?

That is a tough one. I think last year was a very strong group as well. Since Kruse returned, this year’s unit has been tremendous in run blocking, which I thought was a real issue early in the season. If it continues to play at this level, I think it could go down as the best unit in the Dantonio era.

Malik McDowell and Damon Knox are providing fine play off the bench at defensive tackle, so they and the starters Joel Heath and Lawrence Thomas stay fresh and keep making plays. Yet, Shilique Calhoun and Marcus Rush get subbed out little at defensive end, taking most snaps. Do you expect the backup ends to play more OSU so that Rush and Calhoun are fresh at crunch time?

Well, that is mostly because – as mentioned earlier – the backup defensive ends have not been playing at a high level. I think it is less about keeping those guys fresh and can the backups, specifically Cooper, play well enough to warrant being on the field for a decent number of snaps.

I’ve seen that Mike Weber and Brian Cole are taking visits to other schools. Do we have interest in either? Should we be worried that L.J. Scott will flip to OSU since he's taking a visit there?

I think the interest is stronger in Weber at this time between the pair. As for Scott, we will have to see if that visit happens before looking too much into it. He will be on campus in East Lansing this weekend, as he has been multiple times already this year.

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