SpartanDigest Mailbag: November 14

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

Who starts tomorrow for men's basketball opener?

I would assume if is very similar to the lineup that already has been seen. The locks are Denzel Valentine, Travis Trice and Branden Dawson. I would assume Matt Costello at the five and Alvin Ellis at the two. I might lean Bryn Forbes at the two spot, but with his left hand in a brace, I think Ellis would get the nod.

Any big men that Izzo has eye on for 2015 class not named Caleb Swanigan?

I believe that is the sole focus right now.

Which new comer for men's basketball team do you expect to see most impact from this season?

Forbes, for sure. He brings a shooting presence off the bench that Michigan State was missing last year, realistically. He should be a player that gets plenty of minutes and plenty of shots to help Michigan State.

Have some of the backup CB's taken snaps with the ones to challenge Darian Hicks more after the OSU loss?

This is a good question. I honestly do not know, but the thing that was most noticeable on Saturday was the Demetrious Cox was the first CB off the bench. That is both a good for Cox, as he is a player that MSU has been wanting more from. On the other hand, it is a bit concerning regarding Arjen Colquhoun and Jermaine Edmondson. Hicks looks to be the best option – and has played decently much of the year – but the options behind him probably need to be stepping up more than they are.

Now that MSU is out of playoff and likely out of B1G race, do you see more playing time for some of the backups and younger players for game experience?

Mark Dantonio was asked this exact question on Tuesday. His answer basically was no and there still is plenty to play for this season. I think that is true, but getting guys like Demetrius Cooper more looks is very important as MSU could be facing losing both defensive ends after the season. More snaps for Malik McDowell, Montae Nicholson and the other freshmen playing should come in the next couple weeks given that MSU should be winning out and doing so handily.

Any word of some of the football recruits for 15 class? Any new targets that have grown since summer camps or that are having big senior seasons?

To answer the latter question, a name to know is Lansing Sexton senior Rayshawn Wilborn. I saw him last season when I went to watch Avonte Bell and was more impressed with Wilborn. He has been committed to Central Michigan for a while, but don’t be surprised if he winds up in the Big Ten. And MSU is watching.

Any idea on the mood of the team? Did they bounce back faster than the fanbase?

This is not the first time that MSU has had a tough loss in Dantonio’s tenure. I think they are prepared mentally to move forward. It would be a surprise to see a lingering impact as that has not been the M.O. of this staff and players.

I know there were comments to the contrary from coaches, but surely a few defenders are at risk of seeing new starters replace them. Right?

I don’t think so. I know people are not pleased with the defensive play last weekend, but it was not necessarily a result of one player playing poorly. That was an impressive game plan with more impressive execution by Ohio State. Hicks struggled. I think Darien Harris struggled, too. Do I think either is in serious jeopardy? Not at this point, no.

Is Sadler healthy? His kicking has been such a disappointment, coffin corner kicks aside.

I think he struggled coming back from offseason surgery, but after that continued to struggle as he knew he wasn’t the player he was last year. It’s a tough thing to regain confidence once you lose it.

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