SpartanDigest Mailbag: December 5

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

Mike Wilson team choice awards: Top offensive, top defensive, top specials teams and freshman of the year awards?

Offensive has to be Tony Lippett. I mean, without him, the offense looks entirely different. He took it to another level by being the playmaker he now is. On the defensive side, I go with Trae Waynes. Opponents found spots they could attack in the secondary, but Waynes locked down one side and made it so the whole field was not an option. As for special teams, going into the year I would have thought it was a gimme with either Mike Sadler or Michael Geiger, but I don’t think that is the case. I’m inclined to give it to R.J. Shelton because watching him it seems like he always is close to breaking a kickoff – and finally did against Penn State. Freshman is pretty easy: Montae Nicholson. It says something about his game to take over a starting spot for a period of time and play decently as a true freshman at the safety spot.

Was Alvin Ellis hurt during the Notre Dame game and that’s why his minutes were very limited?

I assumed h would be eased back into a role, but look at Bryn Forbes as a reason why Ellis did not play as much. Forbes had his best game as a Spartan, not missing a shot. I would assume Ellis starts seeing more time as he is more ready to play more minutes as he gets more healthy.

Is Javon Bess still on track for return in two weeks?

That is the expectation, yes. It could be close to Christmas, but he should be back before Big Ten play.

Who do you think Michigan State will play in a bowl game and who would you like MSU to play and why?

It looks like Michigan State is destined to play an ACC team in the Orange Bowl. I think it would more ideal for Michigan State to play an SEC school like an Auburn, Mississippi or Mississippi State – if at all possible somehow. I think that is the kind of matchup that allows Michigan State to say more about its program than playing, say, Georgia Tech. If nothing else, it provides a measuring stick at the end of a season in which it honestly is hard to say how good this team is (winning every game it should, losing the ones that could elevate it).

In general, give some insight with what goes on with the football team between their last game and their bowl game? Are they still practicing? Is their schedule/routine the same as the regular season? Do they get time off? Anything else of interest?

The team still practices plenty and it is to the benefit of a team to play late in the bowl season to get in more practices – that is where future players get more chance to work in what amounts to extra spring ball for young players. Naturally, there is more time for players to study film and be prepared than on a typical gameweek schedule. I, personally, find the most interesting part of the bowl practices the position changes that emerge and who is making waves for next year.

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