SpartanDigest Mailbag: January 9

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

What are your thoughts of the Mark Snyder hire? Where will his recruiting territory be, and what are your thoughts on his ability to recruit? Does this hire mean there may be a guy going to Pitt?

I think it’s a solid hire. He did not have the success as a defensive coordinator at Texas A&M that probably was expected, but that can happen when you have an explosive offense (see: Indiana). He is a good position coach and proved that at Ohio State. It is another Jim Bollman-esque hire, for sure, as it is “getting the band back together.” As for recruiting, Ohio probably will be in the mix. He likely can assist with Texas as he spent the past few years down there. Narduzzi also worked in New Jersey, so seeing Snyder take over there would be ideal.

Who do you see filling in for Marcus Rush next season?

Evan Jones was his backup this season, but it will be a big question mark. Could it be Lawrence Thomas? He has the athleticism and ability to probably fill that defensive end spot.

Believe you once mentioned Jon Reschke was injured and potentially a long term injury, any news or update?

I don’t believe I ever reported it as “long term,” but Reschke’s injury did take a big part of his season. I think health is a concern at this point as he also was hurt as a true freshman. But from my understanding, his injury this year is one that should not stop him from competing at the MIKE spot moving forward.

Outside of Donavon Clark, Kodi Kieler, Jack Conklin, and the Allen brothers, who do you see contributing on the OL next season?

I think you nailed the core five starters next season as it should go left to right: Conklin, Brian Allen, Jack Allen, Donavon Clark and Kodi Kieler. Next up figures to be Miguel Machado. Dennis Finley could take another step forward. Benny McGowan is still a backup at guard.

With the coming addition of Larry Scott and the stacked backfield of Delton Williams, Mandre London, and Gerald Holmes (not including the hefty running back from New Jersey) should we expect a transfer from Nick Tompkins? This possibly could be an additional scholarship for recruitment.

Tompkins played cornerback last season and I believe will continue to work at that spot.

How much will Jim Harbaugh at Michigan hinder MSU's recruiting, if at all? Also, I don't know Pitt, but what kind of expectations do you have for Coach Narduzzi in his first year with the program?

Anyone who thinks Harbaugh won’t impact recruiting for MSU would be kidding themselves. I have talked to some recruits who have said Michigan was not in their schools of interest … pending who was hired. He will have a big splash as high school kids will want to play for someone who just coached in the NFL – and in a Super Bowl. That said, MSU will still get their kids and do what they do on the trail. But Harbaugh will have an impact certainly. As for Narduzzi, I think Pitt is a good place for him to succeed early. It has some solid offensive playmakers in James Connor and Tyler Boyd. The challenge will be what he faced at Michigan State early: Running his defense without the right players to run it. As he gets his kids in, like he did at MSU, things will pick up.

What returning players who have never lettered do you think will make the biggest impact?

The most likely guy on this list is Jake Hartbarger, as he will be the starter from the get go at punter. He has a big leg and should be solid for Michigan State. Miguel Machado will be in the offensive line rotation. Craig Evans or Enoch Smith could be someone in the middle that matters in that rotation as well. Then Madre London, who should have a chance to win the starting running back spot.

There's an embarrassment of talent at TE. Are any of them candidates to move to some other position where there might be more playing time? (for example, could Chmura become a full time FB? Could Lyles move to DE?)

I mostly expect Chmura to take over for Andrew Gleichert as the full-time blocking tight end, basically. He needs to elevate his game to do that, but MSU needs that role. The run blocking took a huge step forward when Gleichert came back from injury early in the year. Lyles to defensive end is an option, as MSU could be looking for answers there and Lyles was hardly used in the offense this year.

The last two games have been an amazing stretch of superior basketball. Forget about the shooting. can the ball movement and defense continue to be played at this high level? Or was it instead just the matchups where what we do best is what Indiana and Iowa just can't beat?

Ball movement has been a strength all season for Michigan State, but the defense – specifically the help defense and the ball screen defense – has been something Tom Izzo has been praising. I actually think MSU made two tough matchups into two wins. Indiana was playing very well and Iowa is a team with a nightmarish amount of length.

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