Answering your Michigan State Football Questions and Emails…
Hi Hondo, With all the negative news and a few young men that have possibly made bad decisions lately, could you give us a couple names of guys on the team that are stepping up to lead Spartan nation back? Thanks, Brad Speirs
Brian Allen, Tyler Higby, Joe Bachie and Gerald Holmes.
Hondo, I was stunned to see this team fall apart and the complete lack of leadership. Riley Bullough really let the Spartan Nation down this season. Clearly he just wasn’t a leader like his father, brother, Uncle and Grandpa. Carmen P.
I want to address this one head on. I am getting really tired of reading people taking shots at the “leaders” last year and that being defined as the captains. Because of his name, Riley Bullough has taken an exponentially unfair amount of that blame. Let me ask you this. How can you blame players when the coaches failed to lead? How can you blame a captain for not being able to get young men who swore at their coaches and challenged their coaches’ authority defiantly and other disciplinary issues with little or no repercussions? If the team struggled to not only follow their coaches, but were not held to accountability standards that had previously led this team to great heights, how can you blame Riley? Did you know that I had several players personally tell me that he led many film sessions? You can’t lead people that aren’t willing to follow and those that are not in an environment that demands and nurtures a culture of following. Clearly MSU didn’t have their best group of leaders, but young players since the Rose Bowl win were not in the same culture. Therefore not all, but many got away with blatant disrespect for the staff so naturally they didn’t have it for teammates entrusted to lead them. If children are NOT raised to respect and honor the parents or teachers then how can you blame them for mistreating or ignoring siblings or classmates? People blaming last season on the leadership are correct, but that starts in the head coach’s office and it doesn’t start in the captain’s room. That is tough, but it is fair. I have said all season and will not waver now that discipline is clearly at the forefront of the MSU woes. This rests on Mark Dantonio’s shoulders.
Hondo, you are always very fair, but also very straight forward. I know that you consider Coach Dantonio a friend and he does you as well. Do you ever worry that Coach Dantonio will get angry at you for what you report? Chris Stoddard
Thanks for the question. I am certain, in fact I know that there are times coach doesn’t like that I report things. I also know that he is my friend and as he has said to me even on my radio show, “I know you have a job to do. You have to do your job and I appreciate that you are fair.” I love and care for Mark as my friend. That doesn’t mean that I can’t call a spade a spade, and while I wish the world was all roses and never dark, that isn’t reality. My premium members love MSU. They expect me as their servant to not just paint with a broad brush of all is always great and creates a false sense of Pollyanna. Anyone that always paints a great picture or a bleak picture should be ignored. Media have an obligation to tell the truth. The truth is NOT always great and not always bleak. I pride myself on being a good daddy, but I am not a perfect one. I have had to hold my kids close and repent when I failed to be the leader and father I should be or to be an example like I had. I have a debt to every premium member to bring them the most accurate and up to date information on the program. As long as I am truthful, honest and accurate, coach may not always like that things get reported, but that has not as of yet hurt our relationship. I doubt it will. Mark Dantonio is a good man. These are very tough and trying times, but I have never wavered that he is a good hearted man of whom I am proud to call my friend.
Hondo, can you explain something for me. I know Coach Dantonio said on your TV show about not firing coaches and he has said that he won’t reassign any staff. How can that be? Sylvia R.
I can answer this with some breaking news that you haven’t seen reported anywhere. On December 15 of this past year Mark Dantonio was asked if there would be any staff reassignments since he said after the Penn State game that there would be no one fired. Here is what he said at the time. “In terms of our staff, there will be no changes made on my behalf on our staff. It's the same staff we won the Big 10 championship that everybody was celebrating last year. It's the same staff that won the Rose Bowl basically, same staff that went to the cotton bowl that had record-setting numbers in '14, and et cetera, et cetera. It's all inclusive. Everything is all inclusive. Doesn't mean we fire players or anything like that if they miss a tackle. So there will be no changes in that area.” Spartan Nation can now report in this bit of breaking news that Dantonio has in fact reassigned a staff member. Mark Snyder who had been the linebacker coach has been reassigned to coach with Ron Burton on the defensive line. He will now be working with defensive ends and Mike Tressel will take back over in the linebacker room. This was a desperately needed move and I applaud Dantonio for doing it.
Hondo, can you tell me a funny recruiting story? You always talk on the radio show about the humor of recruiting so I would love to hear one now that it is over. Nicki G. Owosso, MI
I had a coach this past year (not a MSU coach) call and ask me if I followed player “A” on Twitter. I explained that I did not because I couldn’t find him. To which he told me, “Screw it. Damn kids can’t have a Twitter name that a coach can find, must want to stay hidden. I’m moving on.” What is the moral of the story? If you are using Twitter and want to be seen make sure that your username is CLEARLY identifiable on social media.
Hondo, I was told that L.J. Scott has left the team. Can you confirm? Pete in Dansville
L.J. Scott HAS NOT left the team.
Hondo, I was stunned to read on the message board that while all of the MSU problems are coming out Mark Dantonio is out of the country on a trip? Mark Hollis isn’t the football coach and cancelled his NCAA trip as the tournament chair to be on campus because of the problems, but Dantonio didn’t? Please tell me that isn’t correct. What do you think? Thanks. S. Mary
Coach D has been out of the country. Mark Hollis I think did the right thing.
Hondo, obviously you knew of the problems for MSU football and now that I have went back and read several of your past articles I see you knew a large amount. Do you know if other coaches knew of problems and if they used it negatively against MSU in recruiting? Thank you. Joe Steele
Yes, I do know for a fact that other schools used some of the Michigan State woes against them in recruiting. I do want to address one thing. I am not sure that you can be fair and call it negative recruiting if you are telling the truth. MSU had and has some issues. If you tell the truth about them, I am not so sure that you can call it negative. If you had no problem when coaches used the woes of any school in telling recruits the truth, then you must accept it as a reality and fair game against your own.
Hondo, I am waiting anxiously to see if charges are going to be filed against the three players and suspended coach. What are you hearing? An investigation is not charges. Based on what you are hearing will there be any charges eventually filed?
Hondo, if you take the three suspended players, Demetrious Cooper and the suspended coach out of the equation are there other issues on the team? Thanks for all you do. It probably sucks to have to cover off field issues when it was just a year ago you were covering actually winning football. Scott Norman
It does stink. I much rather prefer covering actual football. You don’t go from 12-2 to 3-9 simply for the loss of some players. Please see the next question and my answer to address the first part of your email.
Hondo, I have class with a few MSU football players. One of them last week was laughing about how many players are red carded or red lighted, I can’t remember which. He said there was like 13. It did not sound good. What does that mean? Please do not use my name, I don’t want to get the player in trouble, but I am including a piece of proof that we are in class together. Thanks. (Current MSU Junior)
When a player is red carded or red lighted as you say (I have heard both terms) it means this. I reached out to two former recent Spartans and asked them specifically for this article to tell the fans the definition of the term. The first said, “When a player gets in trouble for breaking any rules, grades, legal troubles or anything not good he gets red lighted and that means he is not allowed in the building or around the team.” The other player defined it as, “When you have F*** up, you get red carded. You are out until you take care of your business. It isn’t supposed to be laughed at or treated like it is not big deal. It is a big F***ing deal.” As far as there being 13, I am not privy to all the internal discipline issues so it would be irresponsible for me to comment on an exact number. I am aware of several.
There you go everyone. That is your weekly MSU football questions and answers article. Make sure you send your questions to SpartanNationMail@yahoo.com and put in the subject line Football Q/A. If you are a premium member to Spartan Nation please make sure you point that out, as those questions get answered first. Thank you.