The void might be filled with All-Ohio kicker Eric Duale. Dantonio himself called Duale just before Thanksgiving, signaling the skipper's seriousness about special teams.
The call surprised Duale, who didn't expect to hear from the head man, even though a close friend is Dantonio's nephew. An unofficial was planned and Duale made the trip north from Medina last weekend to watch a Michigan State bowl practice
"I talked to Dantonio for like 15 minutes after practice," Duale said. "They'll know in a couple weeks if they're going to offer me."
The offer is waiting on Dantonio, who will soon watch Duale's film.
If it's made, the offer may come in one of two varieties. Duale said he was told he could have the chance to only man the kickoff duties next season (like Boleski does now), or he could be gray-shirted. If that were to happen, Duale would have the chance to both kick off and attempt field goals for his entire career.
Duale made 10-16 field goals this season, with a long of 50 yards. He also got a chance to kick his first game winner.
"It was in the fourth quarter, zero to zero, and the team got a safety," he said. "Then we drove down the field and there was 27 seconds left and I had to kick a 49-yard field goal, and we ended up winning 3-2."
His average kickoff was 65 yards this season, and opponents' average starting position was at the 19 yardline. A tally on touchbacks was not kept, but Duale says he booted it through the endzone on "a majority of my kickoffs."
Duale will be back for an official visit in January, on the weekend of the 24 or possibly sooner.