Your new MSU sports topic: We’re here for you

Here you go: A new topic for you to ask Brian or myself anything you want about MSU sports. Fire away.

Tons of recruits have been signing in a number of men’s and women’s sports the past two days, with Tom Izzo’s team conspicuously quiet. The wait for Jabari Parker continues, but the Spartans still don’t have a 2013 recruit yet, but the big win over Kansas in Atlanta on Tuesday has vastly overshadowed that. Derek Nix is the only senior MSU will lose next season.

MSU’s hockey team is enjoying scoring success from its young line of freshman Matt DeBlouw and sophomores Matt Berry and Brent Darnell.

Brian is on the road today, headed to Eastern Michigan to cover women’s basketball and Suzy Merchant’s return to her old coaching grounds.

Also, MSU’s men’s soccer team kicks off its NCAA Tournament at 1 p.m. today against Cleveland State at DeMartin Stadium.

And a reminder that the sixth-annual food drive will take place Saturday morning before the Spartans’ final home football game of the season against Northwestern. Fans are encouraged to donate canned goods and boxed foods for the MSU Student Food Bank and Greater Lansing Food Bank. Collection locations will be spread around campus and outside Spartan Stadium. For info, check out http://fooddrive.msu.edu.

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84 Responses to Your new MSU sports topic: We’re here for you

  1. avatar dmbtierney says:

    True, we only lose one senoir (Nix), but since we only have 12 scholarship players this season, we actually have two scholarships to give for next year. Therefore, Coach Izzo could still sign a top-notch recruit and keep the offer open for Parker whenever he decides to sign.

    • avatar Chris Solari says:

      This is where the current depth is such a luxury, to be able to bankroll a scholarship for next year. Losing out on guys who’ve been targeted for a long time like James Young and Johnathan Williams III hurts for landing another impact guy like Parker. And if Dawson and Harris continue to perform at the level they’re playing at right now, people will start talking about them leaving school early.

  2. avatar Lancelot_Spartan says:

    Hey, you listen to the people :) . Has Izzo ever had a year where he doesn’t sign any recruits? If we do not land Parker, are there any other top notch recruits that could possibly sign with MSU this year? I know he mentioned that he wasn’t putting all of his eggs in one basket, but it does kind of look that way.

    • avatar Chris Solari says:

      Gotta excuse the lapses – remember that Brian and I are juggling more sports right now than Joe did when he was here, so it does spread us a little more thin than he was with the blog. Shifting gears between sports in terms of research/reporting and writing, I’ve noticed, adds some more time than when it was just football season as our primary focus. Plus, I’m about to become a homeowner, and close/move date are both within the week. Not exactly the optimal time of year to be packing with all that’s going on at MSU right now!

      I can’t remember a year in which Izzo hasn’t signed someone. And I can’t recall a time when he’s landed a guy two years out (Drake Harris) before a next-season commit. Unless someone’s commitment falls through for some reason, be it injury or coaching change or simply a change of heart by the kid, landing a top 20-30 player for 2013 at this point will be next to impossible if Parker opts for another school.

      The thing about trying to find a player even remotely as impacting as Parker is that it’s way too far along in the game right now with how recruiting is working these days. Most of these relationships have been established for 3-4 years with the nature of recruiting today, and players make their pledge – like Harris – before their junior or senior seasons so they can get it out of the way and focus on their high school seasons.

      • avatar Ghost of Biggie says:

        So, moving out of Joe’s basement? I thought Drake Harris was a football scholarship.

        • avatar Chris Solari says:

          Yes, Harris will be on a football scholarship. Still considered a hoops commit, too, since he’ll have to go through the NCAA Clearinghouse for both sports. Curious to see how his focus/playing time works out in two years in the two sports.

          Joe’s old condo is nice, but the new house is MUCH nicer. Married digs. Real life. You’d be shocked how much stuff a bachelor amasses.

          • avatar Ghost of Biggie says:

            Your wife hasn’t sorted it over and banished 90% of it to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or the dumpster?

          • avatar Chris Solari says:

            You have to take into account that 60% of the stuff I own is already from Goodwill, Salvation Army or the dumpster. I’m frugal and thrifty that way. Or rather, I used to be. Now, it’s just double the donations for those fine organizations.

        • avatar Spartan 81 says:

          Drake is going to play two sports, Dantonio is on board, Solari is moving out because his bride writer girl did not like the new blue colored wall , Freep requires a blue wall in all beat writers rental properties.

      • avatar Ben Green says:

        Good luck on your move, Chris, and thanks for letting us know your time to devote this blog is justifiably limited.

      • avatar Ghost of Biggie says:

        Call Mary Ann at Two Men and a Truck to help you move. Tell her Discount Dave sent you. That’s not me but I know her ex’s brother and nephews well. She lived near them and us once upon a time. Forget the Discount Dave part that would get you in trouble.

  3. avatar 79 Spartan says:

    RE: Football

    Chris, I’ve thought all year that our offense has been constricted by the O-Line injury issues and the TIMING of those injuries including D. Sims as well as all our new wide-outs – by that I mean the formations have appeared more vanilla than they might otherwise be and the plays that we run out of those formations are less complex with less variables off of those formations (including check offs). I base this on a lot of observation and the ability of defenses to rally to the ball carrier, be it Bell running or a receiver catching.

    Does it really look that way in the press box or is there any discussion of this between the press and each other or the press and the coaches?

    • avatar Chris Solari says:

      Well, the reality is this team went into the year already starting to patch together the OL after Treadwell went down in camp with the broken tibia. That didn’t help matters from the start. By “timing of those injuries” to the other guys, I would say that the one-after-another nature didn’t allow for much complexity – hard to teach additional skill sets/plays when you’re shuffling guys around week to week just learning the base packages.

      Some people will point to the staff talking about the depth of the line, and it’s fair. But cohesion is only built on repetition up front. Knowing what the guy next to you is going to do, how he moves on certain plays, is critical. When you start six different combinations in the first eight weeks, that’s a recipe for problems.

      I think those injuries have hampered the running game more than the passing game – the OL has blocked awfully well for Maxwell. He’s been sacked only 12 times and hit on average three more times a game. Le’veon Bell’s per-carry average has dropped about a yard, though, since Fonoti and Jackson were lost for the season.

      The dropped passes and Maxwell’s learning curve have hindered the passing attack. The Sims injury timing also did, because he had become Maxwell’s security blanket – as any good tight end should for a new QB.

  4. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    The wait for Parker is worth it. It was all the eggs in one basket in 77 too as I recall.

  5. avatar SpartyOn says:

    A couple things on my mind:

    If Parker decides not to sign with MSU, could we maybe pick up a Brandon Wood style “one and done” transfer for next season?

    Any updates on the health of Matt Costello? Will we see him Sunday? Travis Trice status?

    Are Byrd and Kearney the kind of players who will be fine seeing freshmen come in and outplay them for playing time? I expected Harris to get PT right away, but I would have assumed either Byrd or Kearney would have fought off Valentine for those end of game minute in situations like Tuesday.

    As of this week you can go online (both through MSU and Stubhub) and buy really great seats to Saturday’s Northwestern game at very affordable prices. Combine a 5-5 team, noon kickoff, and mid 40′s temperatures, I’m a bit concerned about an embarrassingly empty Spartan Stadium.

    • avatar Spartan 81 says:

      That’s not going to happen some of us were on Coach Izzo’s patio when he was on the phone with him , Coach came out and said so. Tom Izzo does not put that kind of time and effort and come away with nothing. Folks said the same about Harris and he is here now. Tom Izzo will sign, he WILL NOT I REPEAT WILL NOT COME AWAY WITH NOTHING. I STAKE MY LIFE ON IT

    • avatar Chris Solari says:

      Getting ready to head to hoops practice in a few minutes, so I expect to have more info on Costello/Trice afterward.

      The grad school transfer route, that’s possible I suppose. That rule will be closing fast, I’m guessing. I’m against it – it’s tantamount to free agency. Coaches don’t like it, but you better believe they’ll all take advantage of the loophole until it’s gone. Nichole Auerbach of USA Today had a story on it last week – http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaab/2012/11/06/ncaa-mens-college-basketball-transfers-graduate-students/1679537/

      As for Byrd and Kearney, they will be needed over the long season. Kearney’s length and defense to me makes him more likely to get more minutes. Byrd’s minutes will be entirely predicated on him hitting his shots. He’s looked unstoppable at times in practice. That has to translate into the games. Both can create matchup problems. But with Harris and Dawson playing the way he is, minutes on those wing spots look to be few and far between right now.

    • avatar Chris Solari says:

      Izzo sounded optimistic about getting Costello some playing time on Sunday. How much remains to be seen, especially since he’s missed two games.

      Trice is out with the concussion, though Izzo called it a day-to-day situation but admitted that it could take some time.

  6. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    The Michigan State defense will rise up and shut down the Northwestern offense. It’s going to be a low-scoring battle with mistakes and field goals being a big deal, but in the end, it’s going to be dogfight that goes down to the final play. These two are used to that.

    Early Prediction: Michigan State 16 … Northwestern 13

  7. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Could you research the date of Earvin Johnson’s 1977 press conference to announce that he would be joining Jay at Michigan State? Was it as late as April of 1977. Ebling might know the exact date or it might be recorded somewhere.

  8. avatar behind the green curtain says:

    Retired marine and fan club

    I have been waiting all day for you to acknowledge why today is such a special day. Have not done a lick of work or looked at one bit of film all day waiting on ya son.

    Thanking you in advance for that acknowledgement.

    much obliged pardnah

    • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

      I only wish happy, happy to those who wish me the same and you missed your chance on the 10th of November. 237 and counting, there bunkie.

    • avatar behind the green curtain says:

      Dadgummit Well happy birthday than son did not know Nov 10 was your birthday and happ y veterans day on the 11th of Nov, now cheer for them hogs on Sat ya hear

      • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

        No, saying your sorry doesn’t get it, just like your creditors don’t take sorry in lieu of the $40M their owed.

  9. avatar '89 Chemistry says:

    How Appling got his groove back:

  10. avatar Trophy says:

    Chris – TV coverage for Sunday’s game????

  11. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Earvin will be at both the Boise State and Oakland game.

  12. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Chris, as a precaution can we project Trice as doubtfull for Boise as well given the day to day status?

    • avatar Chris Solari says:

      I wouldn’t feel comfortable projecting medical situations at all, but Izzo sounded tonight like Trice will miss a while. As I put on Twitter, Izzo said Travis is struggling to make it to class right now with the concussion. Nose is healing, though, it sounds like.

    • avatar '89 Chemistry says:

      IIRC, there was a “could be two weeks” phrase paraphrased from Izzo. That would be TxSou, BSU, Oakland and [I forget the fourth]. All should-win-handily games, but I agree with Rexrode that rotations need to be hammered out in that stretch.

    • avatar Breadtruck86 says:

      Speaking of Trice, did anyone else see a dirty play in the replays of when he got injured? Anyone who’s played on a playground knows there are at least 20 different methods of inflicting pain on a defender who is too close (and they look like accidents), and this looked like one of them. Subtle, like the elbow Kalin Lucas put in to the groin of the kid from New Mexico in the tournament a couple years ago (he rolled around on the floor through a whole commercial break, as I recall). This one struck me as that kind of move that intended to send a message, but not to inflict that kind of damage. Too bad it will cost Trice a month of another season, and will cause a long term problem by wearing a mask.

  13. avatar MGoBlow says:

    Chris & Brian,
    I not sure what I would do if my only option was little boy on fire . . .Very glad that U guys r here to be the heartbeat of MSU sports. Keep up the good work.

  14. avatar behind the green curtain says:

    Folks on what could be the final day of our mutual admiration society, the marine has taken a leave of absence on me. So be it the terms of our wager are as follows
    If Mark Dantonio goes 5-7 than the marine admits he misses Hog Heaven
    If on the other hand the Hogs lose game number 7, the day they lose that 7th game is the last day the marine ever hears from me again. Both games are at noon eastern tomorrow, Let the best man win.

    • avatar Breadtruck86 says:

      In the Marine’s Absence:

      “Get a life, Son”

      “I never get into a battle of wits with an unarmed man, son…”

      “You are an A$$ Bag……”

      “When you pretend to be someone else, it’s a terribly lonely life”

      “Wait – YOU’RE AN IDIOT and my legs work – good bye…”

      Fellow Spartans, please reply with your favorites….

      • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

        Thanks, Truck, the best is never argue with an idiot, he’ll drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

  15. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Chris, do you know if there will be any Gator Bowl scouts in the box tomorrow?

    “ The Gator Bowl is a fine bowl, a classy bowl. And anyone who says it isn’t I am going
    To punch him in the nose.”

    George Perles Jan 2, 1989.

  16. avatar behind the green curtain says:

    After reviewing and breaking down the film, position by position I am concerned about Northwestern. It would appear to me that Dantonio has at least 40 million reasons to be worried.
    It is appalling how many glaring and fundamental physical mismatches I saw . I have always been a big supporter of Coach Dantonio, but I am now starting to question whether MSU can stay with this team

    • avatar behind the green curtain is a bonehead says:

      The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which you have decided not to see.

    • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

      Some days you just need to stay off the board, bunkie. when I’m not here to whack your stupidity back over the net to you, these folks get fed up quickly. Just make the game tomorrow close in the first half so the sponsors don’t lose too much money.

      • avatar MGoBlow says:

        Ooh rah! Any bets on when JLS gets his walking papers?

      • avatar behind the green curtain says:

        Had to come on the board pardnah as it is probably my last day. stumbled on the following

        LeeBee says:
        November 16, 2012 at 10:34 pm
        Only JLS would make that bone-head, face slapping decision. Interesting how discipline has eroded from a fine Arkanas team as the players don’t call their coach “Coach” — thay address him as “John L” Unheard of in good programs.

        Now marine I do not know this young fan but every word he says is true. I cant sleep tonight, If I lose tomorrow I lose my retirement, tried something differant by not preparing or studying this week hoping it would work. The Cowbell tolls tomorrow at noon pardnah. And right now I dont have an answer.


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