Senior Max Bullough, who was suspended for the Rose Bowl game for violating team rules, will play in the East-West Shrine Game Saturday. (Dale G. Young / Detroit News)
Lansing – Former Michigan State linebacker Max Bullough didn’t play in the Rose Bowl after being suspended for violating team rules, and as the two-time captain spent this week preparing for Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game, some wondered whether his standing with the Spartans would keep him from wearing his Michigan State helmet.
Coach Mark Dantonio, however, has no doubt.
“Max Bullough is a Spartan,” he said Friday at the Lansing Center, where he spoke to the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association. “He’ll always be a Spartan and I would expect him to wear a Spartan helmet and I would be disappointed if he didn’t.”
There has been plenty of speculation about Bullough since it was announced on Dec. 26 that he had been suspended, the day after the Spartans arrived in Los Angeles for the Rose Bowl.
However, while many rumors have circulated, nothing has been confirmed and Bullough did not grant any media requests during the week of practice for the Shrine game in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Dantonio said he hasn’t talked to Bullough this week but has been in regular contact with him since the season ended.
Bullough is one of three Michigan State players taking part in all-star games. Safety Isaiah Lewis was added to the Senior Bowl roster on Thursday and defensive end Tyler Hoover is playing in the College All-Star Bowl on Feb. 5 in Greenville, S.C.
Cornerback Darqueze Dennard announced on Thursday he would not play in the Senior Bowl.
“I think it’s very well deserved,” Dantonio said. “Isaiah Lewis is an outstanding player and he’s gonna be an NFL player. I think Max Bullough is doing a good job in the East-West game. So, I think I saw Tyler Hoover is involved in an all-star game as well. It’s gonna be exciting for them.”
Time to cruise
Winning 13 games and bringing home the first Rose Bowl championship in 26 years is not only good for Dantonio and his players, it’s pretty good for the rest of the coaching staff, as well.
Dantonio is planning to send his staff on a vacation to Mexico, though he will be busy on a trip with other coaches at programs sponsored by Nike and won’t join them.
Is it a chance for the coaches to have fun without the boss around?
“Probably,” he said. “Probably do. But I’d have fun with them, too. I just can’t take two weeks (off).”
Dantonio has sent the staff on trips in previous seasons and got the idea when he was an assistant at Ohio State.
“I had the opportunity to go, when we won the national championship at Ohio State, he sent us on a cruise,” Dantonio said of Jim Tressel. “I thought that was something that, if I was ever the head coach, that’s something I’d want to do. So when we’ve had a great year, when we won the Big Ten championship (in 2010), when we went to the Outback Bowl and won that game (after the 2011 season) and went to the championship game and those types of things. So this will be the third opportunity to go on a little vacation, so it’ll be nice.”
While Michigan State will be waiting on letters of intent on national signing day Feb. 5, two members of the class are already enrolled. Dantonio confirmed that tight end Matt Sokol of Rochester Adams and linebacker Chris Frey of Upper Arlington, Ohio, are both already at Michigan State.
“Big guy, great ball skills, runs very, very well,” Dantonio said of Sokol, who was a quarterback in high school. “I think he’ll be a mismatch guy for us. Been very impressed with his work ethic in camp and things of that nature.
“The other guy is Chris Frey … he’s another guy that I think is a Chris Spielman-type throwback. He plays extremely hard. Everywhere he goes, he’s making his presence felt and I think he’s going to do that this spring. Those two guys are exciting guys to have here.”
Dantonio said the team still hasn’t scheduled its banquet and wants to make it at a time all of the seniors can be back. He guessed it would be either in late March or sometime in April.
… Dantonio also added, as of now, no players have told him they plan to transfer before next season.