East Lansing — It likely would take a lot for Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio to admit he felt bad about anything happening at Michigan, but he certainly recognizes what the Wolverines are going through.
Michigan is in a state of turmoil, with many calling for coach Brady Hoke to be fired after another disappointing loss and a 2-2 record.
"I think first of all coaching college football at this level is a very difficult job," Dantonio said Tuesday. "There's a lot of criticism. I guess there's a lot of fanfare plus and negative. I think basically what I'm trying to say is I don't think there's a bad football coach out there. I think there's things that start to roll one way or the other. A lot of it is chemistry sometimes relative to what's going on at the moment.
"But I have a lot of respect for Brady."
Michigan State has won five of the last six against Michigan, which is one of the reasons Hoke is feeling so much heat. Plus, Michigan has yet to beat Ohio State since Hoke arrived in 2010.
Spartans star in NFL
Dantonio has been reveling in the success lately of some of his former quarterbacks in the NFL.
Kirk Cousins and Nick Foles stole the show last week in a Washington-Philadelphia showdown that became a shootout between the former Spartans. The Eagles won as Foles threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns, while Cousins had 427 yards and three scores.
Cousins and Foles were at Michigan State in 2007, backing up Brian Hoyer, who was a junior and in his first year starting.
"Sort of unique that we had Brian Hoyer and Nick Foles and Kirk Cousins all in the same room as quarterbacks being coached by Dave Warner back in 2007," Dantonio said.
Foles threw eight passes that fall before transferring to Arizona, while Cousins stuck around.
"Although (Foles) didn't graduate from Michigan State and played here, I consider him one of our guys, one of my guys," Dantonio said.
"As a matter of fact, talked to his father yesterday, talked to Nick recently."
A fourth Michigan State quarterback, Drew Stanton, has led Arizona to two straight wins and will be the honorary Spartans captain Saturday agaist Wyoming.
Michigan State's running game came to life last week in a 73-14 victory over Eastern Michigan, compiling 336 yards and seven touchdowns.
Heading into Saturday's matchup against Wyoming, Michigan State could be close to getting another lift with the possible return of fifth-year senior guard Connor Kruse (lower body).
"We're going to find out later in the week," Dantonio said. "We're not really sure, but he's close."
In Kruse's absence, junior Donavon Clark moved from right tackle to right guard while sophomore Kodi Kieler has started at right tackle.
... Dantonio suggested junior linebacker Ed Davis has some work to do to maintain his starting spot at "money" linebacker.
"If Ed does what he is supposed to do, he'll start," Dantonio said.
He didn't elaborate on what Davis hasn't done, but against Eastern Michigan, sophomore Riley Bullough started.
... Michigan State officials announced that about 700 tickets are available for Saturday.