November 3, 2007
East Lansing, MI
Heartbroken is the only word that can describe my feelings about today. The Spartan Nation tonight will lay its head down, but won’t sleep very well. We will ponder and think about what could have been, as we all try to get the putrid taste of another loss to our bitter rival out of our mouth.
This loss hurts; it stings. Sure we have now lost the last six, but this one meant something more. Sure it would have made us bowl eligible. Sure it would have helped erase the pain of the last four years of the Cowboy. This one would have signaled something new, a rebirth, rejuvination and a sign of thing to come. All signs point to this being the last year for Lloyd Carr’s career. I have never been the most proficient person with words, but I have always written with a love for the Spartan Nation and for the first time in my life I am struggling to find words.
I am not an apologist. In fact, I have been very critical when it is necessary. Anyone remember that I was the first member of the media to say that a change was necessary. There is room to criticize play calling here, but there is more.
“How long will you bow to the University of Michigan,” was the battle cry of Mark Dantonio to his team all week. It is a great moniker and it is one that we will have to ask for another year. You can point out poor play by our kids and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, I will. You can point to offensive play calling that makes no sense (3rd down plays that don’t go beyond a first down marker) and I will.
There is a lot more here. Tonight I will ask the Spartan Nation to allow me to write my usual game critique article on Sunday and just let me pour my heart out. I end the news every night with the number of days until the next game. I realize that more than anything else (other than the health and well being of my family) I hunger and yearn to see the MSU football program return to what my father experienced.
I love this school and it’s athletic teams. I am sick of hearing about the “Glory Years,” and I am hungry to experience it. It is similar to when a child doesn’t eat all their dinner and a parent opines that there are starving children in Africa. I once told my Mother (although empty plates were not a common occurrence) that she could send them what I didn’t eat. I am sick of hearing about what we used to be. I am ready to become the Spartans who dominate.
I am a supporter of Mark Dantonio. I am a supporter of his staff. Unlike many of you, I have had the privledge of knowing him away from football for many years and I respect him as a person and a coach. I understand that he has to get players that fit his plan and his style. He was given a chance tonight to throw the kids he inherited under the bus when a media member asked him if it really boils down to getting his own players. He blew of the question like a momma bear separated from her cub. He talked about them being his kids. He spoke like a father protecting his own. The question directed Mark’s way was spot on, and Mark has too much class to state to obvious and deflect the blame. It is not his style; it does not breed accountability.
He has to get his own guys. Sure some of the kids he inherited fit his system, but many do not. MSU has not been blown out this year. They haven’t quit. He is playing with kids that he didn’t recruit and to their credit they haven’t quit on him either.
Nick Foles is a stud at QB and he wasn’t ready to play when the season started. He has been red-shirted. Sure Mark could selfishly throw away a complete season of eligibility and play him for four games, but that wouldn’t be fair to Nick and Mark won’t use kids for personal benefit or selfish accolades.
His staff will take some lumps for coaching decisions and their choices and they should. His players will take lumps for plays that they made or didn’t make and they should. I will deal with those tomorrow.
Tonight I simply say what no one wants to hear, but is so overwhelmingly true, we are rebuilding. This is the staff to do it. It really hurts to lose another , but one thing you can say is that no one is quitting. I promise that my article tomorow will name names and point out things with a lot of detail. Tonight I just have to accept what many of you already feel. I am heartbroken and changing a culture and a program are not done overnight.
I just need to go home and play with my kids and try to mend my heart. Tomorow I come out guns blazin’, but for now I want to go be a good dad for the night. When they go to bed I will watch the film and write my thoughts with more clarity.
I hurt with you all tonight. The entire Spartan Nation hurts tonight. This one is going to hurt for a long time and it should.
Take you lumps Spartans. We all had fun with UM when they lost to App State. Now we will get our due from the UM fans. Rightfully so. Take it with class. It hurts, but that is the way to do it. I will have my game story on Sunday. For now, it just hurts.