MSU Head Football Coach Mark Dantonio Updates the Latest from Camp….
Dantonio: As we go through this a lot of guys are getting reps. We got a lot of players out there and it takes time to get through it. I think the key thing anytime you start to go live in practice or even in a game is that anyone can be good for one play, but you’ve got to put a string together. You’ve got to play six, seven, ten plays in a row very very well. You have to condition yourself for that mentally and physically. That is where we are at right now. There are some guys doing some good things out here and there are some guys that have to make a player here a play there. But guys are competing and it was a great practice.
Q: Who are the guys standing out?
Dantonio: (Jeremy) Langford look good today. Looked VERY good today. Just watching practice it’s hard to say, but (Keith) Mumphery had a couple nice catches. I always look at it do they have the 50-50 catches? Do they pull it down with someone right on them and he (Mumphery) made a couple of those today and that was positive, but guys have done that out here (in this camp). You see that happening.
Q: Is the entire team and staff amped up to have pads on?
Dantonio: Yup, I think we have to make a bit of a statement so this was one of our live days. We went live today. We were out here for a while. Got some young players a lot of reps at the end of practice too. Sort of a show time scrimmage, an opportunity for them.
Hondo: Mark what are you most pleasantly surprised with during the camp so far?
Dantonio: I think our guys, the retention is pretty good. They seem like they are in condition, they guys coming back there is a lot of retention, a lot of retention, but especially I would say on our offense. Offensive side of the ball. When I look at our guys at wide receiver we’ve got as much depth probably as we have had since we’ve been here. Quality wide receivers who can make big plays. That’s exciting.
Q: With all of the focus on your freshman defensive line that just came in do you find yourself watching them a little bit more?
Dantonio: Yea. Yea you tend to watch those, but then again you’ve got to be able to put together a string of plays. That’s difficult. Young players are not used to playing against guys their size. It’s sort of a give and take there. This is how you get better. We’ve got another two plus weeks of that.
Q: What did you see from those guys today? (Malik) McDowell, (Enoch) Smith today?
Dantonio: Malik McDowell is a talent, he’s learning things daily. Like I said the other day I think all of those guys have their moments. Enoch made some plays today. I noticed him. Enoch Smith making plays out there. Those are the two guys I would say at inside, defensive tackle that look good. But the other guys, when I sit and go over this stuff with our coaches, we talk personnel, we talk young players, they are very very positive about all of those guys so that is exciting. They are saying good things about all of them. So it’s just a matter of who can come on and again sustainability.
Q: Can you detect yet the Espirit De Corps of this team yet or to early?
Dantonio: Too early. I think too early. Got to have some adversity. You don’t know how people are going to handle that until you get there I think sometimes.
Q: Do you try to create adversity?
Dantonio: You try to work them, to tire them and create some adversity. You try to create, but until you have it, you know it when you have it.
Q: You mentioned Jeremy Langford but Madre London is a guy. How did he look today?
Dantonio: He looked good. Broke a long run in the show time. He runs behind his pads. (Gerald) Holmes had a nice run today as well. Delton Williams looked good too, physical. Downhill runner. Pads are cracking. You’ve got to evaluate the film to really see what happened out there because there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle.
Hondo: Mike Geiger told us that last here he knew from 50 and in he was automatic and with improved strength this offseason he feels the same confidence from 55 and in. If that is accurate how much bigger of a weapon does he become when you know from 55 in he’s going to make it happen?
Dantonio: Mike Geiger is very accurate from wherever as long as wherever we put him in there he can continue to be as accurate as he is. It’s a great feeling. 55 is WAY out there. A lot of conditions have to be right, wind etc., but he has that kind of leg.
Q: After going hard today do you taper off a little?
Dantonio: I don’t know. Depends on what the film looks like.
Q: Did you do prove its or one on ones or live team work?
Dantonio: We did the whole gamut. We did one on ones, half line stuff, half line blitz we did everything.
Q: Did any of the freshman or guys that redshirted last year impress you in those one on ones?
Dantonio: It’s hard for me to say because I am looking at one place, but yea they have done some good things. Demetrious Cooper looks sharp. Obviously our starters look good.
Q: Miguel Machado. Your thoughts on him?
Dantonio: He’s a very good athlete. He’s gotten bigger, he is 295 now. he just got here so he just got eligible. He’s working with the twos. I think he is going to be a very good football player for us. He’s got to learn what to do, but he is much farther along from where a true freshman would be because he has played against big guys. He’s been coached at the college level, and seems like a great young man.
Q: Montae Nicholson what does he bring?
Dantonio: He is an exciting player to watch. Very gifted physically. Again you have to sustain. If you know what to do and play at a high rate of speed every single play. So sometimes those things catch up with a young player on the field. That is our job to try and get him ready by game time. It’s still very early in the process.
Q: Is there a message with your name tag being upside down today?
Dantonio: That is the whole world you are looking at.
Q: Rest of this week’s schedule?
Dantonio: Dog days! Ground hog day. Whatever you want to call it. Will taper off a bit on Friday because we have a scrimmage on Saturday.
Hondo: Traditionally in camp you try to do something fun to break up the work and monotony, what are you planning this year?
Dantonio: We live on the edge. We’ll think of something. We’ll think of something. We played a little corn hole last night. We’ll think of something more unique than that. It’s got to be fun. It’s hard work out here. There’s full contact and this is not an easy game. As I tell our guys all the time, this is NOT a video game. You don’t get to line them up like that and press a button. This is the real deal out here. You’ve got to prepare yourself for that just like everyone else in the country is.
Hondo: Narduzzi said the other day that he hates practices in shorts, it’s just soccer. Do you feel the same way?
Dantonio: I think there is a separation, not that I am not a soccer fan because I am, but I think there is a separation when you put pads on. There is a different level of intensity. It counts a little more because you actually have to get them down. The only way to do that is by practicing that, but it has to be controlled. I think we try to control the tempos, it is very difficult to try to get game tempos, situations and speeds, but we try to simulate it as much as we can. Bottom line is can you get them down or can you run through a tackle.
Q: Overall are you seeing what you want to see?
Dantonio: Yea. I think we did. I think it was a good practice. We saw good things on both sides of the ball. You are never going to win as the head coach. I saw guys making plays on both sides of the ball and that’s exciting.
Q: Is this the time you see who really is in shape and who is in football shape?
Dantonio: I think you have a tendency to start to see that, but again we are playing four or five or six play sets, probably four or five play sets and then they are out. So we’re trying to condition them to play longer periods of time.
Q: Were you able to get out of here without any injuries?
Dantonio: Yea. I didn’t see any injuries.
Q: You want the tight ends to grow up and I imagine they have shown some of that?
Dantonio: Yea. I think our tight ends are as deep as they have been since 08. We’ve got more of them, more guys that know what to do, understand it and are functional. It’s an exciting position. We can use several tight ends and we have four or five of them.
Hondo: You told us in the spring that (Chris) Frey and (Matt) Sokol may have a little advantage over the other true freshman because they enrolled early and where here for spring ball. How is that playing out with them?
Dantonio: Retention! An opportunity to get involved faster because they know what to do. Frey runs in and out with the twos. Matt because of the depth at tight end and being in his first year is a little behind that, but he catches the ball, he is 245 now, and he understands the tempo of things. Same with Chris. They understand the temp that is expected here and that is a change. When you come from high school where you have been the man and things are tempered around you a little bit, that is a change for people. They got to adjust.