Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio give you the latest Update on the Spartans from Camp today!
Dantonio: I thought our guys had the opportunity to sit back and evaluate themselves a little bit yesterday (Sunday) and they had some time in the evening with their coaches as well. So that was a positive. We are back out here today and this is the week of the grind. You’ve got to push forward and things start to separate themselves a little bit. There are still a lot of things obviously we’ve got to work on.
Hondo: Coach I know you don’t like to talk about injuries to your players, but could you update us on the health of your staff? (Laughter)
Dantonio: Yeah we don’t talk much about injuries but he (Harlon Barnett) is not out for the year so that’s a positive. Coach Barnett tore his Achilles. He’ll do a great job. He was getting a little exercise. A little basketball. He’s trying. He’s trying. He’ll be O.K.
Q: What did you like most about the scrimmage on Saturday?
Dantonio: I thought Saturday’s scrimmage the quarterbacks played extremely well. Really all three of them. The offensive line protected the quarterback pretty well. We went a lot of plays. (183) Players tell me near 200, but I don’t believe that. (Smile) We’ve got a lot of guys to rep. We got about 50 for the ones, sixty for the twos and we got some for the threes. So it was a productive scrimmage in that area, but I thought our quarterbacks through the ball very very well and our receivers made some tough catches. Guys competed. We are finding out who’s who in the two deep as we move forward. The biggest thing I liked is that we played hard and it was competitive out there.
Q: How did Taiwan Jones do?
Dantonio: I thought Taiwan was solid. You have to condition yourself to play this game. So you have to be able to put six, ten plays together and that’s what we are working towards. I think when he’s playing fresh he can be a force in there.
Hondo: There has been a lot of talk about Malik (McDowell) and Enoch (Smith, Jr) but David Beedle is one of your freshman defensive tackles that is making a move. Is he playing himself in to the playing rotation?
Dantonio: Very solid. David is very solid and tough. Firm. Aggressive and plays hard. Yea and he does. Those are things we have to figure out today. Not today, but this week. Who’s in that two deep or really three deep at defensive tackle because they will all (all three strings) play. Malik and Enoch I thought played pretty well.
Q: How as the 1st team O line against the 1st team D line shake out?
Dantonio: I think the defense is a little ahead of the offense in terms of run defense, but there were different things happening from a pass standpoint. We are very solid on the offensive line. I think the mechanics of what we do, the concepts, the techniques are very solid. I think we have depth with the offensive line position. I’ve been impressed with (Kodi) Kieler with the twos, (Miguel) Machado is a solid two now and will be capable of playing for us. Brian Allen has been TREMENDOUS as a true freshman. He’s playing center and he’s playing guard. I want to say there is retention from him talking to his brother (Jack Allen starting C) about things relative to our offensive line. You can see he’s been coached up before he got here. He’s physically able to do it. I think Dennis Finley is a guy that is playing himself into some things, he’s much improved. So all of those things are positive.
Q: Impressive numbers out of (DeAnthony) Arnett on Saturday. What can we read into that?
Dantonio: He had big plays Saturday. He played very consistently. Caught the ball consistently and made tough catches. He’s got great speed. He’s played as well as he has played. The thing here is who is going to be consistent in the wide receiver area? We got some guys back, but he is in the picture there is no doubt. Especially after the scrimmage he is definitely in the picture. He’s one of those six.
Hondo: Who on either side of the ball made the biggest move, up or down, the depth chart based on Saturday’s scrimmage?
Dantonio: You guys are really going to put me on the spot on those. (Smile) You know we’ve got guys constantly, let me be diplomatic, we got guys constantly moving up and down the depth chart. Today’s little intangible is adversity. So we’ve got some guys going to second team and we’ve got some guys going to the first team. So it works both ways. You’ve got to be able to handle that adjustment. Either way you’ve got to compete at a higher level or you’ve got to respond. So not going into the particulars, if we went down, I think we will leave it at that.
Q: You mentioned adversity. You have a concept every day with your team called, “Quiet Time,” what exactly is that?
Dantonio: We have a little quiet time. We started doing that when I was with Coach (Jim) Tressel. He started doing that. This is my 11th year as a head coach and we’ve done it for 11 years. We do it pretty much in summer camp. We just take an intangible, and just like you are in second grade, we kind of dwell on that for a minute. Whether it is a video or it gives one of our assistant coaches a chance to walk up in front of the team and talk. It’s just an opportunity to sort of gather yourself before your day and that’s what we have tried to do with it. It’s put a little bit of extra focus on it, in this case adversity today. Or whatever it is, but just a little bit of focus. Has to do with football, but not really, it has to do with your life. A little bit about how you are going to handle yourself from a life component.
Q: How is Darian Hicks doing over there? (He is the cornerback replacing Darqueze Dennard)
Dantonio: Darian has been very solid. He plays the ball in the deep part of the field really well. He runs. He’s gonna have a great year. He will have a very competitive year, I will tell you that. He’s gonna play a lot of football for us. He’s got to go out and show it. This is his first opportunity to really go out and be starter out there. He’s being pushed some, and the completive nature of that position over there is being raised.
Q: Do you as coaches start to raise the heat a little bit during this time of camp?
Dantonio: I think just by nature it’s the dog days. You’ve been at it, the freshman are figuring out it’s not a picnic out here. There’s work to be done. Our older players are figuring out they are going through two a days for the last time and some of them are just going through it. This is the grind week like I said. The heat gets turned up and we get a little closer to game time.
Q: Any clarity behind (Jeremy) Langford at running back?
Dantonio: I think we’ve got, I can’t really say clarity because Nick Hill, Delton Williams, Gerald Holmes and Madre London all got reps. Those are the things we need to find out this week. They’re all good players.
Q: Any injuries from the scrimmage?
Dantonio: Nope. (Big Smile) None that I can think of. No serious injuries.
Hondo: Will you scrimmage again Saturday?
Dantonio: We’ll go love more than that. We’ve got to work it.
Hondo: How many days including Saturday will you go live this week?
Dantonio: Counting Saturday probably three. I think we need to do that.
Q: Jamal Lyles, what is his progression at TE?
Dantonio: He’s going to have an outstanding career here as a tight end. He’s got big play potential. He’s working at the ones. He and Josiah Price are our first tight ends. (Andrew) Gleichert is right there with them. I would say our top two tight ends are Lyles and Price right now.
Q: You aren’t into hitting quarterbacks anymore are you?
Dantonio: No, but they are what we would say is active. They need to always know that there is a possibility that some is, not going to hit them and then get corrected for it. They need to protect themselves.
Q: How about the outside linebacker spots? How are those competitions going now? Any changes (depth chart) after the scrimmage?
Dantonio: Yea. There is change. There is always change. I said we wouldn’t talk about that. I think it is too early to say who has solidified themselves at which positions. There are good players, but (Riley) Bullough’s made plays, Chris Frey is making some plays. There are other guys there in the mix that are going to play football for us. Mylan Hicks is a guy that is in and out. Very active when he’s out there. Those are the twos, but sometimes they work with the ones. Sort of how they are playing every day.
Q: You mentioned adversity a few times. What are you referring to?
Dantonio: I’m just referring to the time of the year really. The quiet time part of the day was adversity. How to handle it.
Q: Did (Montae) Nicholson just work for you at cornerback in the scrimmage?
Dantonio: Yea. He looked good, but he was a freshman out there a couple of times. It’s difficult. It’s challenging. The thing you have to do is take and put a string of plays together. You can go out and play one on one and look tremendous because you are gifted. But then you have to put it together for six or seven plays, same with offensive line and all of these positions. But when you put it together, with run and pass, not pass drill. Run and pass and you have to out six, seven or ten plays together you have to be able to do that. Usually experience separates that I think. Those are the things we are trying to work towards and do.
Q: How is Matt Macksood?
Dantonio: He’s a guy that has put himself in a position to compete for playing time. He blocked a punt last year. He’s a very good football player. There is no question he is going to travel, the question is he going to fit into that top six or seven or what is his role going to be. He’s a very good football player. Great hands. Had a big catch (in the scrimmage on Saturday) and it wasn’t like he just caught the ball over someone’s head. He caught the ball made some people miss and went the distance.
Q: Is the offense ahead of the defense?
Dantonio: OH I would NEVER say that. I’d never say that. I’d say we are right where we need to be and we’re going to keep gaining.