Mark Dantonio: Going into the day before the scrimmage I think thus far summer camp has been good, banged up a little bit like everybody and we’re in the dog days sort of so everything is the same almost every day except change of pace, change of situation. I’ll just take questions.
Q: Thought of that being the same every day is that kind of where the linebacker race is right now with those guys just back and forth?
DANTONIO: You know I think Riley Bullough has some really good things in there. Obviously guys flashing, Reschke’s flashed, Taiwan Jones is much improved than he was in the Spring and I think he’s got great moments out there. Mylan Hicks has been a guy that you notice him, you notice #6, you notice him running, you notice him moving, you notice his leadership out there as well. There’s always someone in camp that catches your eye and you say, hey you know that guy, cause he’s been digged up throughout his time here and that guy is a guy I think is going to have a presence, a situational guy.
Q: Are you ready to say Taiwan is the guy there?
DANTONIO: No, I’m ready to say we’ve got our linebacker play has improved it’s MIKE linebacker and Reschke’s done some good things too, they’re both growing in those areas but Taiwan has been solid.
Q: With all of your success over the last seven years, where do you find joy going forward?
DANTONIO: For me, every year is a new year. You know you can’t be stagnant, every year is new possibilities, new dreams, new people, new leadership, new team, you know your freshman coming in is part of the youth movement I guess, so every year is a new year and it’s just the way it is. You look forward to the opening game, you look forward to the season to see what you can accomplish.
Q: With your program having accomplished so much, now things you would have celebrated when you first got here are accepted and expected, do you just have to keep redefining yourself and your goals or how do you find personal satisfaction?
DANTONIO: I think you’re always motivated and in athletics you’re always motivated on the next challenge. I think that’s just the way it is. You’re either moving forward or you’re moving backward, so we need to be at our best as we go into these challenges, it’s all about hailing success. I’m hoping that we’re building our program in that way, that we’re not looking back and saying ok we’ve done that, we’re done. I don’t think you ever finish, you’re always moving forward.
Q: Coach, are you starting to get an idea about the identity of this team, is this 14 today, practice 14?
DANTONIO: We’re in, I can’t even remember what practice we’re in, I know it is the 14th of August that’s about it, but we’re in day 12 we’ve managed to lift our guys a lot, so I think we are stronger now. In terms of being in summer camp and being able to maintain our strength we’ve been able to do that. I think we remain fresh as well. So we’re going long and hard when we go and when we step away from it we’re preparing whether it is film, walk throughs, strength training, those type of things, so I think it has been good for our program thus far. But, I can’t remember what the question is.
Q: I was asking if you are starting to get a feel for this teams’ personality or identity, they’re all a little different you said?
DANTONIO: Yea, I think we are. We’re far ahead where we were offensively at this time last year. Guys have progressed. I think some guys like Aaron Burbridge is having a great camp, Lippett, you know the guys that we’ve talked about before. Our quarterbacks are playing very well as well. The defensive side of the ball I think we’re growing, we’re playing a lot of players. You know, I think we are playing well up front. I think we’ve got good players up front.
Q: The follow up on BTN’s report, you’ve practiced in three different facilities, were you impressed with the continuity and how challenging was it to pull that off?
DANTONIO: Well you know when we have a problem here we always just say adjust and move forward, that’s just sort of the three things we say. Adjust and move forward, so we took it over to the bands’ new turf field with the tower and the whole deal and gave it the stamp of approval.
Q: The scrimmage is big for everyone Mark, but for a guy like David Beedle that’s third string, has a chance to play as a true freshman, is that maybe bigger for him than anybody?
DANTONIO: Yea, it’s big for our freshmen because all of our freshmen because they put themselves in a position to play and so now can they finish. It’s all about they can look good for one play but can they look good for six and seven plays in a row and that’s the challenge.
Q: How about London, especially with that and what he has to do in the running game and what are you looking for in the running game? You keep Langford out and kind of hold him back a little bit still just to see what those guys can do?
DANTONIO: Yea, a little bit and what you’re looking for again is consistency especially in the passing game in terms of blitz pick-ups and things of that nature and obviously with the ball in his hand can he make great runs, can he secure it? Thus far he has, but is he going to put it on the ground, you know those type of things, mental mistakes.
Q: Has he had mental mistakes in camp Mark?
DANTONIO: He’s had some you know pass protection but he is far and above what a normal freshman is in terms of running back knowledge, in terms of pass protection and things of that nature and I think that comes from where he played high school football.
Q: Last year’s defense had gumption to it, when do you find out if a group has that? Can you not really find out until the adversity strikes in September or October?
DANTONIO: I think you find out somewhat you know in scrimmages and things like that when you start to go long, you know when you have series of plays you find out a little bit about that but again you’re not game planning for our offense so there’s differences, you’re putting in your base defense and going against base offense so there’s going to be some different things you have to adjust out but at the same time I think you really find out something there. More importantly, I think you find that really during the season; how you’re going to handle real adversity on the football field and when’s it going to come and it is going to come.
Q: When you talk about your team identity and searching for it, what do you want your identity to be?
DANTONIO: Same as it has always been. I want us to be able to play hard, be able to handle tough situations, and be grounded in hard work and discipline. You know it’s the same thing that I say all the time; want us to be confident and want us to be champions.
Q: Are you happy with Delton Williams coming off an injury?
DANTONIO: Yea, Delton’s having a solid camp, physical, powerful, he’s down a little bit in weight so, he’s down to about 225, but good runningback, very good.
Q: Yesterday you took the guys to the pool, diving competition swimming competition, how much does that help in a team that maybe people a normal fan wouldn’t realize that helps?
DANTONIO: You know when you’re doing this over and over and over you know they go from here to the dorm to the dining hall back to here that type of thing, anything you can do to create a little bit of different setting for them I think is positive. I think they had a good time over there, played a little corn hole, watched people go off the boards and stuff, it was nice.
Q: On Saturday, for the scrimmage situation, do you try to dial it up like you see against Jacksonville State and Oregon tempo-wise or do you just worry about getting ready and doing what you guys want to do?
DANTONIO: We’re going to worry about who we are. I think that’s always it all starts with that, who we’re going to be as a football team, it’s not what somebody else is right now, this time is spent about who we are and that’s what is the scrimmage tomorrow.
Q: Did you get up on the diving board?
DANTONIO: No I didn’t. No I didn’t. I was asked. I was asked, but I looked at it and I just thought no,not right now, too many cameras around.
Q: Could you beat Craig Evans in a cannonball contest?
DANTONIO: No, he’s got me there.
Q: How many snaps in this scrimmage Coach? Is it Friday night or is it Saturday?
DANTONIO: The scrimmage, we’ll go Friday, we’ll go tomorrow. I think it’s Friday.
Q: Do you know how many snaps you want to go yet?
DANTONIO: Well, not really, it’s a little bit of an unknown, it’s a feel thing. We go until we go.
Q: I know you are constantly evaluating, but when does the focus shift from a huge focus on evaluation to more game week preparation worrying about the first and second string guys?
DANTONIO: I think it shifts next week a little bit because you got to start getting ready not just for Jacksonville State but you got to start getting ready for school to start and when school starts I think there is a change in terms of when you’re practicing, everybody’s got to get all their other stuff done and then they got to come here to practice so you got to be able to maintain, you know there’s a little of bit of learned response there especially for freshman.
Q: So this scrimmage is just huge for a lot of guys trying to play into the playing group?
DANTONIO: Yea it is, every snap is huge and you know we’ve gone live, we went live Monday, we went live yesterday, so we’re going to go live, you know 8 times this summer camp so, we’ve done 2 we’ll do 3 tomorrow, and tomorrow will be an extensive scrimmage.
Q: How’s Macgarrett Kings doing?
DANTONIO: Yea, Macgarrett’s doing a good job and he’s a playmaker and he’s doing what he needs to do. He’s in the mix. He makes too many plays, a good player and he’s done the right things.
Q: If you had to put a percentage on it, how ready is this team for game condition, I guess you could say?
DANTONIO: Well you know, I got asked about our football team a couple of minutes earlier, you know there’s no time for that, if they blow the whistle and say it’s game time we’ll be ready, right now, we’ll play a game right now if we needed to. I think that’s what we’re always going to be challenged to do. When you are called up to play put you hand down and play.
Q: So when you come here Monday Mark, you’re going to have a pretty good idea, barring an injury, which of your freshmen are going to play this year won’t you?
DANTONIO: A pretty good idea who’s going to play but at the same time you don’t wanna play a couple of guys a couple plays and then not play so they got to be able to maintain that so they got to show consistency but got to stay healthy again that’s the big thing, can you stay healthy through the (29:40) part of camp?
Q: When do you put in Jacksonville State stuff? When do you start looking at that stuff? When do you start installing it?
A: You know we’ve worked a little bit on that already, we’ve worked a period here or there, but we’ll go more intense next week.
Q: Thoughts on just their coach and their offense, just general observations?
A: Be a challenge
Q: Unique? Have you seen this before anywhere else?
DANTONIO: Yea, we’ve seen a little bit of everything I think so, but it’ll be a challenge for us, be an exciting challenge, first game.