Michigan State head coach, Mark Dantonio, at the Big Ten media days. Photo courtesy of Bill Marklevits.

Today was Mark Dantonio’s table interview at the Big Ten football media days.  Spartan Nation was there and we have all of the coverage of Coach D’s comments.

 

ON THE BIG TEN CHAMPIONSHIP RING:

“That’s a trophy ring, it’s in a trophy case.”

“The one we have is bigger.” (Comparing the MSU 2011 Big Ten championship ring and his OSU national championship ring)

 

ON LOOKING BACK AT 2010:

“It’s 2011, it’s a new deal.”

 

ON MOTIVATION FOR THIS SEASON:

“P4RB.  It means ‘prepare for the Rose Bowl.”

“It’s been something we’ve talked about since winter workouts.

“It’s a common theme, going from good to great.”

“I don’t think you can say ‘there it is’ (a common theme for the year) until it touches you in August.”

 

ON EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011:

“Our expectations are a good locker room, players that do the right things off the field, and that will work hard.”

“It’s got to go beyond wins and losses.”

“We need to play every game, one game at a time.”

“Everyone can always improve.”

“There is structure to everything, we’re just trying to set the foundation.”

“I do think we have confidence.”

“What our players need to understand is that there are 11 other schools with good football teams that are trying to do the same thing.”

 

ON HOW COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS CHANGING:

“We’ve seen college football in the last 20 years evolve tremendously.”

“Schematically, coaches do a great job of analyzing every little part of the game.”

“I remember when zone pressures first came in, and that whole aspect just took off.”

“Then you saw teams spread it out, and Northwestern won a Big Ten championship doing that in 2000.

 

ON HIS DEFENSIVE PHILOSOPHY:

“We try to make it as simple as possible, but comprehensive.”

 

ON IMPROVING HIMSELF AS A COACH:

“I’m a defensive coach, but last spring for example I didn’t go to any defensive meetings.  I spent my time in the offensive meetings.”

“I was just trying to get better and learn.”

“We always talked about getting 3% better each practice.  That was my way of trying to get 3% better.”

 

ON THE ADJUSTMENTS HE HAD TO MAKE WHEN HE FIRST BECAME A HEAD COACH:

“I’m no longer a defensive coordinator, and I was responsible for every part of the program from the socks we wear to the alumni.”

 

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING GREAT ASSISTANTS:

“Those are the guys that will touch your players.  You can’t touch them every day.”

 

ON PLAYERS THAT ARE IMPROVING WITH EXPERIENCE:

“Rashad White, I thought had a dominant spring.”

“The second year a junior college kid plays he gets significantly better.”

“Same thing can be said for William Gholston.  You have to adjust to the college level

 

ON NEW OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR, DAN ROUSHAR:

“Roush has a great attention to detail, great football mind, and a great relationship with the players.”

 

ON APPLYING HIS DEFENSIVE KNOWLEDGE TO COACHING AN OFFENSE:

“I look at things more as a defensive coach.  I look at our offense and see that a defense could get a line on us here or there.”

 

ON RECRUITING:

“(When asked about the state of recruiting this year) Excellent.”

“We’re competing for a high level of player.”

“We’re being very well received nationally.”

“When you hear we’re in a recruit’s top 10 that’s good, top 5 is better, top 3 is better than that.  But they can only pick one.”

“We do recruiting studies every year.  You’re always looking at a numbers game.”

“(Referring to why he’s been so successful recruiting Ohio) Ohio is close, I know Ohio, my staff knows Ohio.”

“Even when I was at MSU before, 26 players were from Ohio.”

“(MSU plans to take) 18 to 20 for 2012”

“We’re going to take care of Michigan first, but we need to get into Florida, we’ve done well in Georgia, and we’re trying to get into Texas.”

“Recruiting is recruiting, you never know what will make the difference for a player until he gets on campus.”

 

ON DEALING WITH ADVERSITY:

“Adversity helps you get stronger if you accept it and learn from it.”

“You look at Kirk Cousins against Notre Dame in 2009.  He drove us down the field, and it was a great drive.  He just made a bad throw, and I like to think he wouldn’t do that now.”

“When you have things happen to you it draws you closer, like a family.”

 

ON HAVING YOUNG DEPTH:

“We have 2 seniors in our first 22 on defense, and that’s a good thing.”

 

ON KEYS TO MSU’S SUCCESS:

“We do a nice job of selecting people that are going to work.”

“Everybody on our team has to overachieve, and I think a lot of our guys do that.”

“I believe overachieving is key with any team.”

 

ON THE PUNTING GAME:

“The punt is the most important play in football.”

“Mike Sadler has an unbelievable leg.”

 

ON LARRY CAPER AND EDWIN BAKER:

“They’re best friends and roommates.”

“Larry was a feature guy in ’09, then he fractured his hand.  You can just never know what will happen.”

“It doesn’t matter who runs the ball to me, so long as they go ‘that way’ [pointing forward].”

 

ON DANNY HOPE:

“I think he’s done a great job holding everything together.”

 

ON THE BENEFITS OF GIVING SCHOLARSHIPS TO WALK-ONS:

“They have their summers freed up.”

“Some of them can afford to come to college, but others can’t.  And Jonathan (Strayhorn) had to work in the summer.”

“You just have to play the best guys. n They have to work their way into the two-deep.”

 

ON THE BATTLE FOR THE CENTER POSITION:

“Both of those guys are very athletic.  I think it’s a great situation.”

 

ON MICHIGAN INSTITUTING THEIR OWN “COUNTDOWN CLOCKS”:

“I’m not going to worry about what goes on in another program.”

 

ON KIRK COUSINS:

“He’s had to climb mountains too.”

“I feel like I can talk to him and say what I need to say and he feels that way too.”

“He’s not just a good football player, he’s going to be a great husband and father.  He’ll be a great community leader.  He’ll be a great senator.”

 

ON IF HE HAS ANY NEW TRICK PLAY NAMES:

“I don’t know yet.”

“You’ve gotta have a name for every play.”

 

ON THE DISAPPOINTING 2009 SEASON:

“I didn’t feel like we had the quarterback situation solidified.  I didn’t think we had the tailback situation solidified.”

 

ON ANDREW MAXWELL:

“Andrew Maxwell will be excellent as our quarterback.”

“This is now his 3rd year in the system.  We’ve been fortunate with the quarterbacks here now that they committed early and got to know what is going on.”

 

ON THE POSSIBILITY OF LAWRENCE THOMAS BEING A DOWN LINEMAN:

“He doesn’t want to, but he cam in at 273.”

“He’s down to 260 or 265 now, but that’s still pretty big for a linebacker.”

 

ON PREPARING FOR YOUNGSTOWN STATE:

“We have 29 practices until Youngstown State, so I’d say the first 18 will be all about us.”

 

ON TRENTON ROBINSON:

“(Speaking about his fire) That’s just him, I love him.”

“He brings the emotion.”

“He’s fun to be around, he’s a character.”

‘Trent is a student of the game.”

 

ON THE DEFENSIVE BACKS:

“I like their mentality.”

“It’s about so much more than tackling and covering the ball, it’s about accountability.”

“Mylan Hicks, who is backing up Trent, has big time ability.”

“Tony Lippett will be starting practice with the defensive side then we’ll work him a little bit with the wide receivers.”

 

ON IF MSU IS A “SEXY” PROGRAM:

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

“I don’t want to be known as a sexy team.”

 

ON TWITTER AND OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA:

“I don’t use Twitter”

“I don’t want to stop them from doing anything, but they need to understand it reflects on all of us.”

“When am I not the head coach of Michigan State?  Should I have bought a bottle of Jack Daniels and sat down with my Twitter?”

“We brought in Troy Vincent to talk about it.”

“He showed them some twitters that were negative and positive by the same player.  He just asked them, which one are you?”

“I do have a Facebook now, I have 45 friends.”

 

ON JEREL WORTHY’S TWEETS CALLING OUT OTHER PROGRAMS:

“Hellraiser #99, you need to decide who you are.”

“Keep the lion in the cage.”

 

RESPONDING TO JIM BRANDSTATTER’S CRITICISM OF DANTONIO’S COMMENTS CALLING JIM TRESSEL A “TRAGIC HERO”:

“I don’t even know who that guy is and as far as I’m concerned he’s never coached a day of college football and never had a meaningful relationship with a college player.”

 

ON HAVING NFL PLAYERS BACK IN THE FACILITY DURING THE LOCKOUT:

“Our guys that came back were great representatives for our players.”

 

ON KEN MANNIE:

“Ken (Mannie) has been a strength of our program even when I was here before.”

 

ON THE SPECIAL NIKE JERSEYS:

“William Gholston tapped me on the shoulder and asked if we could do the new rivalry game uniforms.  I said I’m meeting with Nike and I’ll ask them.”

“They asked me how far I wanted to go with it and I said ‘let’s go.’”

 

ON THE POSSIBLE 9 GAME CONFERENCE SCHEDULE:

“I think every team should play the same schedule.”

 

ON ARTHUR RAY:

“It’s been an incredible journey.”

“If he is continually able to come back I don’t want him to always be on the scout time and in constant danger.  He needs to take the step to being in the two deep.”

“I’m not surprised, but amazed by his progress.”

 

ON PAYING COLLEGE PLAYERS

“On the one side you get free college education.  But on the other side you also need to look at the fact that this is big business.”

 

ON FRESHMAN ASKING HIM WHAT HE THOUGHT OF THEIR WORK THIS SUMMER:

“Tell him I’m not allowed to see their summer work, but that the work is really starting soon.”

“I think that the freshman think they are ready to go and they’ll find out soon enough how little they know.”