At his weekly press conference on Tuesday Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio was asked about the Urban Meyer hiring at Ohio State.  It was a fair question.  Dantonio has strong ties to the school and has to go head to head with the Buckeyes on the field and in recruiting.

 

The styles are different on offense so that means they will be going for a different type of player on that side of the ball.  Secondly, in the overreaction by many with the Urban renewal plan in Columbus, it wasn’t like Tressel didn’t get the pick of the litter in the bucknut state.  With limited scholarships there will always be plenty of players for the Spartans in Ohio and the worry and conjecture is downright humorous, if not ignorant.

 

Although I have not seen the video, I am even told that former OSU QB and current ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit said that the B1G would essentially be a scout team for Meyer.  I have too much respect for the man Brent Mussberger calls “Herbie” to believe he would say something so foolish.  I have however heard other analysts allude to essentially the same thing.  If that is the depth of their analytical abilities I am glad they aren’t advising me with my finances because that is lazy and uninformed conjecture.  Hyperbole at it’s finest.

 

Dantonio seems to subscribe to my way of thinking.  When asked about Meyer he responded with, “I’d say it’s a great job.  He’s a great football coach.  The success has been there in the past eight years is a challenge, because if he’s half as successful as that, he’s going to be very successful.

My focus is all right here.  We’ll deal with Ohio State next year, and that’s when we’ll do that.”

 

Dantonio’s remarks were refreshing, but in being true to his Midwestern blue-collar Ohio roots, he had to get a sign of support for his great friend Jim Tressel.  When he commented about what had been done, he was subtly reminding everyone it isn’t like OSU has stunk prior to the arrival of the chosen one in Meyer.  That program can’t get much better.

 

One thing you have to respect and love about Dantonio is that he isn’t afraid of anything or anyone.  He says what is on his mind.  When asked if the B1G conference was getting tougher with the addition of Meyer he didn’t hesitate to draw a line in the sand.  “No, I don’t think so.  I don’t think so at all.  It is what it is with every football team in this conference.

The programs themselves become really bigger than the coach that is coaching them.  I believe that.  If Mark Dantonio’s not here, somebody else will be here and they’ll be pushing Michigan State forward.  Same is true down the road or same is true at Notre Dame.

It’s a difficult challenge as it is, but our focus right now is on Wisconsin.”

 

You may remember that Jim Tressel told Spartan Nation when MSU hired Dantonio, “Things just got a lot more difficult for Ohio State and the Big Ten.  We will compete and will continue to do what we do, but the level of difficulty just went straight up with Deno (Tressel’s nickname for Dantonio) and even harder for the rest of the conference.”

 

Tressel was proven right.  In the mass hysteria of a 24-hour news cycle and social media that screams for constant status and timeline updates the response to Meyer getting hired has been humorous.

 

No doubt he is a great coach and recruiter.  No doubt OSU will be good, but all of those things were true under Tressel and MSU still is on the verge of back-to-back B1G titles.  So let the media slobber over Meyer.  Let the social networks declare the demise of the rest of the conference.

 

MSU still has Dantonio at the helm and a program that is no longer rebuilding.  It will be a fight, but when hasn’t it been?  I don’t care how old you are, when was Ohio State NOT a formidable foe and the Spartans still have a deep lasting tradition.

 

Nothing has changed but the name in the rivalry of the OSU head coach.  Other than that Dantonio has MSU back.  Someone should ask Meyer how much more difficult is the conference with the reemergence of MSU?  That seems more fitting.

 

Until then MSU is preparing for the first annual B1G title game and OSU is getting all the press.  Who cares?  Not Dantonio!