Duffy Daugherty Football Building
East Lansing, MI
As Mark Dantonio enters his tenth spring he brings a lot of history with him. As one of only two football teams having finished in the top ten over the last three years, his success speaks for itself. But time has proven that change is inevitable.
When you look at the Spartan roster there are a lot of changes as players have moved from one position to another this spring. An example of that is Kyonta Stallworth who came in last year as a true freshman offensive lineman, but is practicing this spring on the defensive line.
So are all of the position changes for Dantonio more like a puzzle? Looking for ways to get great players on the field? He says, “I think there are experiments, and then also I think that — we’re trying to put people in a position — the best positions for them to play. That’s number one. Number two, we’re going to try and promote growth and stretch people. So I know where Kodi Kieler can play. I know where certain players can play, so we need to stretch them and see can they play at these different positions as we move forward. Just an example. So that’s what we tend to do in the spring. That doesn’t mean, is it a week or is it a couple days, is it a — is it an entire month-long situation, so we’ve got to figure that out as we go. But we do want to try and expand our players’ knowledge, and the best way to do that is to work them at other positions sometimes.”
Another guarantee about time is that things change and that not includes personnel, but style of play and game planning also adapt. Dantonio had admitted he will tweak some things, but how much and what?
“You know, I think that what we’ve done is we’ve had a lot of time to really digest what we’ve done. We’ve done a great job, I think. Our offensive and defensive and our special teams groups, we’ve really taken what we’ve done and really analyzed it to the best of our abilities, but we’ve taken our time doing that and looked at it very objectively in all areas. We won 12 games last year, and we’ve been pretty successful here as of late, but I think you can always get better.”
He went on to add, “We look at the areas where we’re deficient conceptually, and try and improve those areas, whereas some things where we’ve not been — some things we’ve not done, and we try and go there with that aspect, as well. Without really saying what we’re doing, yeah, we’re trying to change for the good.”
So will you be making significant changes coach? “Not significant. I think significant would be a mistake.”