Duffy Daugherty Football Building

East Lansing, MI

Mark Dantonio has been my friend for over 20 years. One thing that I have stressed since he arrived back on campus as the head coach is that Dantonio will not lie to you. He may not tell you every detail, but he won’t lie. That is why I asked him directly what he is pleased with so far in camp.

“For us, it has always been about how you are doing things. Do they retain how we are doing the process? Do they retain offenses and defenses? Not only that, it is how they get from drill to drill. Do they retain the ability to move in and out of the different situations on the field? And we are trying to work them all. We did goal line today. We worked third down today. We were third and short today. We worked base stuff today. So, we are trying to hit it all. We worked two-minute on the first day of camp. That is unusual, but our players have a good grasp on things and we force the issue with them. That is how we have been able to do it here.”

So while the Spartans had lots of losses from last year’s team personnel wise, that doesn’t mean the cupboard was bare. Dantonio was emphatic about that.

“I think we have the players in place to be as good or better than last year, I do. We have some guys that are younger players that need to fill in. Our freshmen class defensive line-wise has got to learn. You see they’re very unique players with certain skill sets.” He was specific about a couple of places on the defense where the Spartans have great depth. “I do think our linebacker group and secondary group has experience. Experience is not just playing in one game, it’s being able to adjust from game to game to game. I think we’re able to do that. They have a lot of playing time and minutes behind them. That should come into play in the process here.”

The next week will have a major impact on the Spartans 2016 season. Next Saturday will be the most important scrimmage of the season. After next Saturday’s tilt, the staff will have long meetings evaluate film, make many determinations on the depth chart and have a great idea on red shirts.

After Saturday’s scrimmage at Spartan Stadium Mark Dantonio stressed the impact this week of practice and next Saturday subsequent scrimmage will have on the 2016 season. “This film will be heavily evaluated, then we need to get better this week. And then next week’s film takes them to the turn (of preseason camp), and at that point in time, you have to start making some decisions.”

For many reasons, the next seven days are the most impactful on the regular season and where the Spartans will know a lot more about themselves.