COACH TV:  Mark Dantonio Talks Pre-Practice

Duffy Daugherty Football Building

East Lansing, MI

The #5 Michigan State Spartans held spring practice today. Below is the entire transcript of head coach Mark Dantonio or you can watch the video above:

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio – April 3, 2018

Opening statement…

Going into practice 12, so excited about this week. Spring game coming up this Saturday, it’s a 5 o’clock start time. Big youth clinic and everything of that nature as we’ve always had. We’re just going through the process. Good spring practice so far, so looking forward to progress again this week.

On some of the standouts from spring practice so far…

You know, Byron Bullough really has had a great spring practice thus far. Justice Alexander is making progress, great progress. You know, he’s a guy that… He’s 6’5”, 260-265, long jumps 10-2, verticals 34-35, so I mean he’s finally starting to play fast and you see some good things from him. There’s a bunch of guys making moves.

On comparing Alexander to a guy like Joel Heath…

Very, very similar to Joel in a lot of respects. You know, Joel’s now playing with the Texans. Very similar. And again Joel played defensive end for us for quite some time before he transitioned to defensive tackle, so he was getting bigger and stronger, those types of things. But got a lot of guys playing well out there. Other guys got to continue to take steps but that’s spring practice.

On if there’s going to be a draft for the spring game…

No, we’re going to play like we did last year. I think we get more out of it from a team standpoint when we look at film and we can build on the things there. So we’ll play it in that confined type way we did last year, but I think it will be competitive and I think last year went down to a kick maybe, so makes it exciting for everybody.

On the format of the spring game last year…

Yeah, it was offense versus defense and then we had points put in there for different things and the offense scores as it does.

On what Spartan Nation should be expecting from the spring game…

First of all, it’s just a great opportunity to come out, it’ll be an afternoon game – there’s a baseball game on as well, got the youth clinic. You know, you get a chance to watch the 2018 Spartans which you got to make up your own assessment. There’s going to be some good, some bad, there always is, but what I look for is guys playing hard, playing with a lot of excitement and I think we’ll do that.

On the biggest improvement he’s seen so far…

Tough to say, we’re not playing against anybody, so that’s tough to say. I do think we have the right kind of mindset; I don’t think we’re settling. You know, we’ve come out and worked every day.

On what it is about the youth clinic that’s special for the players…

Well, you know, there’s about 1,800 kids that come to this – or 1,500, the last couple years. It’s just an opportunity to touch young people, I think as much as anything, and to see that excitement that they bring to our football team. It’s always been a great event for families and for our players and its sort of a community event. It’s just been a good thing. I always ask our players to try and be a light to some degree as best they can and they’ve tended to do that, especially on that day.

On the outlook about the return teams this spring…

Well, we used three guys last year, actually four last year. Three of them true freshmen, which is very difficult to go back there, but I thought those guys did a nice job. Cody White did a nice job fielding the football. We need to get more out of it after the catch and we’re working hard to do that.

On if he expects Cole Hahn to compete for the kicker position…

Yeah, he’s got to compete for it. Tyler Hunt as well, who walked on. And then Matt Coghlin’s been doing it some as well. We need a guy to take over that position.

On Brandon Sowards…

Brandon’s not going through spring ball, he’s sort of tentative through spring ball a little bit, but he’ll come out the back end.

On the biggest takeaway from the second scrimmage last week…

Just playing hard; guys playing hard. We’re not going into it too much but guys playing hard and very active – it’s always competitive and I think that’s as good as anything.

On the addition of Chuck Bullough…

All of our new coaches have done a great job. Chuck’s been a great addition. I think all the ball destruction that he brings to the table is cutting-edge, you know, when you watch it and you see it, those types of things. He’s a former Spartan, he’s been in this uniform so I think he brings a lot of credibility.

On the new coaches bringing a fresh take to the team…

Well, you know, I think any coach you bring in is different a little bit – different ideas and brings something new to the table and I think it keeps us fresh. We’re always trying to look for new ideas, things to implement and we’ve always done that and we’ll continue to do that. But they’ve brought a different perspective, just like everybody. We miss the guys who were here before but at the same time, there’s always an opportunity to get better.

On what it’s like having Don Treadwell back with the program…

I was taking a walk with Tread the other day, a little exercise, a little bit of a run, but just good. There’s so many things that we have in common, that we can talk about in the same terminologies, same different languages. He’s been here in such a vital role for seven years with me and as the offensive coordinator at Cincinnati.

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