Tuesday, October 16, 2012

News and notes from Dantonio's weekly press conference

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio held his weekly press conference on Tuesday from East Lansing. Here are a few news and notes from what he had to say.

- Dion Sims is not listed on the depth chart again this week. Paul Lang, Andrew Gleichert and Derek Hoebing are all listed as possible starters at tight end. Dantonio said they will know more this week about Sims’ status but he has yet to practice.
- Aaron Burbridge, Tony Lippett and Keith Mumphrey are listed as the starting receivers this week.
- Kurtis Drummond to be the starter at free safety. Isaiah Lewis will start at strong safety along with Johnny Adams and Darqueze Dennard at cornerback.
- Dantonio called this a big rivalry game (obviously), and that it is good for his football program and for the team to go into a great environment like Ann Arbor on Saturday.
- He called the game a pivotal one regardless of records. Dantonio said a win is a win, it would be a big win for MSU. Beating Michigan five straight hasn’t been done before, so it would be special. He also added that you keep track of the rivalry games the rest of your life.
- When asked about the lack of fans at Saturday’s game, Dantonio said he was more concerned about the ones that show and he appreciates their support. Said it’s a fickle society and there is a lot going on in people’s worlds. Football is not the end game for a lot of people, but he’s sure it will be this week.
- Dantonio acknowledges that MSU needs help to get to the Big Ten Championship Game. He said that help usually does come and that there is a lot of parity in the conference. He just wants to focus on one game at a time and focus on the present. If they take care of their business they have opportunities in front of them.
- When asked why he approaches the rivalry the way he does, Dantonio said that people view things differently. His coaching background brought him to MSU in 1995 and he experienced things back then that shaped that. He said he has never made the rules, just plays the game. These rules were established a long time ago, he is just playing the game.
- Dantonio said he has great respect for Brady Hoke, feels that Hoke handles himself better than Dantonio does. Dantonio just goes about his job and hopes “that other guy” doesn’t show up at the press conference (referring to the “next question” guy). Feels Hoke maintains his composure well.
- Dantonio said that you can’t divide the team in terms of offense and defense. MSU is not getting it done as a team. Can’t just blame the offense or the defense.
- Dantonio said that Denard Robinson is a tremendous football player. He is the central theme to what MSU has done defensively. A lot of things that MSU does on defense center around quarterbacks like Robinson and Braxton Miller. They can take a bad play and make it into a good play. The Spartans need to know where he is at all times. Dantonio said that Robinson has been a great player at Michigan and will be remembered as that.
- Dantonio said that William Gholston has grown from last year’s situation in the Michigan game, said he needs to. Dantonio said Gholston has a lot of people watching him on a daily basis on and off the field, and he needs to handle himself accordingly. He will come ready to play on Saturday.
- Dantonio thinks Michigan is “back”. He feels MSU will continue to win and be a leader in this conference. He looks forward to competing against Michigan yearly.
- No player availability for the media this week for MSU to avoid bulletin board material this week.
- When asked why he was staying so humble and calm about Michigan, Dantonio said that the media hasn’t stoked his fire yet.
- When asked about recruiting against Michigan, Dantonio feels that kids are green or kids are blue by the time they are 14 in this state, maybe 10. Says it can be a hard to swing a kid in recruiting in this state if they have grown up a fan of the other team.
- Dantonio attributed the weather and Iowa defense to some of Andrew Maxwell’s struggles on Saturday. He said they had their issues as well with details and execution.
- Called the end of the first half against Iowa a missed opportunity that was one of many in the game that could have led to a different result. Said he now thinks of it as a long kick into the win and the rain, but they still couldn’t take that opportunity for granted.

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