Down with OPP: Mark Dantonio (MSU)

Submitted by oriental andrew on October 6th, 2010 at 12:18 AM

It's a big week for Michigan.  We've got the msu game Saturday and that means another episode of Other People's Pressers, this time featuring Mark Dantonio. Given the relatively short presser he gave, we have BONUS player presser coverage! Included are some kid named Greg Jones (does a decent impression of that foosball player, Bobby Boucher) and Kirk Cousins (a kid who is said to be able to throw the foosball pretty good here and there)

On with Dantonio...

On the rivalry, the game, and his health:

  • He's not missing it. It's too big, too special of a rivalry. Excited that both are 5-0.
  • Expects it to be a close game ("throw out the records") and hard-fought.
  • Expects to be in the press box for the game.
  • Hasn't done much beyond watching film. Doesn't want to rush back and consequently sacrifice his long-term health. (good call, coach)
  • This is a big series for him since he's been a part of it since 1995, when he was hired onto Saban's staff at MSU. Played Michigan every year since then (at MSU and OSU) except for 3 years when he was at Cincy.
  • Mentions that this game is important for recruiting the in-state younger guys (9th, 10th graders) by getting them excited about the winning team, in addition to having overall season success.
  • Avoided a trap question from one reporter about how "the momentum in this rivalry has shifted toward Michigan State's side." Just responds that "you're only as good as your last game." No "little brother" type comments this time.

On the gameplan:

  • Tony Lippett (WR, Fr), who apparently also played QB in HS. Very quick, good burst.
  • Says the have to swarm the D to the point of attack, get guys to the ball.
  • Need to tackle well, because Denard makes people miss and "can go the distance" if they do. Can also pass well and get you there, so big challenge.
  • Trusts coordinators Treadwell and Narduzzi implicitly to prepare and lead the team.

Now to Greg Jones...

On defending Michigan:

  • As for Denard, says that "the best thing you can do is try to corner him, try to give him a tight space to run with and contain him, go after it when he tries to throw the ball."
  • Asked if they're expecting to spy him with one or more guys, says that they'll try a few different looks, but that they "haven't put in a game plan or anything yet at all."
  • Must be very disciplined with him. Otherwise - "Guys get tired of chasing. He just busts one out. Stride for stride, he's very, very fast, extremely fast."
  • Says it's risky for a QB to basically act like a RB, e.g. heading to the sideline and cutting back in, rather than acting like a QB and just stepping out or sliding. Says Denard is "tough" and "brave."
  • Have to be more disciplined and "more smarter" in pursuit.

On the rivalry:

  • Not really a hate thing, but more of a strong desire to win.
  • Mentioned that the "bow down" thing was big for the team. Gave them a lot of confidence and said that Dantonio was the kind of guy they wanted to play for.

Punter Aaron Bates is up next. Really not much to say, other than that he mentions that Keyshawn Martin is a dangerous return man, that the best strategy is to hang it up high and kick to the sideline.

Next we have LB Eric Gordon...

  • Beat ND 3 times, want to do it to Michigan, too. Want to win it for Dantonio.
  • It will be a hostile environment, with most of the 110k+ against MSU. Need to prepare the freshman for that.
  • Mentions that Denard is a unique player, but they need to stick to their game, which is "getting downhill" and not getting "back on [their] heels"
  • Need to fill gaps in the middle and expect the safeties/corners to support on the outside in order to contain Denard. Excited to be the first to slow him down.
  • Always will be some trash-talking, but Dantonio teaches them to avoid that stuff, to talk with their pads.

Kirk Cousins is our penultimate player...

  • Doesn't care that it's been 43 years since MSU beat UM 3 times in a row, or about trying to outshine Denard. Just wants to win this game.
  • Moved to Holland, MI in 7th grade and learned about the rivalry. First exposure was Smoker/Duckett beating UM (blech). Wants kids to talk about MSU Monday morning at school.
  • Doesn't fall for the "Michigan's weak defense" question. Talks up UM's talent, LBs 8 (Mouton) and 45 (Ezeh), and the nose tackle (Martin).
  • Confident coming off the Wisconsin game, especially because of the way their D stopped Wisconsin's OL and running game.
  • The rivalry is big.  Mentioned that even night janitors are talking it up to him and hoping for a win.
  • Against a guy like Denard, need to control the clock (TOP), run the ball, keep the ball out of their hands.  Stick to our gameplan, strengths (same ol' same ol', basically).

Senior CB Chris L. Rucker is the last guy. They actually made it a point to include his middle initial - L, if you were wondering (Ed: They have a junior CB named Chris D. Rucker - no relation).

  • Denard is fast, good arm, makes it a challenge (starting to get repetitive, folks).
  • Nobody really compares to him as far as opponents he's faced (ok, that's a little different, i guess).
  • The WRs are a good group, so it'll be a challenge for the MSU secondary. The UM WRs "can make big plays, make plays in space, make big catches."

And that's all, folks. It got a little repetitive with the same Q's and A's about the rivalry and Denard, frankly, so I got a little lazy with the last few.  Also, it's late and I should get to sleep. GO BLUE!



October 6th, 2010 at 12:54 AM ^

I like the cousins quote about ToP last week it took us all of 18 minutes on offense to score 42 points clearly having the ball for longer than us isn't going to stop our dilithium powered offense


October 6th, 2010 at 1:13 AM ^


I know it is a presser and guys are supposed to say the correct thing but Cousins mentioned Time of Possession and controlling the clock.  TOP does not seem to matter w/ Denard running the offense.

Against Indiana:

                                                                         M                 IU

Possession Time............... 18:13 41:47

	1st Quarter................. 3:38    11:22
  2nd Quarter................. 4:56    10:04
  3rd Quarter................. 5:12     9:48
  4th Quarter................. 4:27    10:33
	Total offense plays.........   45       98

I know Cousins did not mention this but it is interesting
	Average Gain Per Play....... 12.8      5.8

I am sure you can go through more of the previous games and find
similar stats I only glanced at the IU game.  Only Saturday will 
tell if any of this means anything.  




October 6th, 2010 at 1:28 AM ^

But I smile when they say that just have to stick to their game and do what they do.  Just the fact that every defense so far has tried stick to their plan and failed.


October 7th, 2010 at 11:22 AM ^

I'm in Gangnam, near Seocho, actually on the same subway line that runs through Yeouido (line 9, 10 stops east). I haven't seen any fellow mgobloggers here that I know of, a few UM grads though. I do know there are several of us in Korea/Japan, like BlueSeoul and Boyz n da Pahokee (I think). I've thought about throwing up the Bat Signal in a diary, arranging a Korean MGoTailgate for a game sometime, but I've yet to act on it


October 6th, 2010 at 8:42 AM ^

is that he never seems to make any John L. Smithesque comments. He is definitely a grumpy gus:

But he generally is well enough spoken and says intelligent (for a spartan) things.

As far as the rest of the presser, really sounds like they're planning on pulling up on the line for contain. Will the Michigan Receiving Corps please stand up?

El Jeffe

October 6th, 2010 at 10:22 AM ^

Kirk Cousins is our penultimate player...

Did he really say that? Kirk Cousins is their second to last player? Yay!!!

Oh, maybe it was just spartyvocabularynooooo...

Ave Victoribus

October 7th, 2010 at 3:13 PM ^

Says it's risky for a QB to basically act like a RB, e.g. heading to the sideline and cutting back in, rather than acting like a QB and just stepping out or sliding. Says Denard is "tough" and "brave."

I'm not sure how to take that.  Respect.....or that he is going to get blasted by a corner, a safety, and two LBs in this game (AKA, veiled threat).

BTW, coach...that is if you can catch him. 

I'm hoping for the latter.