Opponent Press Conference Notes - Michigan State (Dantonio)

Submitted by oriental andrew on September 30th, 2009 at 8:56 PM
Someone asked for it in the RR press conference post comments, so here is my attempt at it.  I'm just going off the MSU athletics site's press conference notes, but helpfully (hopefully) distilling it into the salient points.  If I'm actually diligent enough to keep this up (between work, school, and family), I'll try to do this every week for all our opponents through the end of the season.  We'll see what happens.

Opening comments:
  • Starts off with some comments about being disappointed in the 1-3 start, but encouraged that the losses have been close.  Also is very complimentary of Tate; the "big playmakers on the offensive side of the ball" in Denard Robinson, Carlos Brown, Brandon Minor, Martavious Odoms, and Greg Matthews. 
  • Comments that we're on our 3rd DC in 3 years, so learning curve and all that but, again, complimentary of our "very good players," citing specifically Obi Ezeh, Brandon Graham, and Donovan Warren. 
On to the questions from the press:
  • On the Defense: need to be aware of the deep ball, as well as tackling better.  He mentioned something about being better structurally, which I take to mean coaching and calling formations on the defensive end. 
  • On the QB situation: doesn't commit to one QB.  Suggests it's a momentum thing and that he'll play the guy who gives them the best chance to win.  Says there is no sense of frustration that one QB has not emerged.  (For the record, it seems sparty fans are calling for Kirk Cousins to take over.)  Also has 10 positions on the depth chart with "Player A or Player B" listed as the starter.  He says it's a competition thing.  Here is the link to the Depth Chart. 
  • On their OL: says the starting C being out the last 2.5 games has affected their running game negatively.  Current guy, John Stipek, was recruited as a DL.  A bit of a revolving door on the right side of the line (RG, RT).  Also had an injury at LG.  Says that although their technique is lacking, they haven't missed many assignments. 
  • On the DL: have had a couple minor injuries and youth affecting level of play.  Basically need to get better at everything - "provide more pass rush, get off blocks and use our hands better, and apply four man pressure a little bit better."
  • On Greg Jones: great player, but in a new position this year (Mike, was Sam last year) and can still improve. 
  • On punt/kick coverage: this question was probably asked with Daryll Stonum in mind.  Dantonio responds that punt coverage has been good, but that they lost their kicker (Boleski), who could kick it deep.  Other than a long return last week to the 40 (on which he claims there was a clip), they've generally contained the returns. 
  • On the rivalry: they, too, are in a little more of a bunker mentality with closed practices, etc.  Intense focus because this is an intense rivalry.  The reporter mentions the "bow down little brother" thing and Dantonio basically validates that feeling.  He says every team needs a rival, and that this is it for most people in the state, "at least if you're green."  (note the subtle dig)
  • On the WRs: Blair White has been emerging, with a solid 2nd half of the season last year.  (He is their go-to WR at this point, leading the team in yards, receptions, and TDs.  Dell appears to be their big-play guy, though)
Ok, nothing terribly exciting or informative.  Nothing explicit on the injury situation, except for some kid (Johnny Adams, CB) who is out for the season, and a few guys who were "banged up" last week.  Far less informative than the RR presser. 

Comments

OSUMC Wolverine

September 30th, 2009 at 9:02 PM ^

Well I was hoping for a forfeiture out of fear and admiration. I guess we are going to have to play this one. It's a season breaker for MSU if they lose this one. We had better be ready for a despirate team taking despirate measures.

PurpleStuff

September 30th, 2009 at 9:11 PM ^

I can't believe he left Junior Hemingway off our list of offensive playmakers. Doesn't he know he's been hurt the last few weeks and is ready to come back even stronger? How long do we have to put up with this blatant disrespect?

But seriously, glad to hear they are having issues on both sides of the line of scrimmage. Gives me hope that our guys will have a big advantage in the trenches and that usually leads to a W.

Florida Blue

September 30th, 2009 at 9:17 PM ^

Everyone keeps saying that this is a huge game for State but I think it is huge for Michigan. Sparty is better than their record and Michigan has a chance to prove themselves on the road. Plus this will show how if and how we will handle physical teams. We really need to win this game. Go Blue!!

bronxblue

September 30th, 2009 at 9:23 PM ^

Not that I expected anything inflammatory, my guess is that since he is 1-3 and the natives are getting a bit restless in EL, Dantonio wants to be careful not to make himself a lightning rod by making some inflammatory comments.

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

September 30th, 2009 at 10:03 PM ^

Cousins-Nichol is starting to remind me of Miami's so-called controversy last year. I don't think Nichol will eventually transfer, but like Harris and Marve, you don't need to be a genius to see which is the better choice.

bronxblue

September 30th, 2009 at 11:16 PM ^

As someone who attended both schools, I will concur with your general sentiment that MSU girls tend to start off more attractive and fizzle out while UM girls remain attractive throughout. And no, the fact my wife is a grad of UM and is watching me type this has no effect upon this opinion.

And by the way, I really don't see the difference between a MSU freshman

and a senior

(and feel free to negbang me if you want)

jsquigg

October 1st, 2009 at 12:16 AM ^

So much for staying on topic. I think the game is as big for Michigan. You can tell Rodriguez thinks it's big because of closed practice. After last year and all the talk about MSU taking the state over as well as the press questioning Rod every step of the way, I think he's giving this game special treatment. To be honest, if our defense has a good day I don't think State can hang with us, but that's a big if at this point.

victors2000

October 1st, 2009 at 11:30 AM ^

It is refreshing to know they have their own problems in terms of health; if Dantonio is running a smoke screen, he is doing a pretty good job; they sound banged up and susceptible. As for our team, my biggest two concerns is depth and youth. When is the last time Michigan fielded a team with so much youth? Apart from last year? While we are young, especially at the skill positions, we have playmakers all over the place. Last year around this time all we had was Brandon Minor/Sam McGuffie and a bunch of Florida talent that looked out of place here, but now the guys are looking DANGEROUS. If we continue to improve offensively-and we will-this could be the game that gets us some serious pub across the college football landscape. That would set up a huge game with Iowa, the biggest one since the #1 vs. #2 matchup back when Chuck Long was their quarterback. I guess I don't need to be looking ahead like that, GO BLUE, BEAT GREEN!!!

Geaux_Blue

October 2nd, 2009 at 9:50 AM ^

i challenge the notion this game is not as important for UM as it is for MSU. UM wins this they are 5-0 and in the drivers seat for a bowl game, needing only to win against DE State and 1 of 6 other teams, 3 of which are winnable as of now. MSU might need it to avoid going 1-4 and having a bowl game unlikely but UM needs this MORE because of last year.