Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio spoke on Tuesday’s Big Ten coaches teleconference. He spent some time providing updates on his Spartan football team and also looked ahead to Saturday’s matchup against Ohio State. Here are the highlights.
+ Asked about throwing the ball so much of late, Dantonio said they have a lot of confidence in quarterback Brian Lewerke and the receivers. The majority of the reason they are throwing so much of late is because they are having trouble running the ball. “Sometimes we’ve been forced into that situation.”
+ Ohio State is very talented with great athletes, and he was surprised what happened last week. There are reasons for games like that and as the opposing coach this week you look for those reasons and try to exploit them.
+ How did Dantonio turn the program around so quickly after such a bad season last year? They critiqued everything. They held players more accountable for different things. They went back to basics and used the practice time to get reps for younger players.
+ Everybody they play in the B1G is tough, so you better have a sense of a rivalry with every team you play. They don’t do anything differently against Ohio State, but they do have a lot of Ohioans on the roster — 26 players and 10 starters — which brings some added enthusiasm. “It’s no different in this state when we play against our rivals here.”
+ Receiver Felton Davis has stepped up in a big way. They only had 12 receptions returning from last season, so they needed people to step up this year and Davis has done that, as have others.
+ It’s difficult to play in the Big Ten East, but that’s the beauty of the conference. It’s a great recruiting tool because it prepares you for the NFL. “There are no hall passes.”