MSU Spartans
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2009 Michigan State Green and White Game
 
 
 

 

 
 

April 25, 2009

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Head Coach Mark Dantonio

Opening Statement...
I think you see why now we when you look at our quarterback situation it's a little too close to call right there. I thought that first of all we always like to see it close, and it was close, and we probably would have just kept playing overtime, but I think a storm was coming so we played it out.

Offensively speaking, we are obviously very pleased with our quarterback situation. I thought both responded when they were down, both showed good leadership and both made plays. White was up 17-0, and [Kirk] Cousins brought them back with precision throwing and had a couple drops early. Guys made catches, guys made big plays. I just can remember a couple of times tight ends went out and made outstanding catches. Defense was hanging all over them and they made the catch. Same thing with a couple of wideouts - Miles White makes a great catch, [BJ] Cunningham does as well and [Mark] Dell had a couple ... good production from our offense obviously to give us chance.

Defensively, stopped the run I guess. Linebackers played pretty physical - good hitting out there. Can't really evaluate too much when you are looking at it from the game field as opposed to film. We had four secondary players out, but I do think the guys made plays though. It was a matter of guys just not being able to play. I think the offensive players made the play. You saw the ability of [Keith] Nichol. Saw the precision throwing by Cousins, so all looks good.

I felt good about our kicking. I like the way that [Dan] Conroy hit the kick at the end into the wind. Took a little guts, took a little confidence there and he kicked very well. I expect great things from Swenson, but we got that from our second team kicker which is good to see.

What are we disappointed in is that there were legitimate penalties. We can't run out on the field to celebrate like that. So too many penalties I guess, too many unforced penalties. But it was the first time playing in front of a crowd, but we have to be able to omit those. Everybody had an opportunity to play which was a positive. I think everyone went away from the Spring game and felt good about it, we had no injuries. Trenton came back and played after he went down for a second, so that was all positive. All and all spring went very, very well. We're ready to go and I think we have a good football team.

On the situation with the quarterbacks...
We are just going to continue on as we have. Give them opportunities to play and evaluate those opportunities. Give them opportunities to play with the ones and slice the twos. Our wide receivers are much of the same and so are our tight ends, and we can say the same about the running backs. We can play a lot of guys, and as I said earlier we have depth on this team right now, and maybe it's because of some guys. In terms of the running backs, we lost Javon [Ringer] and this is where we're at. I think our wide receiver situation ... you have four or five guys making plays. I saw Fred Smith, Miles [White] make a couple. Those are positive things and we can build from those things.

On seeing the type of plays during practice...
We had seen that type of thing in the winter and spring practices. In our first scrimmage that we had, defensive played very, very well, second scrimmage defense still played well but we gave up a couple of big plays. The guys can make some plays, so give them credit. Defensively, you have to make a play when you have the chance to. All and all, like I said, everybody is excited about the offensive and I feel good about it - very good - about the spring game.

Green Team Head Coach Dan Roushar

Opening statement...
In my opinion, it looks like the quarterbacks played awfully well; you could really see their play-making ability on both sides. I thought that our kids played hard and this game is about making plays, and there were some kids making plays out there, so it was a lot of fun. Unfortunately we ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard.

On any concerns that he has with the lack of a running game today...
You are always concerned about things like that, but the thing is, you have your ones and your twos, and even your threes mixed in there so I'll have to look at the film to see where we are at. Obviously, you are always concerned when you don't run the ball as effectively as we want; it's something that we want to do and something that we have worked hard at this spring. I think as we head into the summer and into the fall, we will have to improve in that area.

On being a head coach in the spring game when you want to monitor the position you coach...
I think as you watch the flow of the game, because I work with the offensive line, when the White Team was out there, I definitely tried to watch what they were doing. You get into a few situations where you get a chance maybe to manage the clock from a head coaching position. I thought the guys did a great job of responding and continuing to fight and I am sure that that was a lot of fun to watch for everyone.

White Team Head Coach Ted Gill

Opening statement...
As head coach of the white team, I'm pretty excited about the win. I thought that our guys did a good job and I thought, as Dan (Roushar) said, our guys did a great job of playing on offense and on defense. In a game like this, a lot of times kids can compete in different ways, so it was good to have a game ending with an overtime so it gave our kids a chance to compete in a lot of different ways.

On his opinion of the play of each quarterback ...
When you get a quarterback that can scramble around and do a lot of different things, that puts a lot of pressure on us; it takes you out of your element a little bit. When you play on defense you need to be able to stay in your lanes and stay in your zones, and when you get a guy that can scramble around like that, it really does take you out of your element. So when you get a quarterback like that, it can really change the game.

On splitting his defense into two units...
It's good to have them split up like that because they can play a lot of different roles and see how guys can play differently against a lot of different things. We have a lot of guys that need to improve and we found a lot of guys here and there and I am excited about where we are at this point. We still need to improve in a lot of areas because we need to try and create depth. In all, I thought we had a decent spring, we have a lot of room for improvement, but I think we are on the right track.

On his team's ability to rush the passer during the spring...
When you get into the spring, you go against each other everyday and when you put them in that kind of situation you can see sparks out of guys as they work on the little things. We are going to continue to get better, but we have a whole lot of improvement to make. With the youth that we have around some of the older guys, it is going to make us a lot better team this year.

Sophomore Quarterback Keith Nichol

On how this spring game measured up to what he expected...
I think everyone pictures making plans in their head like I did today, but sometimes they don't exactly happed how you picture them. BJ Cunningham got me out on our sideline with that catch in the end zone. David Duran made some catches along with Brian Linthicum and Miles White, who I think all made me look better than I actually played. Our whole offensive line was pretty young, but they all step up and played as hard as they possibly could. It came down to the wire, and I think that is how Coach Dantonio wanted it because he kept saying he was going to push it into over time.

On his throw to Miles White...
He put his hand up, and I saw him beating the guy even though it was a close throw. I let him go get it because he is a fast guy with some good hands, so I let him go get it and make the play. He had made some player previously so I trusted him and he did it. That is something that happens when you are playing; it is not something you can predetermine.

On the quarterback situation...
This is something that is great for our football team. This is what has to happen in order to get to a Big Ten championship no doubt. Not only do you have to have a quarterback competition, but you have to have that type of competition at every level, and I think we have that with every position. This one is just highlighted because it is between quarterbacks, and sometimes quarterbacks get highlighted a little bit. I think our team is pushing each other, and Kurt (Cousins) has pushed me harder than I ever thought possible, and I hope I am doing the same for him.

Sophomore Quarterback Kirk Cousins

On running onto the field after the tying touchdown...
Yeah I am a very intense individual and that is just the intensity I was bringing to the game. It is just unfortunate that we did not come out with the win. It was great to see us make the extra point because I am the back up holder on that situation and I joke with the guys that that holding is not my main responsibility in the game so I don't take it as seriously as it should be taken sometimes. I was a little nervous going into the game about holding but it went out alright because Conroy kicked a bunch of great field goals.

On running over Greg Jones...
I can't say too much about that because I was wearing a red jersey, and guys say when they see the red jersey they tone it down. I can understand that because Greg is a 230 pound specimen of muscle and I am really not the kind of guy that can lower his shoulder and put him on his back. I think he might have toned it down, so we can't make too much out of that situation but it got the guys going and I got a little excited as well.

On how much fun he had today despite his team losing...
I had a lot fun today and the reason I came here was to compete and to excel. I prepared for this game by sitting down with the entire offense yesterday and we made a game plan by talking about what we thought would work. We went out during the week and even walked through some routes, so we really prepared for this game and it is a little frustrating we didn't come out with a win.

Junior tight end Charlie Gantt

On the overall team performance...
I thought both teams played really well and everybody came out to play. We were talking smack to each other all week about who was going to win. As a team, we all played well and it was one of the best spring games we've had in a while.

On his individual performance...
I thought I played pretty well. I thought all of the tight ends in our group played well and we all made catches.

On the team's quarterback situation...
Both of them are spectacular quarterbacks and we don't have a clue who it is going to be. They both made plays and played really well today. Both of them were really fluid and in the zone today. It's great having two great quarterbacks and it's going to be hard. The competition is really good.

Freshman wide receiver Myles White

On the team's quarterback situation...
They are both equally talented and they each have their strengths and weaknesses. They didn't make any decision easier today. I guess we'll have to wait until the fall.

On how Kirk Cousins and Keith Nichol compare...
Kirk knows the offense like it is the back of his hand. It's almost like he knows where the defense is about to be. Keith can just keep plays alive, like he did today. He can get out of the pocket and throw the deep ball like it's nothing. But they both make great plays. Keith does a little bit more with the deep ball, but Kirk makes great plays. They are almost like opposite kinds of players. If one steps forward in one practice, the other one does just as good in the next practice.

On his individual relationship with each quarterback...
I worked with Keith on the scout team when I red-shirted so we kind of have more of a connection. Kirk is right there, too, because I work with him all the time.

On the day's atmosphere...
It was fun. I liked the rain a little bit because it cooled everybody off. It was my first spring game and it was great. I hope every one is like this.

On his touchdown catch in the fourth quarter...
I guess Keith and I are on the same page. He threw it deep and I tried to go up and get it. It was a great throw because he put it right between both of the defenders. It was a great pass and I really have to give it all to Keith.

Junior linebacker Greg Jones

On his number of tackles in the spring game...
I was pretty pumped. I try to take advantage of every opportunity when I'm on the field. My name being called was just the d-line doing their job. I depend on them every play. I need those guys and the guys in the back end are doing their job too.

On his improvement through spring practice...
I think my instincts in the run game are better and I think I can better communicate with the defensive line and the DBs in the back end. I think that's where I wanted to improve and I really think I got that done this spring.

On being on the losing team...
Losing meant a lot, because I don't like to lose. I know a lot of people don't, but I really hate it. Like Coach (Gill) said, they put up a lot of points on both sides of the field, but it just hurts. It's something you have to live with, though.

On practicing against mobile quarterbacks...
Going against Keith (Nichol) is pretty hard sometimes, because any guy that's mobile like that can pose a lot of threats. He can throw it on the run very well too, so I think they pose a lot of threats for anybody.

Junior linebacker Eric Gordon

On practicing against mobile quarterbacks...
It helps you out so much come fall. Whoever we're going to have to play against, I'm sure we'll face a mobile quarterback at least once, it helps going against them all spring. You'll feel like you're going to get the sack and they'll just pop up in the pocket or back out. They can do so much. It makes you play honest football.

On playing against the spread offense...
Our offense doesn't spread out that much, but once they do go spread and Keith (Nichol) or (Kirk) Cousins rolls out, you have to watch them because they'll take it and they're not afraid to run or lower their shoulders.

On controlling the run...
Our offensive line has proven a lot, the running backs are up in the air as to who's going to be the guy. The defensive line, whoever was playing both on the green or white team, did a great job. I feel like our linebackers were flying around a lot too.

 

 

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