2012 Spring Game Quotes
 
 
 

 

 
 

April 28, 2012

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Head Coach Mark Dantonio

Opening statement
As always with spring games there is a mixture of good things going on, and some things you have to address. All in all, I thought our football team played hard. Very competitive out there, I thought our defense came to play. You saw some good things from Connor Cook, especially in the second half; I think he settled down a bit. He grew enormously I think in terms of playing in this type of environment, having to play every play also with the TV type situation, just the pressure of it all. I think he was very calm in the huddle and did some good things. I saw Dion Sims get involved. Obviously Nick Hill ran hard. We held out Le'Veon (Bell) after the first series and Larry Caper got dinged a little bit. We were down to a couple tailbacks. Jeremy Langford also played some tailback. I did think our defense played well and we rushed the passer very significantly.

On the special teams...
We went live on one kick, to each team. We said one time you were going to be able to call out when you wanted a live return. It's hard to assess the kicking game. I did think (Mike) Sadler punted the ball pretty well. It was a slight wind down there and I thought he punted well, putting it down inside the five (yard line). Then we missed two field goals. The one was a gimme and the other one was a long one. You'd like to see more success there obviously. But Dan Conroy has proved himself. I think we will have good players running down on special teams and protecting on special teams. We work extremely hard at it. That obviously always has been a big focus for us and it will continue to be.

On the defensive line...
I think we have four or five really good defensive ends. Shilique Calhoun was a factor today. Obviously William Gholston and Marcus Rush are very good. I thought Joel Heath did some good things as well. Interiorly we play a lot of guys but (James) Kittredge is playing, (Tyler) Hoover plays hard, and (Anthony) Rashad White (is playing). We have some guys in there, and Brandon Clemons is playing. It is a position again where you see 10 or 12 guys in there playing. Linebackers, I thought played really well. You thought the ball was going to breakout and then all of a sudden everything would close up quickly. They were running and hitting and the hitting was very good from where I was standing. Significant hitting, which is a positive. We can run, we can tackle, we can do the things on the defensive side of the ball that allows you to be successful. Johnny Adams has a big play in the game, running a streak. He has big play ability and is someone we can maybe flip around a little bit.

On Arthur Ray and his spring...
You've got to evaluate the film on it. He knows what to do. He is firm at the point of attack. But you've got to watch him and evaluate him and see if he is going to be in the top 10. He is a senior and we've got to be able to look at that situation carefully as we go into August and evaluate it. It is going to be a big evaluation this week. We will put all his film on tape and evaluate and see where he is at as a football player as he continues on. There is no question he wants to play and we want him to play. But we have to do what's best for this football program and for him as well. We have to assess the situation. But there is no question that he is 100 times further on than he was at this time last year.

On filling the leadership void...
Based on winter conditioning we work extremely hard. Based on what I know, because the seniors we have lost, that there is a void in leadership. It's not that we don't have good leaders, we have good leaders. Somebody has to take control of our football team. When Andrew (Maxwell) went out mid-spring, he is a guy that is a little bit older. He is a quarterback, a position of leadership. We really have good people and great chemistry on our football team. Somebody has to pull that leadership to them. I've seen glimpses of that from (Fou) Fonoti, I think he has strong leadership skills, he is an offensive lineman. Our quarterback, we are young and we are extremely young at wide receiver. We have some very good people but they don't step out and lead at certain positions because they are just humble people, they are good people. We all have to assume a position of leadership at some point you're thrust into it and you have to grab it and gravitate to it. That comes naturally. The leaders eventually take over.

White Team Head Coach Terrence Samuel

On the performance of the receivers...
I thought the receivers played very well today, although I'm not sure about how our technique was because it's hard to see from the sidelines. I thought they played hard and made some catches. We also dropped some things, but overall I'm impressed by the way our guys played today.

On Johnny Adams playing in the receiver position ...
Johnny (Adams) is one of our smarter players and one of our most athletic players. The spring game is just an opportunity to throw some wrinkles in to make the other team think.

On Keith Mumphery's catch...
I'm just happy Keith (Mumphery) played today. He probably could have played the entire game if we needed him to. He is a tough kid and he is still getting comfortable with his offense. You can tell from today that he is going to make plays for us next year.

On Bennie Fowler playing...
That kid wants to play. He tapped me on the shoulder and said he wanted to play. I thought it was okay to give him some reps because there is a lot of time for him to rest this summer. We pushed him a little bit and he did well.

On the performance of Connor Cook...
Our observation on the White team was that he was breathing heavy at the beginning of the game, but then he settled down and got into a nice groove. He threw some good balls, so we were really impressed.

Green Team Head Coach Brad Salem

On the performance of Nick Hill...
Nick (Hill) played very well today, which is disappointing because it was all for the White team. What's great about the spring game is that everyone else gets to see what we see every day at practice. Nick has always had a toughness about him and an edge in the way he runs. He the type of player that goes hard every day and it's great to see him get some opportunities today.

On how the offensive and defensive lines looked...
With this game you throw yourself out there as a team because you have to split everyone up. But I think it's good for you in the long run to have your number two guy play next to your number one guy. You allow your older guys to coach your younger guys, which brings them together. All spring we have felt that we have a lot of depth on both sides of the ball.

On the performance of Connor Cook...
What is great about the game is that it allowed someone like Connor (Cook) to see a lot of action. He was able to jump on both sides and each team had their tricks. The last week has been invaluable to him because he has been able to work on processing the offense. It has been really nice to see his decision making. He has great command of the huddle. I think our players realize that too and respect him for it. Today was also important for Connor to get a feel for a real game in Spartan Stadium.

On how younger players can build off the Spring Game for the next season...
Any time you compete on this stage and in a game-like environment it helps. Our hope is that guys experience success today so they can believe in themselves and they are ready for the first game against Boise State.

Linebacker Denicos Allen

On the performance of the defense...
I think we played pretty well as you can tell by the score. I think we are getting better and better. We are still developing into a really great defense, and I think we can be better than last year's unit. We have more experience this year but are still young and have to continue to develop.

On the defense controlling the game...
I feel that we controlled most of the game and answered the challenge our coaches gave us. We wanted it to be a no-scoring game, and we came close with giving up just two. I think we did well overall both on the Green side and White side.

On the development of the offense...
We all know how good the defense will be, but the offense is still putting things together, but we have a lot of potential on that side of the ball and I think they will be effective.

On this year's team being better than last year's...
We have a lot more experience on the defensive side of the ball and are pushing each other every day. We have leaders starting to step up. After losing players like Kirk Cousins from last year there are a lot of guys wanting to step up into that leadership role.

Quarterback Connor Cook

On easing into the game ...
You just have to approach it with an extreme amount of focus and that is what I do with every practice and every game. A couple of my throws were getting away from me and the same thing happened in the scrimmage. In the second scrimmage we had, I was sailing a lot of balls early and a lot of my throws were getting away from me, but as the scrimmage went on, I started to feel a little bit more comfortable and the same thing happened today. The first couple of throws got away from me, and later on down the stretch with the two-minute drive I had, that is where I got really comfortable and got in my grove.

On taking advantage of getting snaps ...
Stuff like this doesn't happen, with (Andrew) Maxwell being out, I have been taking a lot of reps, and in this spring game I took a lot of the reps, and you have to take full advantage.

On the help that Andrew Maxwell has given him ...
He has helped out a lot. In practices, scrimmages and today, he was basically another coach. He was giving signals, and when I would come off, he would help me out with my reads and my mistakes, and anything I didn't see on the field. He would tell me what he saw. He has been very helpful and real supportive.

On the defensive line ...
It was difficult because they were flying around and it's hard to throw the ball over Will (Gholston) because he is 6-7. The guys are so talented and they are only going to help make me better. You are not going to face a crew like this very often in a game; they are one of a kind.

On playing in a game atmosphere...
I was a little bit nervous. I had some pre-game jitters, but once the first few plays are done with the nerves are gone.

Running Back Nick Hill

On his playing time today...
It means a lot me. It means that I grew as a player today. I knew that I was eventually going to switch to the Green team, but I didn't know I was going to get that many carries and be in there every (offensive) series.

On what his performance showed the coaches...
Toughness, I think it showed a lot of toughness on my part. Taiwan (Jones) hit me on the sideline pretty good today, got everyone excited. There were a couple other hits that hurt pretty good, but no matter how hard I get hit, I'm going to keep getting back up.

On how he's improved in the offseason...
I think I improved a lot. Just based on my strength, I've gotten a lot stronger in my legs, as well as my upper body. My balance and my core have improved also, as I've gained a little bit of weight too. I think I've improved a lot. I need to sit down and look what I've done since the first day of practice, as well as the spring game, and evaluate myself that way.

Wide Receiver Keith Mumphery

On his overall assessment of the game...
I liked how everyone came together and played together as a team. Even though a lot of people were injured, people stepped up and did what they had to do.

On his progress since last spring...
I feel good, but I still have a long way to go. I have to work on my routes each and every day. I need to work on my techniques, getting out of breaks, along with my leadership and relaxing.

On where the team stands after the spring...
The chemistry of the team is a lot better; everybody is starting to follow each other. With the summer everyone will be ready for the season. I personally still have a long way to go.

On Johnny Adams playing receiver...
He's an athlete; he can do it all but we didn't really know he was going to do it. A cornerback is basically the same as a receiver, you're running everywhere the receiver goes. He's an athlete, he can play multiple positions on the field.

On the wideouts performance as a whole...
It was good, as a whole we still have a lot to work. The chemistry was there, were getting better each and every day. After the summer we'll be good.

On this team's leadership...
Everybody is doing well with being vocal leaders. Us receivers we all try to lead. I look at Andrew Maxwell, Will Gholston, Chris Norman; I could name a lot of players, we have great guys.

Defensive End Marcus Rush

On the changes this spring...
The younger guys are just picking up on the defense. I think we are playing together and we are starting to really come together as a defense.

On what the defense can take away from the spring game...
I think we can just go to the film and check out what we did wrong. And to make sure we watch film and fix the mistakes as we've been doing this entire spring. That's what we need to do.

On the field environment...
Just have fun, really. Go hard. Play hard and execute the plays. Just really have fun. It is a day to go out there and play football.

On the defense picking up where they left off...
We are playing really well as a team and as a defense we are coming together well. This spring has helped a lot and with the young guys, I think our defense will come out strong again.

On the defense's perspective on the spring game...
I was pumped about it. I think the guys played really well all around. That's what we wanted to do; what we wanted to get accomplished today. We wanted to make sure as the White to come out and execute.

On filling the leadership void...
There are leaders all around with the offense and defense and with the chemistry, everything is going to turn out fine.