MSU Spartans
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April 30, 2011

Recap |  Box Score

Head Coach Mark Dantonio

Opening Statement...
Interesting day today. I thought our guys came out, played hard. When you have a game like this, where everyone chooses teams, plays against each other and put together a full-game format, it gets a little bit more competitive. It's a little more entertaining, and I think it creates a little unity among the football team. We are fortunate to be able to do it. We might not always be able to, but thus far we have. I think it points to our functionality as a football team. You want to be functional regardless of what position you play. By functional, even if you are a third-team guy, you know what to do and can do it and succeed. A lot of our guys have that functionality right now, and that is the first test that you have to meet to be able to play. You have to have knowledge to play and then allow your personal abilities to take over from there. I thought we tackled well on the perimeter. I thought, just in looking at it, that (Kirk) Cousins was very sharp. A lot of the guys got involved in catching the ball, whether it was Keshawn (Martin), Bennie (Fowler), Chris D. Rucker or (Tony) Lippett on the long one. I saw everyone get involved. I think all three of our tight ends got involved, as well. From that standpoint, it was a good day. We had too many unforced penalties, but that is going to happen in a spring game, especially when you have a big crowd and you try to simulate a lot of things. All-in-all, I think that it was a great spring.

On Tony Lippett...
He got enough reps on defense - that is the point I want to make to everyone. We will make those decisions as a coaching staff. If we are going to play him a lot on offense at some point in time that means you are going to have to first of all line up correctly, and in order to line up correctly, you have to know what things are called and there is a whole terminology over there that you have to be able to do that. Defense is more about reaction, more about technique. There are fewer things to learn but you have to be able to do them with a higher - I don't want to say higher athletic ability because that's not necessarily true-but you can play corner a lot faster I think than you can play wide out. So we've always got to get the guy up and running on offense first. My goal is to put the best football team on this field. He's obviously a guy that can make plays, you saw him go deep and make a play for us. He has Keshawn Martin ability in terms of being able to make plays for us. We've got good skill but we need to use that good skill, like Keith Nichol he needs to be a guy who can play some as 3rd quarterback. He is a great wide receiver as you all probably saw that today, but he also has to take some reps at quarterback along the way so he can be a guy if we need a guy.

 

 

On basketball's Draymond Green playing a few snaps...
He came to me and wanted to play. I said "hey if you come to practice," he went through a whole practice - so he just didn't show up and get the pads on. He got fitted and we had to get him cleared. He came and went through the whole practice on Thursday. It was great to see him out there, and then we got him into a couple plays, he just asked to not be tackled.

I think it is indicative of the bond that all of our athletic teams have with each other, whether it's one of our guys shooting a foul shot or three pointer at Midnight Madness. It is a great feel for each other at Michigan State, and that's what this is all about.

On offensive balance...
I think you have to run the football. I don't think you can be a football team that's going to line up and throw the ball every time at least not for us here. You have to look at guys like Edwin Baker, Le'Veon Bell and Larry Caper. Those are guys that can make plays on the offensive side, we have to get those guys involved in space and allow them to go to work. It was a little bit of tough sledding out there today, but you saw some flashes.

On the defensive line...
I thought Jerel Worthy played very well, you couldn't help but notice 99, as well as 98 for the green team(Anthony Rashad White), those guys are outstanding football players. (Kevin) Pickelman did not play for us this spring because of a neck injury/shoulder injury so he'll be back this fall and probably could have played if push came to shove. We lost Antonio Jeremiah, so we'll see if he can get back. Micajah Reynolds he's a guy that is coming on, I think he is a great athlete and a big strong guy. He is a young player so I think good things are around the corner. We've got good young players coming so that will be exciting.

Green Team Head Coach Pat Narduzzi

Opening statement ...
Obviously the No. 1 thing is that we came out healthy. No major injuries; I think (Darqueze Dennard) may have gotten dinged up a bit, but I think the biggest thing is that we came out of that scrimmage healthy, and we did. We had some guys on offense make some great plays today, whether it was Dion Sims or Keith Nichol or Kirk Cousins - Cousins played a terrific game. On defense, we made the stops we need. That's the Green.

On freshman Tony Lippett's performance...
I'll have to really go back and look at the tape. Tony has not had a lot of time on defense, he's raw, you can see he's an exceptional athlete, and he'll be able to do whatever he wants to do when he puts his mind to it. It's Coach Dantonio's job to put him where he needs to be. If you give me Tony Lippett for three plays a week, we'll make the best of three plays. If he gives him to us for three games, that would be great. He's a great athlete. He can do a lot of different things. I'll have to go back and really watch the tape to really see how far he's come, to watch his fundamentals. It's going to come down to fundamentals. I think somebody ran by him one time. He gave up in Cover 3, a touchdown pass, which I don't know if it was a sack or not, and it's hard to tell after when you can't hit the quarterback. He gave up the play there, but he's a great athlete. He's big, he does a good job tackling, and that's a hard thing to do when you come from offense. So I'm happy with where Tony is.

On three players on defense that stood out to him during spring practice...
I really can't. There's been 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, to single out a few guys. You guys can single them out better than I could. But it takes 11. If we only have three guys, we stink. It takes 11. If you only have 10, you lose. I could just pull out the green roster or the white roster, there's a lot of great players out there. We just have to continue to push them all up. There's more than three, you can't just look at the tape and tell me which three you like the best, when there's a lot of good players out there. Sorry I'm not giving you an exact answer.

On Anthony Rashad White's performance...
Rashad's had a great spring for us. He played on the Green Team today, so he'll be eating steak, so I know he's happy about that afterwards. He's played well. He's played real well. I think you guys will be happy when you see it next fall, when him and (Jerel) Worthy and (Kevin) Pickelman are lined up next to each other at the same time. They're going to be three special guys.

On who he expects to fill in for All-American Greg Jones...
Max Bullough has done a tremendous job, so has TyQuan Hammock at the middle linebacker spot. That will be a battle going into fall camp. The nice thing is that there's two good guys there to compete for Greg Jones, who is a tremendous football player, and we'll see what those two guys do. But it will be nip and tuck as far as what they do, and we'll go into the summer knowing, `Hey, whose is it? Who's biting and scratching this summer?' to find out who will be the guy, who will be getting the reps, that kind of thing.

On the performances of defensive ends William Gholston and Tyler Hoover...
Those are two big dudes out there, first thing. I love that they come off the bus first, because they are great looking guys. They played well today, I think. William had a, I don't know if he hit the quarterback too hard on that play, he probably shouldn't have touched him, but there were some other things that shouldn't have happened out there either. He's played well, Hoover's played well, they've still got a long way to go, and we've still got a long way to go defensively, that's for sure.

On the competition for the open linebacker positions for next fall...
You know what, there's a bunch of guys, I don't know if we're real close. You've got Chris Norman, who didn't play at all this spring, and boy, he looks big, you should see how Coach Mannie has sculpted him in the weight room well. He's had a chance to really get cut up. You're going to have about six or seven guys, and I just talked to four of the puppies coming in from this next class, and I've said two of them have got to play. I don't know what two of them it's going to be, but I've told all four of them together about that. There's going to be some competition, and those young guys are going to come in. You look at the outside linebacker spot, you've got Denicos (Allen), you've got Chris Norman, you've got Steve Gardiner, and all those freshmen coming in. I'm probably missing someone and I'll feel bad afterwards, but there's some guys who can make plays out there. Jeremy Gainer has had a great spring. There's going to be a lot of competition, and we'll find out in the opener in September.

On what the Jairus Jones injury means for Mylan Hicks...
That just makes everybody else have to step up. We're not counting (Jarius Jones) out, you feel bad for anybody who that happens to, in shorts in practice, just twists the wrong way and goes down. But he's a great kid, my heart feels for him right now, and his family, but he'll come back, and he'll come back strong. He's a tough kid, but Mylan Hicks, Kurtis Drummond, and all those freshmen coming in, they've got to strap it up and be ready to roll.

White Team Head Coach Mark Staten

Opening Statement...
We just didn't convert on the third down. We had a lot of third down occasions that just didn't go our way. Generally, we ran the ball decently for a spring game. A lot of you guys have been around for most of our spring games, you don't see a lot of rushing yards. So that was a good thing. We had a couple tricks up our sleeves, things we had not done, trying to keep (Green Team head coach Pat) Narduzzi in check, and it worked a little bit and it didn't work a little bit. So he just threw more and more guys at us. Defensively, Darqueze (Dennard) went down for a little bit, then was able to come back so that was good to see. (Mike) Tressel had them wired up and fired up and a couple break downs here and there allowed them to get some yards in the air.

On the offensive line play...
I'm proud of the way the offensive line as a whole played today because when you have a spring game, you only had 10 left at the end of spring so you're talking about 10 including walk ons and they played hard and they fought hard. It was good to see that and I'm proud of those guys up front. I thought the tight ends played exceptionally well. You saw all of them make some nice catches today and we will continue to go forward.

On Dion Sims...
Dion is an exceptional athlete. It's nice to have him back out there. When you're running down there at 270- 275, moving like he moves, it's a nice thing, then running through tackles. The one guy, I don't know if he was a linebacker but the one guy bounced off of him and he kept running and made some moves with his legs and that's something we've known Dion has been able to do. Dion is a tremendous young man and he's back out there for us now and he's been working and playing hard and it's nice to have him back out there. He's a tremendous man.

On using the wildcat formation...
That was put in there Thursday. I told (Green Team head coach Pat) Narduzzi don't get mad at me, coach told me I could do this stuff. I said so were going to do some things and have some fun with Keshawn (Martin). You get the ball in Keshawn's hands good things happen. That throw to (Andrew) Maxwell, we actually put that in a minute before we went out there for that exact play. That wasn't something we had been majoring in and I saw (Trenton) Robinson make a heck of a play, jump up and knock that thing away. It hasn't been a big thing in our offense since we've been here, but it has been a nice mix up, match up thing.

On Andrew Maxwell...
His spring has been tremendous. I just looked at the stats and they're a little bit shocking. He's had a great spring for us. He's a guy you can trust that you know will get in there and do the right things, make the right reads, throw the ball where it needs to go and we just have to give him time. He's had a tremendous spring and we feel really good about where the quarterback position is in our offense with Kirk (Cousins) and Andrew. We've got a good one coming up in this next class as well. We think Connor (Cook) is going to be excellent for us. We're in good hands there. Coach Warner does an excellent job with those guys.

On Arthur Ray Jr. ...
He's a tremendous young man. We didn't want to put too much on him out there. We didn't want to get him mixed up in the middle and he's had a couple lives snaps in the spring thus far controlled for the most part. It was good to just get him out there. He's an inspiration to anyone that walks, that breathes, that talks, because of what he's come back from and the way he's stayed positive. He said to the offensive line on the first day he was cleared by the NCAA, he said `hey I don't even want to talk to the media right now, this isn't about the media, this about me getting out there and being the offensive lineman that I've come here to become.' So that was kind of neat by him and that's the way he's always been and he's a likeable guy. He's an outstanding human being. It's just the human spirit, it's what we can accomplish if we don't take no for an answer.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins

On Dion Sims...
It means a lot. He was a big pick-up in recruiting, played right away as a true freshman. He's 280 pounds and has the softest hands in the game - just a rare combination of size and athleticism. I know our coaches have often times thought about playing him at left tackle, and if he's willing to do it, because he's just so smooth and so athletic and so big, but he wants to be a tight end and he absolutely has the hands and the mobility to do that as well.

On his senior year...
Well I didn't have great scrimmages this spring. I've never played well in spring scrimmages period for whatever reason, so it's good to get out here in a game-type setting and play well. I have to credit our teammates, our play call makers, a whole lot of factors that go into having a good day. There's a whole lot of factors that go into having a bad day, but it was a lot of fun and that's really the most important thing - to go out there and to enjoy it and have fun playing the game of football. That's what you want to accomplish in the spring game and I think we did that today.

On Chris D. Rucker...
I think it's a confidence thing. Chris was a 100-meter champ in high school, and he's got as much speed as anyone on this football team. His hands, at times, have been suspect; I know you've seen that four years ago at Wisconsin. That's really a concentration thing, because Chris has the hands, he can make the catches, it's just the concentration thing, and if we can get him with confidence going out there and playing confidently, which he did today, the hands won't be an issue and he'll be just as good as anyone you put out there. It was great to see him have a great day. It wasn't a fluke by any means, while he has played well in the spring, and you haven't seen him much in the fall, I don't think that says anything about him. He's worked his tail off now for five years and I expect him to be a contributor this fall.

On Andrew Maxwell...
Well Maxwell's been a guy who I thought mentally was ahead of the curve coming out of high school. In our offense, it's more of a mental than physical thing. You have to really know what you're doing and get us in the right play, make the right reads, and constantly be very sharp mentally. And that's Andrew's strength. He was far ahead of where I was as a freshman and he's just continued that development and going into his redshirt sophomore season, he's ready to go and he's ready to play. He did a good job of leading his team today and I expect great things from him going into the future.

On the team's chemistry...
I think we're at a good point. I think we're at a good place. We have a tremendous amount of depth. We have guys who can play from ones to twos to threes. I think it shows in the spring game like this, where everyone's playing. I'm excited about the guys we got. We have great people, and I think that goes back to Coach Dantonio and our coaching staff recruiting good people. A lot of the time you get the choice between a kid who's a tremendous athlete, but you have questions about who he is as a person, or maybe you have a guy who as a person is a guy you want to have around, whereas athletically he's the same as the other guy. Our coaches, I know for a fact have taken the guy who's the right person for this program, and it's starting to show in the way we're operating in the locker room, in the classroom and on the field.

On the offensive line...
When you go two ways and you have a lot of injuries, like Joel Foreman and Nate Klatt, you're pretty thin, and you're going down to the last guys in the offense and they did a tremendous job. We had first-year freshman, non-scholarship guys who were playing in the entire game today, and they did a tremendous job. It was fun to get them out there, and when they play like that, I think it gives them confidence going forward, and that's great for them and for our team.

On Tony Lippett...
Great question, I think the best person to answer that is Coach Dantonio because he can assess both sides of the ball better than me. We have so many receivers, and I think there's a high value for a guy who's a shutdown corner, so if he can be that for us I think he's more valuable as a cornerback, but that doesn't mean he's not as good as a receiver. So, it may come down more to value than maybe where he is best at. He showed it today, he's got great hands, he's smooth, deceptively fast for his size, and another guy who's a tremendous person, a tremendous competitor, and they've got a great job recruiting a guy like Tony Lippett.

On the 2010 season...
After watching the first round of the draft, you can see how good Alabama is. I think they had four guys go in the first round, and probably could have had a couple more if guys left early, so we definitely played a good football team that day. It was a tough loss, but it did help us, made us that much more hungry going for it in the offseason. It's tough when you have success, you start to rest on your success, it's human nature to do that. I think a game like Alabama really caused us to realize we're not among the nation's elite yet, and we have a lot of work to do that. At the same time, the success we had prior to the bowl game - winning 11 games and having an 11-1 season record. What that did was give us a sense of excitement and a great feeling of going forward and making us motivated to keep working because of the good things that can come.

On working on the center exchange...
Well we were rotating by quarter on the Green Team, with Blake Treadwell and Ethan Ruhland, and both of them did a phenomenal job. They rotated as right guard and center as quarters, but we had to keep getting snaps on the sideline to make sure as we switched, that was being clean. I know Travis Jackson is doing a great job as well, for a freshman, he's playing at a very, very high level. Blake Treadwell has only played 15 practices at center here at Michigan State, and for 15 practices he's doing a very good job.

Quarterback Andrew Maxwell

On the atmosphere of the spring game...
The spring game is always a great opportunity for everybody to come out and see what we have been up to throughout the winter and the spring, and the work we have put in since the last time our fans saw us. It's a great opportunity for everybody to get back out and get into the swing of things. I think we had a great game today. There was a lot of competition and that's what we like to see. We didn't want to come out and have no excitement and be flat. I think we did a good job of providing some good energy and enthusiasm and gave the fans a nice show.

On how the team did overall today...
We have come a really long way since practice one and now. The improvements we have made are huge and if we can keep that up through the summer and through training camp in the fall and then going into the season, we will be really solid. I am really excited about the potential that we have and we just need to keep improving like we did in the spring.

On how he performed individually today...
Today, I was a little disappointed in the way that I executed and led the offense. I don't think I did a very good job of moving the ball and putting our team in good positions. I think our offense this spring did so much better in the 14 practices leading up to it, than we did today. So maybe what we put out on the field today wasn't the best display of all the hard work we put in. That just shows that we have more work to do and we will always have more work to do. So that's just motivation going into the summer to get better.

On what he is looking forward to most about the upcoming fall season...
Just seeing how guys grow and embrace their roles. Our team is still young. We have a lot of new guys that are going to be playing for the first time. I am excited to see how they embrace the opportunity and embrace the challenge and to see how they step up.

Running Back Le'Veon Bell

On how it felt to get back out on the field in Spartan Stadium today...
It felt good. It was a giant rush the first time you run out there. It's exciting just to get back out there and play in front of the crowd. They haven't really seen us play in four or five months. It was a good feeling.

On seeing some of his teammates that don't get a chance to play make plays...
It was definitely great because there is just so much competition out there at every position. Coach Dantonio and the coaching staff are going to try and get the best players out there so it was a great opportunity for the younger players, or players that are trying new positions, to be out on the field.

On his personal performance...
I feel like I had a pretty good game with the opportunities I was given. I did great at pass protection. When I was running the ball it felt comfortable and I was able to do well. I am definitely looking to get better and looking forward to the fall.

On what he is looking forward to the most about the fall...
I can't wait to keep learning, helping my peers and my position players and to just keep getting better.

Safety Trenton Robinson

On how he felt to get back out on the field in front of a crowd today...
It felt good that all of our fans came out and supported us, but there is nothing like the feeling of getting to line up against another person, somebody that you don't see all the time. Those are my teammates and I worry about their health and everything like that. We still go hard but it's just not the same of going against those people that are trying to take something from you.

On how he has grown over this spring...
I have gotten a lot better as an individual. I just needed to really work on my tackling in the off season and just getting those bigger hits. That's still coming along so it's something I will still be working on in the fall. There still is a lot of things that I need to work on in the fall and accomplish the goals that I have set for myself.

On seeing his teammates have successful plays in the spring game...
It is awesome because you know we get out there and we go hard. We have been coached up to play and it's just like you are out here and here is a great opportunity. We all made the best of it.

Linebacker TyQuan Hammock

On how he felt the spring game went today...
Going into it we knew that it was going to be a defensive game, but we wanted both sides to play hard and make plays. Overall I think it went pretty well. A lot of guys made plays, a lot of guys were able to get in and were able to play. Everything went well.

On his play today...
Being a MIKE linebacker it's not about me. It's a team game. Being a MIKE linebacker you have to compose yourself and come into the game. Coming into the spring actually, I knew that we were losing two great starters that we had with Eric (Gordon) and Greg (Jones), and that someone had to step up and take control of the defense, make calls and just direct. So I thought I was out there directing and I made plays when I could.

On how the spring game prepares for the fall season...
The spring is always a good jump for the fall, the fall camps and the season. You get to showcase what you have as far as depth, and as far as people being able to make plays. Going into the fall we have a lot of things to work on first and foremost. With that being said, we have a lot of young guys that are going to come in and make plays and help the team out.

On his mindset going into next season...
Just be prepared. Speaking for the linebackers, we are young, but we are all willing to play. We are all willing to get out there in front of 75,000 and make the plays. We are building a dynasty here now. As the linebackers we are trying to control the defense. So just be prepared and look for good things from the linebackers this year.

Safety Isaiah Lewis

On the team's play today...
From the defensive side, I think we started off good. I liked how we were playing, we were flying around the ball making plays. I feel like the offensive side started off a little slow. It was just a timing thing, they just have to get their stuff down. Defensive side, we have a few things to work on too. I think we will be good come fall.

On how he played personally...
I was excited. I made a couple of plays. I did some good things and some bad things. Obviously stuff that we have to work on. I am not satisfied with just this. I always want to do better and I know I will.

On how today contributes to the attitude and excitement for the fall...
We have had a good attitude about the season coming around since winter conditioning. We all are ready to go out and play. We are thirsty to go out there again and win another Big Ten Championship. We want to go to the Rose Bowl too. That could also lead us to a National Championship, that's our goal and what we are trying to do.

On what you are looking forward to in the fall...
I am looking forward to the season starting and that first non-conference game. Another thing I am looking forward to is that first conference game. I am ready to go out there and play. Like I said before, I want to go out there and win another Big Ten Championship.

Wide Receiver Keshawn Martin

On how he thought everybody looked in the spring game today...
I feel like everybody played well. Our defense, Trenton (Robinson) and Johnny (Adams) on the green team, did pretty good out there, I think our receivers had a great day, I don't think I really saw any drops out there. Our defense I think is going to look real good this year.

On his pass attempt to Andrew Maxwell and using the wildcat offense...
Coach Staton just made that play up right there. I looked like it was going to work for a minute but Trenton (Robinson) came in and recovered. I always like to take advantage of my opportunities when I get to line up at quarterback. Hopefully you got to look forward to that in the season.

On his role entering the 2011 season...
I want to be considered one of the best receivers in the Big Ten. That's my goal and I feel that's B.J (Cunningham's) goal and also Keith (Nichol's) goal .We take that upon ourselves to make each other better and go out there and work hard.

On what we need to work on after today's game...
We have some things to work on, but overall I feel like everybody had a good day. We had no turnovers; I didn't see that many mistakes out there. I look forward to the fall.

On Andrew Maxwell...
He was great. I mean except for a couple passes, they were right on the money. He's going to be a great quarterback.

On what similarities he sees between Kirk Cousins and Andrew Maxwell...
I feel like they both can read the defense well. They're both smart. They have a legit eye for the game. They can make the deep throws that you need. Kirk has a little more experience, but I think they're both great.

On the offense getting the ball in his hands...
I got a good feel for that today- just lining up in the wildcat, catching the ball. I feel like I want the ball, give me the ball, I want the play. I feel like that's how everybody feels out there from the running backs to the wideouts. Everybody wants the ball in their hands .Everybody knows B.J. (Cunningham) can make that big catch if we have five seconds. I feel like everybody feels that way and we're going to have a good year because of that.

On Dion Sims...
Dion, he's just like a freak of nature. He's 280, 6-4. He can move and run, and everybody saw him score that one touchdown. I wonder how he got up like that. That's an NFL prospect right there. It wasn't a shock to me, everybody knows he can make those plays.

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