Valero Alamo Bowl Practice Update: Day 6
Jan. 1, 2010
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS - Third-year Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio sent his team through an hour walk-through in shorts and T-shirts on Friday, Jan. 1 at the Alamodome, as the Spartans (6-6) completed preparation for Saturday's Valero Alamo Bowl game against Texas Tech (8-4). The 2010 Valero Alamo Bowl will be televised nationally by ESPN, with kickoff set for 9 p.m. EST.
Following the team's final workout of the season, fifth-year senior safety Danny Fortener echoed Coach Dantonio's previous comments that tackling in space will be an important key for the Spartan defense.
"Tackling in the open field is going to be a huge key for us," Fortener said. "Texas Tech's receivers get a lot of yards after the catch, so that's why we spent so much time practicing tackling this week. We can't allow them to get the extra yards after the catch.
"We've also spent a lot of time practicing third-down situations. We have to be aware of the down and distance at all times. We know what routes Texas Tech likes to run in those down and distances, so we have to get the receivers on the ground or knock them out of bounds."
Fortener is one of 19 seniors who will make their final appearance in a Spartan uniform Saturday against Texas Tech.
"It's my last game, so that's all I've been thinking about this week," Fortener said. "Today was our final walk-through of the season, so I only get to put the Spartan helmet on one more time. Saturday night is going to be kind of bittersweet. It's definitely going to be exciting to play with my teammates one more time, and I know that we're all going to play our hearts out.
"Playing for Michigan State has meant everything for me. It's difficult to put into words what it felt like playing in Spartan Stadium; I always felt so comfortable playing at home. I've had so much fun over the last five years. I've enjoyed everything about my experiences as a student-athlete in East Lansing. Beating Michigan in back-to-back seasons certainly has to be the highlight, but it would be awesome to close out my playing career with a bowl win over Texas Tech."
Fifth-year senior defensive end Trevor Anderson started for two years at Cincinnati before transferring to Michigan State following the 2007 season. Like Fortener, Anderson too has had to reflect on his playing career.
"It finally started to hit me as more and more media people asked me about playing in my last college game," Anderson said. "It's been fun. Despite the ups and downs, I've enjoyed my time at Michigan State. I wish we were playing in the National Championship Game, but we're here in San Antonio and I'm enjoying my time with my teammates. I've been with this coaching staff for five years, so I'm ready to get out of here and work with some other coaches -- hopefully at the next level. I really have enjoyed my time here, and I have no regrets whatsoever. If I could turn back the hands of time, I would still transfer from Cincinnati and come here to Michigan State."
Anderson said the Spartans have plenty to play for in the Valero Alamo Bowl.
"There's a big difference between finishing the season 7-6 versus 6-7," he said. "We have an opportunity to help this program take another step forward.
"The media created some lofty goals by picking us to finish third in the conference, but the 1-3 start didn't break our spirit. We made strides all year long and beat Michigan in back-to-back seasons for the first time since the mid-1960s. We took another step forward for the program by making it to our third-straight bowl game for the first time since 1995-97. That's a testament to the type of coaching staff and players that we have in this program. There are a lot of young, talented players on the roster, so the future is real bright here. Hopefully, I can get a sideline pass when I come back for games."
Following dinner Friday, the team attended "Sherlock Holmes" in the Rivercenter Mall.
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