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Spring Football Update: Dantonio Quotes
Coach Dantonio and the Spartans are beginning their third week of spring practice.
Coach Dantonio and the Spartans are beginning their third week of spring practice.

April 2, 2013

Practice Update

EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State football team entered its third week of spring ball on Tuesday as the Spartans conducted their sixth practice inside the Duffy Daugherty Building.

Prior to the workout, MSU head coach Mark Dantonio met with reporters and talked about the development of the quarterbacks this spring, what he's observed from the new assistant coaches, and what improvements he would like to see during Friday's scrimmage.

The Spartans will hold their seventh spring practice on Thursday before their first scrimmage on Friday.

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio:

On the quarterback-center exchanges this spring...
As always, I think early in the spring, you're going to have problems with the quarterback and center exchange, especially when you're breaking in a new center a little bit. Fou (Fonoti) is playing a little bit at center, we've had some issues with that. Kodi Kieler is playing center, he's doing a great job as well, he's never played center before, but he's having a great spring thus far. But you have to eliminate those things because it's always going to start with that. Obviously we don't have those problems when it's shotgun snaps, but we have to get up underneath there, especially Tyler O'Connor, being a freshman. Most of his snaps in high school were from the gun, so it's a little bit different sometimes.

On the quarterbacks...
Our quarterbacks need to continue to make plays. I think they have to create. We keep putting them in situations where they've got to take a bad play and make it a good one. We're trying to orchestrate those type of situations, then also timing and things of that nature. The quarterbacks are doing fine, it's just playing against a good defense, you have to make plays. Explosive plays are a little bit on everybody. We have to find a way to make those on a consistent basis.

Our plan is to try and make sure that they're all exposed to have an opportunity to play some with the 1's and 2's. (Andrew) Maxwell takes a majority, then Connor (Cook) and Tyler (O'Connor), but they get more reps than a normal 2 or a 3 would get with the 1's.

I think right now it's status quo going into practice No. 6. A lot of that is based on little things sometimes, whether it's knowledge of what we're doing or things of that nature. We'll know more after the scrimmage on Friday.

On new defensive line coach Coach Burton...
He brings a lot of energy to the defensive line. Just working the techniques and things of that nature. We're trying to do a lot of up-tempo drills.

On the relationship between co-offensive coordinators Jim Bollman and Dave Warner...
Very good, no problems. Coach Bollman is great - no ego there. Coach Warner has done a great job as well. As always, all of our coordinators I think have done a good job taking input from everybody.

On Tyler Hoover...
Tyler has to remain healthy, but from a consistency basis, maybe he was our most consistent defensive lineman of the year last year when you go back and look at the film and the cut-ups. Tyler's going into his sixth year and he knows what to do, he plays with a high motor, and he's continuing to push forward.

On how the freshman tight ends are looking...
Well, like freshman tight ends. They make some mistakes, and they're playing against some good players. We have to be able to run the ball in the C area, so that means that the tight ends have to get their jobs done. I think Josiah Price has done some nice things. Evan (Jones) needs to block a little bit more, maybe with his hands at times. We've moved (Juwan) Caesar in there a little bit, so he's a big body, athletic guy that can be a mismatch-type guy. And (Andrew) Gleichert is solid.

On the quarterbacks going live...
They're doing a good job. They've gotten tackled, so they have to get the ball out and create. I know that's a little bit of a risk issue, but we try and stay healthy and don't take any cheap shots on them. But when the pocket collapses around them, and it's going to, they've got to make something happen.

On Coach Warner calling plays live during practice, not from a script...
Yes, we're doing that, where you're just calling it off the cuff and it's not scripted, he's (Warner) got to make the call. It's a 40-second clock, or a 25-second clock, and we're trying to make it as realistic as we can. We chop on the edge with our tailbacks, we'll cut downfield some; there's risk involved in doing these things, but that's how you have to play the game.

On the offensive line and if any of the younger players are standing out...
Jack Conklin is going to be a good football player; he's a red-shirt freshman. He's showed us exactly what he showed in the fall. I think we have numbers on the offensive line, which is important when you do all of the different things you do during the season. We have 16 or 17 offensive linemen out here, so that's a positive for us.

On what improvement he wants to see out of the offense during Friday's scrimmage...
I think you have to see more explosive plays down the field, because I think when you look back and say why does a team score a touchdown, it always hinges on somewhere, someplace on that drive there was an explosive play. We're constantly looking for who can make those, whether it's a quarterback creating it, or the tailback, wideout or tight end.

On the running backs...
Nick Hill, (Jeremy) Langford and (Nick) Tompkins have all had moments. Consistency - we need to find consistency. If there's one place that freshmen have played consistently since we've been here, it's been at the tailback they're going to get competition, there's no question about that. I'm not going to sit here and say that they're not. So they need to be more consistent, create big plays, and run behind their pads.

On if the team's progress is where he wants it right now...
We keep pushing. I don't think we're ever where we really want to be, because there's always something where you look at the practice field and say, `hey, we have to do better, we have to change this drill, we have to do this better.' So all those things are things that we're just trying to get better at. It's a catch-22 - you want your defense to play very well, and you want your offense to play very well. Somebody loses usually when you go against each other. But I love our chemistry, I love our activity, our want-to, our aggressiveness when we go after things, and our work ethic. I think that's where it starts.




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