Spartans Return to Practice Field as Spring Game Nears
EAST LANSING, Mich. – After a five-day break, the Michigan State football team returned to the practice field on Tuesday afternoon inside the Duffy Daugherty Building as the Spartans continued preparations for the annual Green-White spring game, presented by McLaren Health Plan, on Saturday, April 7.
Prior to the team’s 12th spring practice, MSU head coach Mark Dantonio addressed the media to give an update on the Spartans.
“We’re just going through the process,” said Dantonio. “Good spring practice so far, so looking forward to progress again this week.”
Dantonio announced that the format for the spring game will be the same as last year, pitting the offense against the defense.
“I think we get more out of it from a team standpoint when we look at film and we can build on the things there,” the 12th-year Spartan head coach remarked. “So we’ll play it in that confined type way we did last year, but I think it will be competitive and I think last year went down to a kick maybe, so makes it exciting for everybody.”
More than 150 Michigan State students stopped by to watch the end of practice and stayed afterward to interact with Dantonio, the coaching staff and the team. Dantonio and the Spartans led the students through the team’s pregame rituals, then posed for pictures.
— Spartan Football (@MSU_Football) April 4, 2018
Michigan State will hold its 13th spring practice on Thursday.
Below are additional quotes from MSU head coach Mark Dantonio
Going into practice 12, so excited about this week. Spring game coming up this Saturday, it’s a 5 o’clock start time. Big youth clinic and everything of that nature as we’ve always had. We’re just going through the process. Good spring practice so far, so looking forward to progress again this week.
On some of the standouts from spring practice so far…
You know, Byron Bullough really has had a great spring practice thus far. Justice Alexander is making progress, great progress. You know, he’s a guy that… He’s 6’5”, 260-265, long jumps 10-2, verticals 34-35, so I mean he’s finally starting to play fast and you see some good things from him. There’s a bunch of guys making moves.
On comparing Alexander to a guy like Joel Heath…
Very, very similar to Joel in a lot of respects. You know, Joel’s now playing with the Texans. Very similar. And again Joel played defensive end for us for quite some time before he transitioned to defensive tackle, so he was getting bigger and stronger, those types of things. But got a lot of guys playing well out there. Other guys got to continue to take steps but that’s spring practice.
On if there’s going to be a draft for the spring game…
No, we’re going to play like we did last year. I think we get more out of it from a team standpoint when we look at film and we can build on the things there. So we’ll play it in that confined type way we did last year, but I think it will be competitive and I think last year went down to a kick maybe, so makes it exciting for everybody.
On the format of the spring game last year…
Yeah, it was offense versus defense and then we had points put in there for different things and the offense scores as it does.
On what Spartan Nation should be expecting from the spring game…
First of all, it’s just a great opportunity to come out, it’ll be an afternoon game - there’s a baseball game on as well, got the youth clinic. You know, you get a chance to watch the 2018 Spartans which you got to make up your own assessment. There’s going to be some good, some bad, there always is, but what I look for is guys playing hard, playing with a lot of excitement and I think we’ll do that.
On the biggest improvement he’s seen so far…
Tough to say, we’re not playing against anybody, so that’s tough to say. I do think we have the right kind of mindset; I don’t think we’re settling. You know, we’ve come out and worked every day.
On what it is about the youth clinic that’s special for the players…
Well, you know, there’s about 1,800 kids that come to this – or 1,500, the last couple years. It’s just an opportunity to touch young people, I think as much as anything, and to see that excitement that they bring to our football team. It’s always been a great event for families and for our players and its sort of a community event. It’s just been a good thing. I always ask our players to try and be a light to some degree as best they can and they’ve tended to do that, especially on that day.
On the outlook about the return teams this spring…
Well, we used three guys last year, actually four last year. Three of them true freshmen, which is very difficult to go back there, but I thought those guys did a nice job. Cody White did a nice job fielding the football. We need to get more out of it after the catch and we’re working hard to do that.
On if he expects Cole Hahn to compete for the kicker position…
Yeah, he’s got to compete for it. Tyler Hunt as well, who walked on. And then Matt Coghlin’s been doing it some as well. We need a guy to take over that position.
On the biggest takeaway from the second scrimmage last week…
Just playing hard; guys playing hard. We’re not going into it too much but guys playing hard and very active – it’s always competitive and I think that’s as good as anything.
On the addition of Chuck Bullough…
All of our new coaches have done a great job. Chuck’s been a great addition. I think all the ball destruction that he brings to the table is cutting-edge, you know, when you watch it and you see it, those types of things. He’s a former Spartan, he’s been in this uniform so I think he brings a lot of credibility.
On the new coaches bringing a fresh take to the team…
Well, you know, I think any coach you bring in is different a little bit – different ideas and brings something new to the table and I think it keeps us fresh. We’re always trying to look for new ideas, things to implement and we’ve always done that and we’ll continue to do that. But they’ve brought a different perspective, just like everybody. We miss the guys who were here before but at the same time, there’s always an opportunity to get better.
On what it’s like having Don Treadwell back with the program…
I was taking a walk with Tread the other day, a little exercise, a little bit of a run, but just good. There’s so many things that we have in common, that we can talk about in the same terminologies, same different languages. He’s been here in such a vital role for seven years with me and as the offensive coordinator at Cincinnati.
SPRING GAME INFORMATION (PRESENTED BY McLAREN HEALTH PLAN):
Michigan State's Green-White spring game, presented by McLaren Health Plan, is scheduled for 5 p.m. in Spartan Stadium on Saturday, April 7. Admission is free and the stadium gates (Gates B, C, J, K) will open at 3:30 p.m.
Parking is free (Lots 79, 56, 39/40, 41; Ramps 5 and 7; Lot 62W has been reserved for disabled parking).
Please be advised that there are multiple athletic events taking place on campus, in addition to the youth clinic, throughout the day:
• Auto Owners Insurance Spartan Track and Field Invitational, 9:40 a.m., Ralph Young Field
• Women’s tennis vs. Northwestern, 12 p.m., MSU Outdoor Tennis Courts (Free)
• Softball vs. Minnesota, 1 p.m., Secchia Stadium (Free)
• Baseball vs. Nebraska, 1:05 p.m., McLane Baseball Stadium (Free)
YOUTH CLINIC INFORMATION (SPONSORED BY SPARROW HEALTH SYSTEM):
Prior to the spring game, MSU's coaching staff and players will conduct a free youth football clinic, sponsored by Sparrow Health System. Children, ages 8-12, are invited to attend the youth clinic (no registration required) from 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m. Gates to the John and Becky Duffey Practice Fields, located off of Shaw Lane, will open at 12 p.m.
Parking lots (79, 56, 39/40, 41; Ramps 5 and 7) will open at 11 a.m. for clinic participants (please note: there is an intercollegiate track meet scheduled for Saturday at Ralph Young Field; parking will be limited in lot 79).
Clinic participants will be assigned by age to a practice field to rotate through all drills (Duffy Daugherty Football Building indoor facility and John and Becky Duffey Football Practice Fields). After completion of all drills, MSU head coach Mark Dantonio will address all youth clinic participants on the John and Becky Duffey Football Practice Fields. The children will be dismissed from that location following Dantonio's comments at approximately 2 p.m.
The purpose of the clinic is to introduce youngsters to the game by stressing fundamentals. No football gear is required. In addition, clinic participants will receive a free Spartan football poster and a Country Fresh ice cream, as well as a coupon for a complimentary hot dog and soft drink to be redeemed at a concession stand in Spartan Stadium during the spring game.
SPRING GAME MEDIA/BROADCAST INFORMATION:
The spring game will be broadcast live on BTN and BTN2Go, with Lisa Byington (play-by-play), Darien Harris (analyst) and Michelle McMahon (sidelines) calling the game. In addition, Spartan Sports Network will broadcast the spring game, with George Blaha (play-by-play), Jason Strayhorn (analyst) and Will Tieman (sidelines) on the call, beginning at 4:30 p.m. to several radio affiliates around the state as well as online at SpartanSportsNetwork.com.
The official website of Michigan State Athletics, msuspartans.com, will provide gameday audio (via spartansportsnetwork.com), highlights and post-game quotes. For live in-game updates, fans also can follow @MSU_Football on Twitter.
ADDITIONAL SPRING GAME NOTES:
• The Spartan Bookstore will be on the east and west concourse of Spartan Stadium selling Spartan merchandise, including clearance items marked down as much as 50 percent off the normal retail price.
• Fans are reminded no bags or purses are allowed inside Spartan Stadium. This includes but is not limited to: backpacks, purses of any size, camera cases, binocular cases, wallets not stored in pockets, bags, diaper bags, seat cushions with pockets that are used for storage. If any of these bags are attached to a person's waist or wrist, they still are not allowed in the stadium.
• Those individuals with true medical needs will be directed to Gate K. Individuals entering that gate may bring the medical items in any bag. Those bags will be searched and tagged by an MSU Police Officer. The officer working that gate has the final determination if that item is a true medical need.
• Fans are reminded that the "open container" ordinance will be enforced on campus and in parking lots for the spring football game.
GEORGE WEBSTER SCHOLARSHIP FUND - PRESS BOX SEATS:
A limited number of press box seats – priced at $90 each – remain on sale for the spring game. (Note: Minimum age requirement is 12 for press box admission; deadline is Friday, April 6 at noon.) It marks the 11th year in a row that fans have an opportunity to purchase press box seats and enjoy the same view as the media that cover Spartan football. Proceeds from the sale of press box seats will benefit the George Webster Scholarship Fund. Fans may order press box seats online at msuspartans.com. Click here to order your press box seats online: Press Box Seats
HELP TACKLE HUNGER FOOD DRIVE:
The 11th-annual Help Tackle Hunger Food Drive to support the MSU Student Food Bank will take place at the spring game.
Fans attending the spring game are encouraged to make monetary donations at concession stands throughout Spartan Stadium. In addition, a portion of the proceeds from the 50/50 raffle will be donated to the MSU Food Bank.
The 11th-annual Help Tackle Hunger Food Drive is sponsored by MSU's Division of Residential and Hospitality Services and the Athletics Department, with Becky Dantonio serving as the honorary chair.