Spring Practice Update: Dantonio Quotes
 
 
 

 

 
 

April 8, 2014

EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State football team took advantage of the nice weather on Tuesday afternoon, going outside for a complete practice for the first time this spring. Under mostly sunny skies and temperatures reaching the low-60s, MSU head coach Mark Dantonio sent the Spartans through their seventh spring practice.

"This is our first day out here today for the full day," said Dantonio, who met with reporters before practice to give an update on the team. "We've got eight practices left after today, so we'll get a lot of them out here."

The Spartans conducted their first scrimmage of the spring last Friday, and was Dantonio was pleased with the results.

"It was a good scrimmage," said Dantonio, as the offense came away with the 27-25 victory. "There were some outstanding performances. I thought DeAnthony Arnett really took a step forward, and (Connor) Cook played really, really well. There were big plays out there on both sides of the ball. We're progressing.

"We were going into our sixth practice when we had the scrimmage. The defense made a lot of plays too; we continue to be strong in the secondary and skill positions. They both did good things. It's tough when you're sitting in there on the field and you're not rooting for either side, you're just trying to make it all work and be competitive, and it was."

INJURY UPDATE: Dantonio said that sophomore offensive guard Zach Higgins will be lost for the season after suffering a knee injury (torn ACL) during Friday's scrimmage.

 

 

QUOTABLE:

Below is a transcript from Dantonio's briefing with the media on Tuesday:

On the depth chart...
Guys are moving up and down a little bit. (Jon) Reschke had a good scrimmage; right now he's No. 1 at Mike (middle) linebacker. Taiwan Jones may practice today, but Reschke was the guy that stepped in there for him during the scrimmage, so that was a positive. I thought he played fast and with a lot of energy, and it was good to see. Some guys that you don't really hear about all the time, like Kodi Kieler, I thought he had a big scrimmage. I was impressed with the physicality of the offensive line. And I continue to be impressed with some of our skill players.

On DeAnthony Arnett...
I think the biggest thing he's showing - he's catching the ball very consistently - but the toughness factor is very apparent to me. The tougher you are, the harder you play, the better things usually shake out for you. I've been impressed with him.

On the offense...
Hopefully we continue to get better. I thought we hit full stride last year probably in November, and really didn't look back, and I think we can build on those things. (Jeremy) Langford's been good; Nick Hill had a big run on Friday as well. I just see our guys playing physical up front. Jamal Lyles is playing very well at tight end; I think he's taking a big step forward. He transitioned last year really after fall camp was over..., so he had to sort of learn on the run a little bit. I think he's had a positive spring thus far. Some good things are happening.

On the position battle at Mike linebacker, in addition to Reschke and Taiwan Jones...
Shane Jones is a guy that we expect to be a good player for us. Darien Harris can move in there as well. We have a number of players that can play in there. Riley Bullough could probably move in there a little bit; he's transitioning back to linebacker, so that's taking a little bit of time too, you just don't flip over and change easy.

On who is seeing time on the defensive line...
(Damon) Knox and Joel Heath; I thought Brandon Clemons played well this past weekend. (James) Kittredge is there as a guy that has to play with better technique, but he's going to play extremely hard. So those four are the guys in there. And we've got good people coming. I think the recruiting in our defensive line position is going to pay dividends.

On the quarterbacks...
I thought Connor Cook played extremely well on Friday. I was impressed with Tyler O'Connor, he did some good things, and Damion Terry is coming - he's a talent. That situation is pretty strong right now.

On if the offense is ahead of the defense after winning the first scrimmage...
We were going into our sixth practice when we had the scrimmage. The defense made a lot of plays too; we continue to be strong in the secondary and skill positions. They both did good things. It's tough when you're sitting in there on the field and you're not rooting for either side, you're just trying to make it all work and be competitive, and it was. The defense made plays too. We had a couple of sacks; (Shilique) Calhoun looked strong.

On the difference between the quarterback situation last year vs. this year...
I think there's confidence in our receivers and confidence in our offense overall. When you have a guy (Cook) that is sort of solidified in that position, and not that it wasn't last year at this time, but there were some questions, it makes it easier for everyone else to transition.

On his relationship with men's basketball coach Tom Izzo...
I just think we can identify with each other because we go through struggles together. We go through certain struggles as a coach at this level, and it's a people business. There's always people that you deal with, whether it's players, supporters, whatever it is. I just think the relationship was strong when I came here, and it's just been strengthening. I've said many, many times, when you look across Munn Field and that basketball arena sits right there, they get it done, and they get it done right. He's been extremely supportive through the entire process here for us.

On the versatility of the offensive line...
I think the guy that can play almost any position out there is Connor Kruse. He can play left, right, tackle, guard. The other guy I think is Donavon (Clark), he can play in there. We suffered an injury with Zach Higgins this past Friday, we lost him probably for the season, so he's out. (James) Bodanis will move to guard. And I think that James Bodanis is a guy that has a lot of talent, he's just young on offensive line play, but he's got a lot of talent, and he's a big, athletic guy.

On the No. 2 running back...
I think Nick Hill has had a good spring thus far. Delton Williams is out (for the spring); he had a great fall camp and fall. Gerald Holmes has done some really nice things; he's very athletic, and he's big. He (Gerald) missed the scrimmage, he was nicked up.

On the back-up quarterbacks and how they did at the scrimmage...
Tyler had a good day. I thought he was sharp. He did some good things out there...I thought Damion Terry did some good things as well. He's young, he's a true freshman, but he's extremely talented.

On the cornerbacks...
Darian (Hicks) is the No. 1 corner. I think Arjen Colquhoun has had a good spring. I think Ezra Robinson and Jermaine Edmondson, they are two guys with talent, they're just young.