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Spartans Begin Fourth Week of Spring Practice
 
 
 

 

 
 

April 15, 2014

EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State football team held its 11th practice of the spring on Tuesday afternoon inside the Duffy Daugherty Football Building. Prior to practice, MSU head coach Mark Dantonio talked with reporters to provide an update on the Spartans.

QUOTABLE: COACH DANTONIO

Opening statement...
(We have) three really significant practices left, then we have one more in shorts, and then the spring game. We're sort of rounding the turn, so every one of these practices is big and we're trying to get something done on them. The scrimmage on Saturday came down to really the last play of the scrimmage. Connor Cook put it right on DeAnthony (Arnett) at the end in a two-minute situation, and Nick Hill had to score for a touchdown. I thought I saw a lot of good things, but consistency continues to be an issue because when you're looking at both sides of the ball, I think you're always looking for who's going to win it.

On who he's most pleasantly surprised with this spring...
I really think DeAnthony Arnett. He's caught the ball very ball, he's making good runs after catches, he's playing aggressively, and he's a guy that needed to do those things. He needed to show more consistency. I also think R.J. Shelton has moved forward. I mean, there's a lot of guys that have moved forward. R.J. is a guy that makes plays out there, every scrimmage and every practice. Some of our other good players remain good players, but I think those two guys have shown that they've come a little farther than they were in the fall.

 

 

On game-like situations during scrimmages versus creating situations...
We actually played it out (during Saturday's second scrimmage, a 38-37 win for the offense). It just so happens that every time we play it out, that it gets close. Now, they sort of say I rig it (laughing), but I don't really think that I do. It just sort of seems to happen like that. The defense was ahead of the offense, Riley Bullough had a pick for a touchdown, Kurtis Drummond had a real nice interception, so that put them up to 37 points, but it just sort of happened the way it did. There were a couple of big plays by our offense, and they got back in it.

On Riley Bullough...
Riley has moved back to defense; he's working at the strong side linebacker, rather than the middle linebacker, which is where he was working when he was a linebacker. He missed all of camp last year, so there's a transition. But he's plays extremely hard, he makes plays, but he's a young player, so consistency is the issue because he's seen a lot of different things, formations and adjustments and those type of things. Obviously, when you put together different defenses, things start to add up, and so you have to be able to play things out.

On strong side linebacker...
Ed (Davis) will come into the fall as our No. 1 (Sam) linebacker. He's active, he's got a lot of the physical abilities that Denicos Allen had, he really runs well, does those types of things. So he'll come in No. 1, at least in our minds right now. As far as the other linebacker positions, it really sort of remains to be seen. We could move Taiwan (Jones) out there, we could move Darien (Harris) out there, we could play with those three, or somebody could unseat them. We've got good young players, but they're young, so every rep is important for them.

On the two-deep...
We have a lot of wideouts who I would consider have the ability to play in the two-deep right now because guys are nicked up. At the corner position, Justin Williams worked at the No. 2 corner, but we've got some corners out...The two-deep sort of remains constant, I would say there. Ones one day, and twos another.

On Kodi Kieler and Connor Kruse...
I think Kodi is still No. 2. Connor Kruse has had a good spring; he's a senior, he can play a variety of positions. But Kodi Kieler has had a great spring. I think he's a guy that is solid in that sixth position; he could play either guard or tackle, or you could move somebody else to guard or tackle. I think he could play anyplace on the right side of the ball. The other guys could go to the left side if needed.

On the starting five on the offensive line (LT Jack Conklin, LG Travis Jackson, C Jack Allen, RG Connor Kruse, RT Donavon Clark)...
I would say it's solid, with the exception that Kodi is one of those guys that can push because he has great athletic ability and size speed for the position.

On the battle for back-up running back behind Jeremy Langford...
I think Delton Williams is in there, but he's out right now because of his shoulder surgery at the end of the season. I think he did enough as a true freshman to warrant that (playing time). I also think that Nick Hill is having a great spring. Gerald Holmes is a talent. But we've got a couple of freshmen coming as well; it's going to be competitive there, but it should be because it's a tailback position, and we're going to give the ball to our tailbacks. I think Langford has had a great spring. He's a little heavier, but he's still extremely explosive. I think he has a lot of good things for him.

On the momentum from the Rose Bowl Game...
We've got a lot of momentum here. The Rose Bowl obviously has supplied that, along with the Big Ten Championship. I think it's also important that we step back and we're trying to reaffirm ourselves - I've said that over and over, and I think our football team is trying to do that. We need to do that on a consistent basis. We can't feel that entitlement. We got to have confidence, but it's a fine line, it's a very fine line, so we have to work hard and keep pushing it.

PERSONNEL UPDATE: Dantonio said that junior wide receiver Macgarrett Kings Jr. has not been practicing with the team this spring due to a violation of team rules.

SCHEDULE UPDATE: Michigan State's Big Ten opener against Nebraska on Oct. 4 at Spartan Stadium will be televised in prime time at 8 p.m. on either ABC, ESPN or ESPN2.

SPRING SCHEDULE UPDATE: The Spartans will return for their 12th practice of the spring on Thursday afternoon.

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