EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio held a media briefing Tuesday morning in the Demmer Hall of History inside the Skandalaris Football Center.
The following is a transcript from Tuesday's media briefing:
COACH DANTONIO: I thought what we'd do is pretty much like I said last week and make our players available to our media, and also announce that Sheldon White has been hired as director of player personnel. I think he'll do an outstanding job. Sheldon comes with a wealth of NFL experience and he has a great attention to detail. Also, we've elevated Mark Staten to assistant head coach, Harlon Barnett will be associate head coach. I just felt that Mark has done a lot of things in the community and he's been one of those guys that I've been with for 14 years and in the transition period in recruiting, he picked up that gauntlet again and did an outstanding job and I just think it's warranted.
We've got some other guys coming into our program as well. We're having a mini camp this week with our incoming freshmen in, so they'll be here for one week and then come back on July 5 as well to start taking their session of summer school, but we wanted to get them in here so they can get their physicals, and transitioning with everything going on.
We've also done a lot of things in the community with our players, especially with the Lansing Promise project, so our players have been out in the community, I think we've hit every elementary school here in Lansing, just trying to make our way in that area as well. I'll just take some questions.
Q. Other than recruiting responsibilities, has Coach Staten's role and responsibilities changed at all?
COACH DANTONIO: He'll be our offensive line coach and our entire staff works with each other, so he's had a lot of input in that, but the main thing was I felt like we still want his hands to be kept in the recruiting area as well. So he kind of serves with that title, and then he's done a lot of different things outside of the football realm and in the community, talks throughout the state and I just felt that now was the time to make that move.
Q. What do you see in Sheldon White, obviously he doesn't have the recruiting background but has the professional background, but what have you seen in him that made you think that role was right for him?
COACH DANTONIO: Sheldon came here last year as a consultant after he left the (Detroit) Lions, so I have gotten to really know him over a year. He's got great attention to detail, obviously he's been in the league (NFL), played in the league and he's also been a scout in the NFL as well as a front office person, so I think he knows things from top to bottom. He gives us a great person to bounce things off of, especially in terms of player development and player expertise and things of that nature, and he's just a great person with great attention to detail. His son (Cody) was already committed to coming here, so it wasn't a conflict or anything like that, and this also gives him an opportunity to be a part of Michigan State.
Q. Just a little update on a couple of the guys, Tyson Smith, in particular with his situation, and also with Lashawn Paulino-Bell?
COACH DANTONIO: I know Tyson tweeted out his situation, so we're going to see where that takes us, so I have my concerns about whether he is able to play again or not, but that's an ongoing process. Certainly, he's been a good player for us and everything like that, but I don't really want to speak to his medical situation, but we'll see what happens.
Lashawn was unable to come to right now, so he's still on the mend a little, but he should be here July 5.
Q. What has it been like the last couple of days getting back on the field?
COACH DANTONIO: It's been good, you know, it's been good, our players have been good and I'm excited about our football team. I'm very excited about our incoming freshmen. Having our full team sit there today in the team meeting room, because we've lost a lot of seniors, but all of a sudden it's filled up again. It's excited for us. We've got a couple guys who are not here yet, Shakur Brown is not here, he's finishing up a class, Lashawn and (Laress) Nelson.
Q. With those guys that are gone from the program, what have you told some of the younger guys about the opportunities in front of them?
COACH DANTONIO: There's no question we don't have a senior laden team, but sometimes that's good, sometimes that's not so good, so we'll find out. I think that it does give other people an opportunity to grow in their leadership area. I look at Joe Bachie for example, when he was a freshman last year and he's taken great steps to grow as a leader. He's definitely one of our leaders, and he's just one of the guys, so it presents a lot of opportunities for guys to get involved in that process, allows them to maybe look back to 2009 when Kirk Cousins was a captain in 2009 as a redshirt sophomore and you see what he did with that. So there's got to be an opportunity and sometimes you need a little space up there to have that opportunity so I think it's a good thing.
Q. Will you keep doing the captain process the same?
COACH DANTONIO: Yes, it's just my feeling, that our captains have to lead our players and they should be player-voted, so we'll do that. We've done a lot of unique things in that area, to try and put a spotlight on that and see `hey, what does your teammate think about you? As a person, as a player, as a student?' So we're going to continue to do that.
Q. With Justin Layne being a two-way player, going into camp what will his role be?
COACH DANTONIO: We've worked him both sides of the ball this spring to try to give him a foundation offensively. He had that foundation initially and then he was moved to defense, so it's been back and forth, but I think right now you've got to look at him as a defensive player, but he has the ability to go over and play, but we have to be careful not to overload.
Q. On the new freshmen coming in, did you have to tell them anything different or did they show up knowing what happened last year with a lot of freshmen that can play and get on the field?
COACH DANTONIO: I think what we've tired to constantly do is educate our players on all aspects of college, whether it's on the field or off the field, and we're going to continue to do that, and we're going to look at certain areas that we have to do better at and certainly try to improve on those areas. That's what we always try and do. I like our football team. We've got a lot of good young people here. I had an opportunity to go to Magic Johnson's Lansing Promise event and I thought that was a unique opportunity to get our players involved. You see who the player is when they go out among young people and that's exciting to see. They had an opportunity to share their time with young people in the Lansing area and I think that can only benefit them and us.
Q. Can you give any update on LJ Scott, is he able to go full go now?
COACH DANTONIO: Yes he's going full go now. He's healthy and he'll be ready to go.
Q. How do you get back to the team chemistry that you had two years ago and in the past?
COACH DANTONIO: I think any time you have things that go on in your program, you've got to regroup, and that's everybody's responsibility, so that's what we'll do. We've had situations before and we'll regroup and drive forward. We'll put our foot in the ground and plant it and drive forward.
Q. With the new recruiting rules, does that change anything with Mark Staten's new role or how does that all work?
COACH DANTONIO: There's quite a few different rules, but you have the early signing period, I think that's probably the biggest thing. There's a lot of different change, like how freshmen are able to come in here now, there's no two-a-days, there's one day off, we come into camp one week earlier, so there's a lot of different things in that regard. You can bring players in now before they're in school, academically, so we have our mini camp this week where we're tying to hit every aspect that a player would experience. There's physicals, their equipment and there's things off the field as well, with different people coming in and talking to them about different things. So it's an on-going process and as far as the rules, I think Mark and all of our coaches have stayed on top of that. We've had Brad Salem be the recruiting coordinator in the past and Mark Staten as well, so I think Mark took off with it and he's done a great job.
Q. How different will fall camp be with the differences with the rules and schedule change as well as or more or less of a grind?
COACH DANTONIO: I think we've got to be innovative with that, we may do some different things relative to not putting the hammer down that first week and taking our time a little bit, sort of transitioning to full camp mode. I think we'll need to do that because it's going to be a four-week camp, it's four weeks until we play a football game, but I think that will benefit us because we do have a young football team.
Q. Do you have a start date for when camp starts?
COACH DANTONIO: They'll come in on July 30, that Sunday.