MSU Spartans
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Quotes from Big Ten Media Day
 
 
 
Brian Hoyer
 
Brian Hoyer
 
 

July 24, 2008

Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio

On senior running back Javon Ringer ...
"There are players all across the country that have outstanding ability. There are guys that run 4.37 [forty-yard dashes], guys that have 40-inch vertical jumps and guys that have his explosiveness. What makes Javon an outstanding player is his unselfishness, the type of person he is, his work ethic, his ability to see through all the issues and his focus and tenacity.

He brings to the table a tremendous work ethic and confidence in himself and his teammates. He is completely unselfish and I think his faith is a big part of that."

On Brian Hoyer's 2007 season ...
"It should be noted that last year at this time we had no proven quarterback. There is no substitution for experience. We can't create practice situations where you are down by two with a minute to go. We can try, but we can't recreate that environment where you have 100,000 or 75,000 people and a national television audience watching you. Now that he's had that experience, I think that his experience will carry this football team."

On Arthur Ray, who was diagnosed with cancer his senior year of high school...
"I talk to Arthur and his mother quite often. Arthur had a small setback but he is cancer free. His attitude and his belief that he will succeed and be able to return is unbelievable and is an example for all of us in terms of how to handle a tough situation."

On beginning his second season as head coach and anticipation of the season...
"Last year it was a little bit of an unknown. I think this year there is a little more of an atmosphere in terms of excitement. The players know what to expect and we know what to expect from our current players. Like I've said, it's amazing how close you can get to your players in one year's time. I look forward to the day when I'm with some of our players for four or five years. I love our players. There is strength in relationships and trust is built around relationships and I believe you win with trust."

 

 

On how well he and his staff have adjusted...
"The surprise to me is how close you can get to people in such a short time. You invest your time with those people and you go through tough times with them. Our past players and our seniors this year have done an outstanding job in terms of keeping our football team together and people bought it. We're here not just as coaches but as mentors and as people who should try and make things a little bit better in their lives. They embrace that and the leadership - there were some tough times and they worked through those tough times. When you travel through something this difficult, it builds cohesiveness, I think, and that's what happened with our football team last year. Will it happen again this year? Again, we'll have to go through tough times. We lost some close games last year and we've been in the fire. We're going to constantly be questioned about the nature of the program and with this type of exposure your constantly going to be questioned in terms of where you're at. We have to be able to handle adversity and that's the one thing we talked about from day one. You play for that respect every single day and every single play."

On attending Big Ten Media Day...
"I think it's very exciting for us to see the exposure and the priority that the Big Ten Conference demands in the midwest. The fact that all these people come here and talk about the Conference and the football programs allows us to be a premiere conference in America."

Reflecting on 2007 and looking ahead to 2008...
"We'll go into every game with expectations to win. I think if you don't do that, you sell yourself short. There's not a football team on our schedule that we couldn't have beaten last year. There are also numerous teams that could have beaten us. So, I think it depends on how we prepare and how our players handle adversity and do all the little things that are critical to winning. We made strides last year as a football program. I think that we are on first base and need to get to second. Last season we could have had a triple and been on third, I don't know...
I think it's important that we take a step forward and that's what we'll do."

On recruiting ...
"Recruiting the state of Michigan is the priority. We will always work from the inside-out. Obviously we'll work into Ohio, we have a lot of people we know in Ohio, they have great high school football there. It's important that we be in that state and recruit well in that state. It is very difficult at times because it is a highly-recruited state. We have three great players here from Ohio (Hoyer, Ringer and Kershaw). We also have some great players from the state of Michigan. It's important that we do our work there."

On going to a bowl game last season...
"First of all, I want to thank the Spartan nation. I can't remember how many thousands we had but it shows that there is passion involved with Spartan football. Our players had a great time, we had no problems, no missed curfews, we prepared very, very well and we had a great hotel. The Champs Bowl is first class in every respect so we had an outstanding experience there. As Brian [Hoyer] said, we got a little taste of the end of the rainbow. I hope that we'll continue to move in that direction but that doesn't happen without adversity and hard work. We played a great opponent and I thought we played very well."





"Win or lose - we want to gain the respect of our opponents and let them know that they are in for a fight."


Senior Running Back Javon Ringer

On the team's attitude coming into the 2008 season ...
"I think we all have a really positive attitude coming into this season. We know that we were so close to winning a lot of games last year, and if we continue to focus on the little things, we should have a lot more success this season."

On having high expectations for the 2008 season...
"This being my last year, there is a lot of weight being put on my shoulders, but I really don't feel like that much of it is only on me. A lot of my success is going to depend on my guys up front. Depending how good our offensive line does, that is how we will do as a team. As for me, all of the attention paid to me I don't pay attention to."

On hearing other coaches complimentary comments on MSU's toughness ...
"Coming into this year, coach Dantonio, his staff, and all of us, win or lose - we want to gain the respect of our opponents and let them know that they are in for a fight when they come in and play us or when we go in and play them. Hearing a compliment like that gives us confidence that we are heading in the right direction and becoming one of the top programs in the Big Ten."

On this being his final season with the Spartans...
"Me being a senior, this is the last time to be with a lot of close friends. I need to continue to work and grind and joke with my teammates everyday. That is something that you really need to learn and grow to cherish. Your senior year is your last time, it is something that you will always look back on and reminisce about.

"This is my last go-around. This is something that I really would like to make special and have it be a big part of my life. Being with the group of guys that I have, all of my teammates, it is something that I would really like to make special."

Senior Defensive Tackle Justin Kershaw

On handling adversity this season...
"Well, I don't think football is a perfect science and, of course, adversity is going to happen. So, you have to prepare yourself mentally to handle it through workouts and other things. I think we have a lot (of depth) at all positions on both sides of the ball. We have a lot of guys that are going to step up."

On his experience at MSU...
"It's been a great experience and I contribute all my success to the Lord and Coach Dantonio."

On hearing other coaches complimentary comments on MSU's toughness ...
"I think that it's a great compliment. One of the highest compliments you can give a football team and player is that they are tough. When Coach Dantonio came in he said he was going to emphasize toughness and I think every drill we do and conditioning exercise we do is done so that we can be tough...
so we can get knocked down and get back up."

On what to expect from the defense in 2008...
"We expect our defense to be tough. That's one thing that the seniors from last year did a really good job emphasizing. We'll be going into every game trying to play hard and be a tough defense to play against."

Senior Quarterback Brian Hoyer

On the team's commitment to preparing for the upcoming season ...
"Coach Dantonio mentioned this before - you see people around the football building a lot more than you ever have before. Watching film, doing position work and just getting extra work in. We got to first base last season, and people realize we need to step it up a notch to get over that hump this season. This summer we've worked harder than we ever have before."

On starting over with a new coaching staff last season ...
"A new coaching staff came in and it was kind of like a fresh start for everyone. We wanted to start over. A lot of our guys never had a winning season. Last year's seniors that redshirted were the only guys that had ever been to a bowl game. The fresh start we wanted was given to us with the new coaching staff. We took their mentality and ran with it. Coach Dantonio and his staff did a great job of setting up the discipline to have that winning mentality and gaining that toughness Michigan State has always had."

On learning to deal handle media pressures ...
"You have to take that with a grain of salt. As the quarterback, you're going to take the most credit and the most blame when things go bad. I just need to worry about what my teammates say about it. There were times last year when I could have done things differently and we ended up losing the game. My teammates and coaches stuck by me, and that's all I really worry about. I ignore the outside noise and that's what you have to do. If you let that get to you, it can affect the way you play and I can't let that happen. You need to be able to deal with that, it comes with the position. Last year was a learning experience. I stuck with my teammates and they stuck with me. It's going to help me this year because I know how to deal with it. I worry about the inside, not the outside, and expect a big season."

On his senior year ...
"It's going by fast, that's for sure. It's exciting to come here to Chicago and experience all the media. You see players from the other teams, so it gets you excited and ready for the season. I can't wait for camp. It gets rough, but it's my senior year and I want to enjoy it to the utmost. We get a week off after this and then we start right back up with camp. That week can't come fast enough for me. In five or six months I'll be done with college football and it's crazy to think that. I just want to go out and enjoy every day, even if it's a two a day with full-pads both practices. You have to find ways to enjoy it because it's an opportunity that doesn't last forever. I'm glad I had the opportunity to come here and do this."

On gaining mental toughness ...
"I think it has to do a lot with when Coach Dantonio first came in. Obviously he had been at Michigan State before, and the Michigan State teams then and those before him had been known as tough teams. They set a tough mentality for the season. Playing a team as hard as you could and the next day they know they played a tough team and were hit hard. For us to be able to get back to that mentality that other teams respect us because they know we play tough and to the end. It's something we set up to accomplish last year. To hear something like that shows we made progress, but there's a long way to go to be where we want to be."

On the mindset gained from last season ...
"We go into every game expecting to win that game. Last year we made ourselves believe. We showed ourselves that we could compete with anyone in this conference. That's something I feel we lacked in years before. We can go into every game with confidence, knowing we have the ability to win the game. That's goes along with the coaching staff as well as our players believing in our team. I feel we have set high expectations for ourselves. Last year we got a taste of a winning season, what a bowl game feels like, because none of us had been to one before. We're excited and we all have high expectations for ourselves."

On playing high school football in Ohio ...
"When we were upstairs in our room changing, ESPN's Titletown USA segment was on that featured Massillon, Ohio as one of the 20 finalists. Javon [Ringer] and I both played against Massillon. That's a pride that those of us from Ohio carry. We know that it's one of the top states in the country for high school football. Coach Dantonio mentioned we'll recruit from the inside out. There's a ton of great players in the state of Michigan, many are from the Detroit area. Ohio is a huge state to get a football player out of. I think it starts with the programs. From the three schools we went to, to the Massillon's and the Cincinnati teams. It is a great state for high school football."

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