Football Media Day: Offense
 
 
 
Connor Cook talks to reporters at MSU's media day Monday.
 
Connor Cook talks to reporters at MSU's media day Monday.
 
 
Aug. 4, 2014

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State held its annual media day Monday afternoon in the Huntington Club at Spartan Stadium.

Below are quotes from the offensive players that spoke at media day.

Senior running back Jeremy Langford

On the newest running backs...
I think all of the running backs are doing a great job, catching on and knowing the plays. Once I go out, they'll do the same thing, the same intensity. We run hard, that's what we've been doing.

On staying motivated...
There are other running backs in the Big Ten that I'm competing against as well. The first time I start, I start in our backfield, but there are others in the nation and that Big Ten that I look at to compete against as well. That's what helps me push myself.

On dealing with success...
It doesn't start with me. It always starts with the program. It took the whole team to get where we were last year. It's not an individual goal. The more exposure the program gets, the more exposure we get individually. So, I just have to keep playing for the team until we get to the Big Ten Championship and beyond.

On his newfound success...
It's changed for the fans and everybody else, but I still have to work like I'm not the starter. You can't become complacent. Coach D talks about not becoming complacent because there is always someone behind you that's pushing you and they bring that talent every year. There's a lot of talent in that running back room right now. Thoughts on offseason focus...
Nothing really different than I did last year, I still work hard, I just never became complacent. I never thought I made it and I just kept working hard. I never really acted like I was `the guy,' I just acted like I was playing with the second string.

On confidence coming off of last season...
Yeah, I'm confident about last season; I think I'm getting better. Toward the end of the season I was confident. I think the more you play running back, the more you play in game situations, you get more confident. I think I'm confident right now going into the season and I'm getting better than I was last season.

 

 

Senior wide receiver Tony Lippett

Things learned while playing defense helping on offense...
I learned how corners eliminate certain routes. What corners want to do as far as press, or off coverage, what are they looking for, what are they taking away. Some of the time I use stuff like that.

On the frequent flyer zone...
That's something that coach Salem came up with at the banquet. We embrace it, we are just always trying to find ways to get better, find a way to uphold that name. It came out of nowhere, we didn't know about it until he said it.

Oh having different feelings from last year...
Not really, it's not really that much of a change. Coach D still has a task at hand, we all still have a task at hand, getting better and taking it one day at a time. It's not that much of a difference because at the end of the day we are still going out there trying to compete. That is just how it is.

Senior wide receiver Keith Mumphery

On keeping the momentum going...
The only way we can do that is to continue to practice hard and continue to do the little things. Act as if we're starting over, not be content, and just be humble. We can't take any steps back.

On Connor Cook's progress since last season...
Everything is the same, his confidence, leadership, swag, all that. Everything is the same. He's just progressing each and every day.

On the first days of camp...
It's tough. The grind is back here. We're starting over and we're beginning to take the steps we need to take to win each game.

On dealing with expectations of more success...
The only way to deal with expectations is to take it one game at a time, one praise at a time, and not look forward. Be in the moment, this practice this week, next practice next week to move forward. Once we win this game, we'll take the next step to win the next game.

Junior center Jack Allen

On playing several night games this season...
Night games, I enjoy them. The bad part is that you sit around the hotel all day and they try to keep you moving. I enjoy the atmosphere of the game, but the whole process leading up to the game is the part we dislike.

On new leadership...
We definitely lost leadership with (Blake) Treadwell, Fou (Fonoti) and (Dan) France gone, but everybody is coming together. With this process, the guys coming in have experience. It's not their first day playing offensive line for meaningful reps. There's somewhat of a void vocally, but playing-wise...by the time we're done with camp, I think we'll be where we want to be.

On the most exciting element of this offense...
I think one of the things is that we can score a lot of points and run the ball really effectively. That's what you want to do as an offense and that gets me going.

On the depth of the line...
That's one of the biggest things. It's that someone like Connor Kruse can play from left tackle to right tackle. Someone goes down or something happens, we can plug the majority of our guys in anywhere because they know the whole offensive line across the board. It just makes it easier - everyone's experienced.

Sophomore offensive tackle Jack Conklin

On being physical...
We've got Jack Allen and Connor Kruse; those are two of the toughest guys I've ever met. I mean, they're rubbing off on other guys at the start of camp here. There's definitely going to be a very physical feel to our offensive line. If one guy is playing hard and physical, the rest will too.

On his goals for the season...
Offensively, our main goals this year are that we want to be No. 1 in the Big Ten in rushing average per game and rushing average per play. Those are our biggest things. Of course, we don't want to give up any sacks, but we want to be No. 1 in the Big Ten in all offensive categories. Personally, I have a lofty goal, I want to be First Team All-Big Ten and I want my name to be on the Outland Trophy. The biggest thing for me is just getting our team to the playoff system and the national championship.

On the strategy for this season...
It still comes back to those inches. You look back and see what you could've done better. Even last year, the biggest thing is to look back and see where we could've gotten another yard on each play in games like Notre Dame where we could've won. Now you look forward to this year and see where you can fix those things for next year.

Senior offensive lineman Connor Kruse

On the goal of making the National Championship...
Coach talks about getting better every day. We made the Rose Bowl last year, and if we can continue to get better every day, we can achieve our goal of a National Championship. We need to keep excelling as a unit offensively and defensively. We are three days into camp, and at this point, we need to just keep improving.

On Connor Cook's progress...
Connor has gotten a lot better, even from the beginning of last year. He was a little jittery in the huddle at the start. Now, he knows the routes and calls, gets everyone relaxed, and plays with confidence.

On Jeremy Langford's progress...
He has worked hard all summer, just like the rest of the guys. It has hard to say this early in camp, but from what I can see, he is doing great.

Junior quarterback Connor Cook

On how much has life has changed since the Rose Bowl...
I haven't thought about it much. I am just focused on football and trying to get better every day and not worry about stuff outside of football.

On Coach Dantonio's approach to the team to live up to the expectations...
He talks to us a lot about handling success and we kind of dealt with that last year later in the season. I thought we handled that well. We have guys with experience this year, so we are not going to let that impact us.

On whether or not the team is embracing the target on their back...
I think we are. We talk about handling success, and we had that target last year. Guys are hungry this season for more and we are embracing everything and working harder.

On carrying the momentum from last year...
Coming off of a Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl season, everyone is confident. We are hungrier for more, so hopefully that gives us some momentum going into 2014.

On the start of this season compared to last year...
Last year was hard grinding for a spot. The main difference is last year I had to focus on myself winning the day and winning the position. This year is totally different and I know I'm the guy, so I have to be a leader. I want to keep getting better, but now I can focus on getting the team better too.

On keeping the momentum from last season...
We just have to keep working hard and stay hungry. Last year was a great year. That was last year. We want to make new memories this year. Throughout the offseason you could see how hungry guys were. We want to be greedy and demand more this year. The coaches had us going through the hardest summer that I have been through at MSU.

Senior offensive lineman Travis Jackson

On putting last season behind....
Coach always talks about being focused. We try to keep our emotions in check. As long as we can put it behind us as a team and continue to look forward, we can get better.

On being a senior and why he chose Michigan State...
I visited a ton of other Big Ten schools. Sitting in coach's office, he talked about how he recruits the person and not just the player, and lets you become a man. He talks about developing relationships as the most important part and that is what sold me. Coach has a really great grasp on what is truly important in life. The coaching staff and players here sold me on it and I am all Green and White now.

On being a leader...
You have to hold yourself accountable. Coach always talks about the seniors and the legacy we will leave. We have to take that seriously, but also enjoy it. It is a big responsibility and we have to step up. There was a lot of ups and downs here, but I couldn't have picked a better place to come to school.

On Connor Cook...
Connor Cook is a guy who is confident on the field and who he is. He is not afraid to make a mistake. He takes control and started doing that as he became the starter last year. He is going to be a great player. He is a great guy to play with and play for.

Sophomore tight end Josiah Price

On his confidence as a player going into the 2014 season...
I've got a lot of confidence right now considering how last season ended for me. I'm probably the most confident I've been in my football career. I had a really good spring and really kept improving. So this fall I feel like I can be a dynamic player for our team.

On going up against Shilique Calhoun in practice every day...
I'm blessed to have him on the other side of the ball. He's going to push me to be the best blocker in the country. I'm going up against the best defensive end in the country every day, and he reminds me of that when he beats me on plays here and there. My freshman year there was no way I was blocking him but I've made a lot of improvements in my game to where I can now compete on every play.

On the growth of the Spartan tight end position from this year to last year...
I think the tight end position grew a lot. We went from a question mark to truly having depth this year. We've got a lot of guys that can really play. We just keep getting better and better every day and are all looking forward to performing this season.

Junior offensive lineman Donavon Clark

On the team's expectations this season...
We went to the Rose Bowl last year and that was great for us, but we have to move forward. This year's team is a new team with new expectations. We're trying to take it one game at a time.

On how his role has changed into a leader on the offensive line...
My first year here I was just trying to establish myself, and mostly just fit in. I listened to the older guys a lot and learned a lot from them. Now it's my turn to be that older guy and help the young guys out. I've done a lot of work on the field and off the field to make sure I'm setting a good example.

Sophomore wide receiver R.J. Shelton

On his transition to being a full-time wide receiver...
It's been going good. I've been trying to perfect my route running and improving my hands. Coach D said it was the best move for the team, and I want to help the team in any way.

On what he's looking to accomplish as a player in 2014...
I'm going out there trying to make plays. That's what the coaches have asked of me and I want to deliver. I've shown that I have the ability to run but now I've been asked to catch the ball more.

On the team's goals for the upcoming year...
We talked about making it to the college football playoffs, but we are just focused on playing one game at a time. It's important to just focus on winning the game in front of us and the rest will fall into place. Coach D talks about dreaming big and we all do, but our dreams won't be reached if we don't take care of business each and every practice and game.

It went really well. I tried to focus on my pass protection because that's what I needed the most improvement on. I did a lot of things to improve my hands and my footwork and it's come a long way since I was a freshman.

Sophomore tight end Jamal Lyles

On the expectations of the tight end position overall heading into the 2014 season...
I think we're going to have a lot more catches. We showed what we all can do last year and now I think the coaches and the quarterbacks have some more confidence in us to be able to make plays with our hands. Michigan State has used there tight ends a lot in the past and I think we are going to get back to that this season.

On how he and fellow sophomore tight end Josiah Price work off of one another...
He's one of my best friends and has helped me out with so much. When I was making the position change last year he was there for me every step of the way, teaching me what I should know. Once I got it all down it started to become a competition between us to push each other and make each other better.

On the competition at all the positions on the team...
You can really sense the competition. There are a lot of talented players and only a few spots. It's making everyone work hard. We all know there are no guarantees, and no one has starting jobs besides maybe a select few players.