MSU Spartans
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Michigan State Football Media Day
 
 
 

 

 
 

Aug. 5, 2008

Offensive Coordinator Don Treadwell

On changes being made for the upcoming season ...
I think it's always a work in progress. We have the foundation - we just need to grow and continue to move forward. We certainly want to keep challenging those guys that have already been playmakers, such as Javon Ringer and Brian Hoyer.

On Brian Hoyer...
You can just see the confidence. He feels comfortable with what we asked him to do and with his command. He has been demonstrating this already.

On Kirk Cousins...
Like Brian [Hoyer], he's an excellent student. He's working with Coach Warner, the quarterbacks coach, very well. He really understands football in general. You can't give them enough - they constantly want more. You will see them doing a lot of independent studying about what they need to do and how they need to improve.

On Charlie Gantt...
We rely on him as a big chunk of what we have done in the past and what we look forward to doing this year. He's had a great summer with Ken Mannie. He finished off the spring making great strides in the strength department to come into camp in good shape. We're expecting great things out of him.

On Gantt's backup...
Behind him we basically have two redshirt freshmen, Garrett Celek and David Duran. Those are the two guys that will be plugging away to fill it out from the tight end position.


 

 

On Rocco Cironi at left tackle...
It is a big challenge. We lost Pete Clifford and Cironi has been excited for the challenge since last spring. He's another gentleman who has had a great offseason with Coach Mannie. He knows there are some great expectations and he has some big shoes to fill.

On filling the left guard position...
I don't know if anybody is just that guy as of right now. Obviously by the Cal game we will have that figured out. But, that's a good problem. That means that there has been enough competition in the spring and has also carried over into the summer and preseason camp. But it's definitely a good problem.

Offensive line coach Dan Roushar

On the run game...
One of the things we did last year, and it's been a big part of our makeup, is that we ran the ball effectively to the tight end. As important as those five guys are inside, those tight ends were valuable. So, that's another big part of the equation in our development.

On the young line...
We have a number of young guys we have brought in. There is a delicate balance, but I have to get those guys some reps, in order to find out what they can do, or not do, and whether they can help us this year, or whether they are going to be more in a developmental stage.

On the offensive line's health...
I think this year more than last year we have to stay healthy. We have some depth issues right now, and I don't think we have the luxury we had a year ago, with some of the guys we had. That will take time to develop, but I think it is key that we stay healthy. I think last year we had eight different combinations at the front line and I am hoping to avoid that this year.

On the camp goals...
I met with our guys, and talked about our camp goals. Obviously we want have the best five on the field, but we also want to develop depth. So, those guys have to grow up and they have to grow up in a hurry. Tight Ends Coach Mark Staten

On why things worked last season...
I think the biggest reason we were able to achieve the successes we achieved was because the seniors bought into it. From the time we got here in late November and early December of 2006, they really bought in hook, line and sinker. They stood up and responded to the challenges. I think that each one of our players got a taste of what it's like to achieve moderate success, and they see what else can be out there. Coach Mannie, our strength coach, and his staff did a phenomenal job this summer. You can tell just by how they were yesterday - how they were running around. I think that our seniors have the ability to do it and more. You have all the young guys that got a taste of it last year and now they want more.

On Coach Dantonio's outlook...
He's a high-morals guy, a high character person, and he's a family guy through and through. He doesn't speak out of both sides of his mouth. We're dealing with 17 to 23 year old men, and it's important to be truthful to them and consistent. Some coaches say this to one guy and something to another guy. Coach D is straight forward and he treats them like men. That's what young men want. At that age they want to get out of the boyhood appeal and be treated like men. Coach Dantonio and our entire staff expect them to act like that because we treat them like that.

On when everything began to click last season...
Michigan State has always had the talent; for whatever reason it didn't continue. Coaches would leave and things like that. It was an on-going process, it wasn't like one time we were a high powered offense. It was more of "Did you see the right guard on that pole", or "Did you see the tight end reach by him that one time", etc. When they didn't achieve those things, we would teach them how to. All the coaches are great teachers. Our philosophy is that kids don't want to fowl up or be mess ups, so we correct those mistakes and don't get down on the person. It teaches them how to be a better person and a better football player.

On how he evolves as a coach...
Tons. Working with Dan Roushar all the time, that's helped me with my ability. Seeing different ways also helps. You always take a little bit from everybody you worked for or worked with and put it to what you do. I'm in that offensive meeting room where all four of those guys have been lead coordinators at some point in time. It's important to listen and hear. I don't always say a lot in those meetings. I more internalize and listen, write it down. I'm not saying I don't add to the fire, I try my best to listen and if something is going to work a little better I do my best at that.

Running Back Coach Dan Enos

On replacing Jehuu Caulcrick...
Right now the plan is to just use Javon Ringer. We are not going to go out and make a change for the sake of making a change. Last year it fit because Jehuu Caulcrick was here. We had strength... we had a big back and the ability to get the ball vertical and break tackles. But we will have to wait to the end of camp. Right now the plan is to give it to Javon. We didn't take him out on every short yard situation but as the season went on, the majority of the time Jehuu Caulcrick had the ball. At the same token, we kept Javon in there for several as well.

On the number two and three players...
I think the safe thing to say one day into practice is we are trying to find out who the number two and three guys are. I think we have some guys who could very well take that role, but we are not going to, like I said, make change for change sake. Javon Ringer is the guy by far. There is a big difference between him and the other backs. We'll take him out a little bit to give him some rest but we are going to get the best people the football and last year it turned out that Jehuu was a very good back. He was a senior, he was very good in pass protection. We could play him in all situations. It is the same as Javon. If we find a guy or two like that at the end of camp, we'd like to not give it to him 40 times if we could.

On A.J. Jimmerson and Andre Anderson...
A.J. is more experienced. He understands what we are doing. He works extremely hard and has had a very good summer. Andre Anderson and Ashton Legget have had very good summers as well. Andre and Ashton both got much better by the end of summer on their pass protection as far as figuring out whom to block and that takes a little time.

On what areas A.J. Jimmerson and Andre Anderson need work...
The complexity of who they have and how it changes. As the fronts change and the blitzes change, sometimes who they have changes. The only way to really get that type of experience is to be in practice and do it. You can watch it on tape all you want, but until you have to go out there and do it, it is pretty tough. With Javon not going through spring ball it really gave A.J., Andre and Ashton a ton of reps in the spring and I think that will benefit them greatly.

Quarterback Coach Dave Warner

On coaching Brian Hoyer...
We've only been together for a little over a year, but he has gotten the full grasp of the offense, now it is time to fine tune him. Once that happens he will be able to take the next step forward. He had a very good understanding of the offense last year, but as with everything there are always little wrinkles. It is a constant process and I'm not sure that anyone could ever have it down 100-percent. I don't have any doubt that he feels confident in knowing what everyone is doing, understanding protections and the whole nine yards.

On Hoyer taking criticism after the Champs Sports Bowl...
I take responsibility for that as much as he did. I prepared him for that game and I coached him. He didn't play well and I didn't coach well. As is the case with every football game, you get praise when you win and criticism when you lose, it is part of the game, but I think that is has prepared him for this season. That's our challenge every game, we need to play up to our potential and find a way to get the win in the end.

On what Hoyer needs to do to make MSU an upper echelon team...
I think it comes down to the fourth quarter, overtime or a two-minute situation at the end of the game. That is when he needs to shine. He needs to make plays in that situation, not necessarily forcing the ball downfield, but doing what he is capable of doing, hitting open receivers and finding a way at the end of games to get the win. He's a senior this year and he needs to be that leader and help us win games.

On Hoyer's confidence heading into the 2008 season...
I think he was a confident guy last year, but I have seen a growth in him especially as leader of this team. That really tells me that his confidence has grown. He is definitely heading in the right direction wit h that and we'll see how it goes once we get rocking and rolling.

On Hoyer's improved confidence helping the team...
That confidence is invaluable. We had great leadership last year and Brian was great last year, but he will have the spotlight on him a lot more this season. It's easier to be a leader when things are going well, but when things aren't going well, that is when your leadership really needs to stick out. That is what we will count on Hoyer for this season.

Junior Offensive Tackle Rocco Cironi

On the players' bond with each other...
When you play together like we do, you have to be close. We know each other like the back of our hands. We're all pretty good friends. We hang out outside of football and we get along pretty well.

On the fall camp...
It's going to be harder than last year, that is all we know. We just have to work hard and get the job done. We still have a lot of playbook to get in.

On being in the running to fill the left tackle position...
I love the pressure. I love being counted on. My task for camp is to show my teammates that I can do it and to let them know they can depend on me to get the job done. I'm ready for it.

On Javon Ringer's Heisman candidacy...
We know that he can do it and with our help it can be done.

On this year's schedule...
It'll be a tough one. Starting off with playing out at Cal is going to be a tough one but I think we can do it. Then, when we come back, we have three straight home games and then we start the Big Ten season.

Senior Running Back Javon Ringer

On what he learned from last year...
I learned once again that we can play with anybody in our conference. In previous years we would get blown out by a lot of these teams. Last year we were only a play here and a play there away from a win. Those close games show that we have the possibility of a win but we still need to keep working to get over that hump.

On why this year will be better than last...
We have more experience. Everybody has pretty much been in every situation we could possibly be in. And with every single game we have more experience than before. We work on the situations in practice.

On being the best...
I don't really hear that as much as you might think. The pressure is not on me, it's on my linemen. I can't really do anything without them. They make me who I am. I could be the best running back in the world but if I don't have a good offensive line I cant do anything.

On Brian Hoyer...
Brian is great. He is really spreading the ball around. Last year, a lot of teams saw that we were really focusing on Devin [Thomas] and now, instead of having just that one receiver, we have a variety of people for him to give the ball to. We've been working with him a lot in the offseason and he is really improving.

On what he learned from Jehuu Caulcrick...
He taught me to be relaxed. No reason to be uptight. He was always smiling and happy when he came to the games. He was always just trying to get everyone relaxed during the games by making them laugh. Hopefully that is something that I will be able to bring to our team, too.

On A.J. Jimmerson...
There are a lot of things in the game that he hasn't experienced yet. I have and what I can do for him is let him know what to expect out there. He's very good at adapting. It really won't take him long at all to get into the game.

On what going to the Champs Sports Bowl did for the team...
It made us realize that we are good and we can win. It gave us a boost of confidence. It was the first year for a lot of things and playing against such great opponents made us anxious for this year. We are expecting big things and we know a lot of other people are, too and we will do our best to live up to the expectations.

On what it means to be a Spartan...
I was very excited to be a part of this program and work with a lot of good people. When I came for my visit here, I was just surrounded by a lot of great people. They looked out for me a lot. Having good, quality friends is important.

Redshirt Freshman Offensive Guard Joel Foreman

On pressure to block for Javon Ringer...
We are up to the challenge. We take it and welcome it. We have to do our best to get Javon some big runs and get him over 1,000 yards.

On this year's schedule...
It's tough but we're excited. Every team on our schedule is going to be a tough team to beat. Cal is a good team and they have a lot of talent but we do too and we are ready.

Senior Offensive Tackle Jesse Miller

On expectations after last season...
To win more. We're never satisfied. There's a lot more to go because we're still underestimated.

On what he thinks is important for tackles...
Physicality and aggression. I don't think young guys really understand the speed and intensity of the game yet because a lot of them haven't been in one. It's completely different from practice. They need to learn the part.

On his senior season ...
It seems like I got here yesterday. I'm going to make the best of everything I've got.

On the game against Michigan...
It's very important to me. I don't like to live in another person's shadow. Will it change the morale of the team? Definitely, I just hope not in a bad way.

Senior Quarterback Brian Hoyer

On improving from last season...
Last season we set a foundation, but 7-6 is not where this program aspires to be. We want to be atop of the Big Ten, and being 7-6 is not going to get you there. We had some close games where a play here or a play there we could've closed out a game and had an 11-1 or 10-2 record. They put us in situations where they push us to the limit and see how we respond. That's what matters. When it comes down to the fourth quarter, you have to make a play and you're getting pushed to the limit and everyone's waiting to see how you respond. There's going to be adversity during the season, there's going to be a tough time. It's about how we overcome it. Maybe having some experience in those situations will help since we have a lot of guys back, and we have to have good leadership. I feel like our seniors have stepped up and are taking over the leadership role that last year's seniors left. Losing those tough games last season taught us how to win. You're thrown into the fire, you're thrown into tough situations and sometimes they don't come out the way you want but you take those and learn from it.

On sticking it out throughout last season...
The change in the attitude played a role. There was never a game where we were blown out. To know we were losing by a touchdown here or there helped us see that we're capable of winning every game. Towards the end of the year we were expecting to win. In years before teams may not have believed they could win and that's something that's changed. I know from myself and the others on the team, we're going into this year expecting to win every game.

On getting Michigan State to the top of the Big Ten...
I can't find a reason why it shouldn't be. Obviously we lost some players, but we have a lot of talent back. We have a great coaching staff and we had a pretty decent year last year under a first year caoch. We need to take that next step, win those close games and become that top tier Big Ten team. We've worked hard this summer. Last year we went through some tough situations but you sit back and learn from those situations so you don't make the same mistake twice.

On what made the program work last year ...
The players were sick of losing. With Coach Dantonio coming in, we were given the opportunity to have a fresh start. Everyone embraced what was happening - the coaching staff, the attitude that was brought in, etc. and it really helped. A lot of people say that a first-year coach has an advantage because people are trying to prove to him what they can do and their going out and playing their hardest. You see a lot of teams drop off after the first season and that wasn't the case here. People were relieved to have that fresh start and just wanted to go out play and win. Most of these players come from high schools where they are the best players and they win a lot of games. No one wants to lose. I think the coaching staff did a great job changing the mentality of this program. We just went along with it and followed our coach. We have to carry that over and keep the mentality of playing tough, competing and finishing games.

On using last year's games as motivation for this year...
Maybe not as much to think about what happened last year, but to realize that we can't let games slip away from us in the end. We have to close games, whether it's the offense going down and scoring when it needs to or the defense stopping the team at the end when we're up. You don't really think back to those games, you think back to the situations - performing in the clutch, etc. Maybe you're less apprehensive to make a play because you know your team needs you to step up and make a big play. I don't know if you think back to a certain game, but you learn from those experiences and hope that when it comes to a situation like that you know what to do.

On his relationship with running back Javon Ringer...
I think Javon and I have a great relationship, on and off the field. We spend a lot of time together. We went to Big Ten Media Day and we all had to cram into this van and spend four hours next to each other. It was myself, Javon and Justin [Kershaw]. On the way back Javon said, `I'm glad I got to spend this time with you guys since senior year is winding down.' The biggest thing people need to know about Javon is for as great of a football player as he is, he's an even better person. He's very unselfish. We get along great and I'm just happy to have him on my team because I wouldn't want to play against them.

Redshirt Freshman Quarterback Kirk Cousins

On what he can bring to the team...
I feel like I can make good decisions. I feel that I am good at managing the game and can bring good leadership to the team. I think I am hard worker and I am a play maker that can move the ball with my arms or my legs. I think that Brian brings all those too the team as well. He is a fifth year senior, a very experienced player.

On the rumors of the quarterback situation...
A lot has changed since the end of spring ball with our quarterback situation. I just view it as that I can't control what is going on around me. I know what I'm doing and I know that I am working as hard as I can. I can only control what happens with me. That means hard work and it means being ready for every team meeting and practice. That is what I'm going to do and that is my mindset. I am not going to focus on anything else. I am going to put blinders on and focus on being the best quarterback I can be for Michigan State.

On what he needs to work on...
Overall, feeling and becoming comfortable with the offense. In spring practice I made great strides there. Last year it was too new and too early to settle in. I felt like when I was on the scout team I wasn't able to really work with the offense. In spring ball I was able to make some strides and now, I really just need to settle in. I felt yesterday that I was pretty comfortable running the offense. In the next few weeks, I need to get better at managing the game.

On feeling like a pupil to Brian Hoyer...
I think Coach Warner, my quarterback coach, is my coach first and foremost I go to him, but Brian, definitely a phenomenal tool to have. I sit next to him at meetings so I can ask him as many questions as I have. He is a fifth year senior, as experienced as it gets. He started as a junior, he played a lot as a sophomore and I need to get as much out of him as I can before he leaves in the next sixth months.

Junior Fullback Andrew Hawken

On being a key player in 2008...
I know we have Jeff McPherson coming back, and he and I will split a lot of time. I am surprised that I am going to see this much time. This time last season I was still a linebacker, so it has worked out great for me and hopefully it will work out well for the team.

On keeping starting QB Brian Hoyer healthy...
We already told Hoyer that we are not going to let anyone touch him. Last year he had no problems with injury, so I think that we'll be fine. Even if he does get hurt, we have enough confidence in Kirk [Cousins] to lead our offense.

On the offensive unit as a whole...
I think that we'll be able to score. Last season we led the conference in points, but it's tough to do that two years in a row. If everyone plays well and does there job, there is no reason to think that we can't score a lot of points.

On the Spartans possibly being underrated ...
We have the potential that could make us underrated. But as coach says, there is a tendency around here that after a good season, we don't come back and play up to our potential. I would rather be underrated than have people saying how good you are. When you have people saying how good you are, you tend to get fat and lay around, but if people are disrespecting you, you want to prove them wrong. I hope we are underrated.

Sophomore Wide Receiver Mark Dell

On receiving corps as a whole...
So far I am feeling really confident in our entire receiving corps. I think we really came out to put on a show at the spring game and really made some big plays. Now, from there the only direction to go is up. Starting with the first practice yesterday everyone looks really good and really confident out there.

On replacing Devin Thomas...
We look to Deon Curry a lot. He is a veteran so will look to him a lot to provide that leadership. He's been through a lot as he has been here longer than a lot of us. We have B.J. Cunningham, the redshirt freshman, he's looking really good so far. Then you have Blair White, Chris D. Rucker and we just moved Chris L. Rucker to wide out so we'll have a lot of good options and targets in our receiving corps.

On having more targets at wide out in 2008...
I think one thing that we'll add to the team is a bunch of receivers that bring something different to the field. We won't need to focus on one receiver as each one of has a lot of different things to offer. Having that depth and not relying on one guy will help us a lot.

On team chemistry...
Building upon last year, our team chemistry is definitely heading in the right direction. Heading into this season, we have some ways to go yet, but we expect it to progress even more as a team. With that, people can expect big things from us this season.

On offense as a whole...
I think that we can expect a good, solid offense. We can pound the ball, pound the ball and then hit you over the top for a deep ball. We have a lot of receivers back this season and we have Javon Ringer at running back who is looking very good. We should have a lot of big plays this season.

Senior Right Guard Roland Martin

On having unity on the offensive line...
It is very important. The offensive line needs to be a unit that constantly works well together. We need to know how to play off of each other really well. Playing and functioning with each other will be critical to our success this season.

On impacting the success of running back Javon Ringer...
That's true, we do impact his success. He can get away from tacklers a couple of times, but not every time. We need to pave the way for him and give him a chance to run. If we do that, he can display his talent all season long. That's the life of the offensive lineman; you don't get a lot of glory. I'm fine with it though, I don't need to be on TV all the time. I enjoy my job, you have to do your part and that's the life of the offensive linemen.

On protecting Hoyer and Ringer...
It's a sense of pride that you take from protecting those guys. I know they appreciate it and they come to respect you. They are our buddies first and foremost and we want to do our job to protect them and if you protect them, then we can succeed as a team. You can take LaDanian Tomlinson, put him back there, and if we don't block for him, even he could never get away. We do have to block for them to get them some good runs.

On run- blocking vs. pass-blocking...
In my opinion, most guards like to run block. Most offensive lineman would like to run block. I like when people come after you and you can go right at them. I just like to go out there and get that body rocking.

On filling holes on the offensive line...
That's the way of the game, guys need to step up and do their part to replace those guys. We don't even need to discuss that part of the game within the program. Guys leave and we know that we need guys to step into that role and help to get the job done.

On personal expectations...
I want to come out, play fast, play smart stay healthy and execute my blocks. If I do that and fill my role on the team, I can be a great player and help the team reach the level where we want to be at the end of the season.

Junior Center Joel Nitchman

On experience level on the line and understanding the schemes...
We are definitely more experienced. Coach D has a great scheme, we just love it. We love playing in it. We can get even more detailed and have a bunch of different formations. It is hard nosed. You come off the ball and go right at them. I love all the play action and all the schemes. It is great.

On Javon Ringer...
I think he will have a few more carries this season but that is all up to the coaches. We also have backs behind him that can help alleviate the workload a lot, but I really thing that he is poised to have a great season. With all the accolades that he gets he is so humble and he is a great guy. He is truly a great teammate.

On pressure that comes with blocking for Ringer...
I think that it is added responsibility. With Javons success comes the teams success. So we are up to the challenge and ready to help the team succeed. We need to step up, if we make blocks, Javon can squeak through and make big plays for himself. Coach always says that is starts with us and we believe that too. It is a huge responsibility for us to be on our A-game.

On being a leader on the line...
I definitely expect to really become a leader this season. Whether I am helping guys learn material or helping young guy when they are struggling to maintain confidence in themselves. Whenever I can help I want to be able to lend a hand.

Sophomore wide receiver Chris L. Rucker

On how players feel about the new coaching staff...
I can tell there is a big difference. The older guys feel like things have changed for the better. I think they are heading in the right direction. I think everybody is still excited to get the season. I think everyone wants to do the best they can do.

On what he has been doing to get in shape...
I've been working out hard and making sure that I can put my body though what it needs to go through this season. I need to get myself mentally ready for the season.

On the leadership with the previous seniors leaving...
You can tell people left but there are new leaders stepping up. People are showing great leadership so it has been an easy transition.

On familiarity with Coach Dantonio...
It is better to know him more. If I was a freshmen coming in, I would be more scared but since I know him it is easier for me to do more things.

On a specific coach that stands out motivationally...
They all motivate me equally. They are all rooting for you and want you to do your best. They want you to be all that you can be.

On a specific player that helps him out...
I would have to say Otis Wiley. He is always by me telling me to do my best and telling me what to do differently if I mess up on something or what to change. He shows me how to fix things. He is just always there for me.

Sophomore tight end Charlie Gantt

On heading into the season as the projected starter ...
There is a lot of pressure, but I have some big shoes to fill. We have a young group of tight ends and I have to lead them. There are two freshmen and I am a sophomore, so I am going to have to lead them throughout the season.

On being a leader as a sophomore...
As you get older you gain more confidence and know everybody. Leadership is just something that comes, you have to take on the role and help out the team.

On what her learned from last year...
Kellen (Davis) and (Eric) Andino were good, they were great leaders and they helped me out a lot last year. I would ask them for advice in school and just life in general. I would ask them about football, and they gave some advice for this year, and how to lead the young guys. They told me that I needed to step up, since I was going to be the starting tight end. You need to tell them what to do, show them technique, routes and you have to go in everyday and get in extra work in.

On the off-season training ...
We did some extra route running, some blocking technique, all of which would be done after the team workout. We would get a quarterback or two to help us out and run some extra routes.

Junior kicker Brett Swenson

On the season outlook...
Cal will definitely be an exciting game. One, it's out there - but it's a big game to start off with and they will provide us with some good competition. I am hoping that every game that I can do well. I hope as a team we can all do well and have a strong season.

On the pressure associated with the position...
Well, there is always a little pressure. It's always in the back of your head, especially as you are just standing there waiting to see how things play out. You are always think how we are down by two, down by three, if we get into field goal range you have to be ready. It's just something that comes with the position. Coach D helps me deal with that by putting pressure on me with the kicks in practice, it helps me to stay focused and concentrate when it comes to game time.

On the drills in practice...
In practice, if I miss a kick the whole team will have to run. It puts some pressure on me, but of course I don't want all the big guys to be out there running. So when I go out there now I stay focused and I stay loose on the sideline. When it's time for me to kick I want to do well, because I want to make it and I don't want to see my team running out there for my mistake.

On his sophomore season ...
It was an alright season last year, so I am going to try and rebound from that and have a real strong junior season.

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