Aug. 5, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Under partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low-80s, sixth-year Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio sent his team through a 2-hour and 40-minute workout in helmets, jerseys and shorts on the grass practice fields behind the Duffy Daugherty Football Building on Sunday, Aug. 5, as the Spartans completed their second of 29 scheduled preseason practices.
"We had another good practice today," Dantonio said. "We've got numbers at every position, so everybody is getting reps, but the most impressive thing has been the way the guys have worked. We have a variety of drills going on all at once, and the guys have maintained a good tempo. When the guys come off the field, they're all tired and that's a good thing.
"Things will start getting a little more interesting tomorrow (as the team practices in shells for the first time). We've got to maintain our discipline as the players begin contact. We certainly look forward to seeing how the freshmen move when carrying their pads."
Despite having just 13 seniors listed on Michigan State's 105-man preseason roster, Dantonio has been pleased with the leadership exhibited over the first two practices.
"We have a relatively small senior class, but a very large junior class (22 on preseason roster) that will pay dividends down the road. Thus far, both classes (juniors and seniors) have done a nice job of providing leadership. We'll find out more about those classes when they have to lead during the tough times."
Senior outside linebacker Chris Norman, who finished fourth on the team in tackles (76) in 2011, also likes what he's seen from his teammates over the first two practices.
"I'm very pleased because my guys are out here having fun on the practice field," Norman said. "Preseason camp can become a grind if you don't have the right attitude and work ethic. The guys aren't afraid to work, and they're having fun doing through the various drills.
"I'm proud of the job the freshmen have done so far. Nobody is out there making critical errors. They're out there learning, and they're learning fast. We'll see steady improvement from that group over the next four weeks.
"I've been here for four years now and I know the first day in pads is always the most exciting day of preseason camp. So we have two days in shells ahead of us, then the fun really begins."
Michigan State will conduct its annual Media Day on Monday, Aug. 6 followed by its first practice in shells. After one more day in shells, the Spartans will don full pads for the first time on Wednesday, Aug. 8.
Michigan State, ranked No. 13 in the Preseason USA TODAY Coaches' Poll, opens the 2012 season and home schedule against No. 22 Boise State on Friday, Aug. 31, with kickoff set for 8 p.m. on ESPN.