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Football Media Day: Offense

LJ Scott poses for the camera during Michigan State's media day on Monday.
Aug. 8, 2016

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State held its annual media day Monday afternoon in the Izzo Family Media Center inside Spartan Stadium.

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

Junior offensive lineman Brian Allen

On what he would say about the Michigan State offensive line…
I would say like everyone says, we are an unproven group who has not played together, but at the same time, we are a group that is going to work just as hard if not harder than group before us and we are going to play football as an entire group, just like last year’s group. I am not accepting a drop off or anything like that. We have guys that are trying to make this team better.

On stepping into the leadership role…
It is a different position for me because we have had great leaders. My role has not always been as strong because I could look up to those guys, but they are gone now. The new guys have to step into their shoes and accept those roles. It is the time of adjustment phase of stepping in there and getting used to it, but I am embracing it right now, being an older guy and I’ve never been that guy in the room. Now, I can help the younger guys and lead the offensive line.

Senior running back Gerald Holmes

On how much the running back corps is looking to step up now that former QB Connor Cook has graduated…

We are looking to have a way bigger role this year. We all have years under our belt and experience playing. We’re going to have a bigger role this year and have to make some plays to help accomplish things.

On the challenges of having so many good running backs…
It is kind of hard because you could be on a role and maybe the coach has a different view on something and will take you out or one guy might be in longer, so it can be hard in that aspect. But, it is good because we are all fresh and you can’t key in on one running back.

 

 

On what he did this summer to put himself in position to be the starter…
I just tried to get in shape and get my body right and eat healthy. I had to know my ability and increase that from last year. You can’t redo too much until we get into practice. Now is when the real work comes in and we will see what guys can do.

On if the running backs will take the next step as a group…
Yeah, those big runs come from having a perfect unit and the whole offense doing their job. Just one running back or just one lineman can’t get the job done. On those big runs, it is mainly the whole crew. That is what we are working towards now to make sure everybody can get that done.

Senior offensive lineman Kodi Kieler

On how the depth at offensive line makes practice more competitive…
I wouldn’t say it is pushing, just them helping me get better. Like today, in one team period, I played left tackle, I played right tackle and I played center. We are just throwing everyone around everywhere and seeing where everyone fits best right now. I wouldn’t say it is competing, it is more just trying to see who fits where.

On how much playing center will prepare him for the next level…
Playing wise, I don’t know if it is like that. It is more of we want someone out there who is comfortable playing. Someone that is not going to be too emotional during a game. With Jack Allen, his head was always level. If you ever had a question to ask anyone, the center needs to know what everyone does at every positon. With me, I have been bouncing around everywhere, so I know each position and what to do there, so I think that is the biggest thing about me playing there.

Senior tight end Jamal Lyles

Goals for the season…
My goal is for the team to repeat as Big Ten champions and all the seniors have a great senior year. That is a personal goal I set very high.

On the outlook of this season…
I am very excited to start, it’s a new opportunity each year. I am just excited to show what this year’s players can do.

From the first training camp to this one…
My first training camp I really did not know where practice zone was, which side of the field we practiced on, the different drills, the numbering on the field, I was pretty much lost. As a senior you know you can just focus on more of your technique and you know the things from the previous years that you need to get better. You just know yourself more as a player when you get older.

Senior wide receiver Matt Macksood

On head coach Mark Dantonio…
I will tell you a story that people do not think about him, everyone gives him a rap he is a hard tough coach, which he is, do not get me wrong, he is not soft by any means, but he really and truly cares about his players and he will do whatever it takes for any of us. Whether that is helping us network with people or whether it is keeping us safe. We can call and talk to him anytime. I think that people see his scowl when he is up there at a press conference they do not really understand. We like to keep a lot of things in the bubble and he is constantly telling us he is trying to keep us safe, he is trying to do everything for us and whatever we need we can ask him for, so I think that is a big thing for me. To see a coach who is not just all about football, he has a big faith life which is big for me coming from a Christian school. He is always trying to explore different faith lives, pray after practice, just the little things like that that I think a lot of coaches take for granted.

Senior wide receiver Monty Madaris

On the team chemistry…
Our receiver group is a good group of guys. We are all together and that has been our whole thing since my freshman year. The chemistry in our room is really great.

Senior offensive lineman Benny McGowan

On the closeness of the offensive line group…
I completely agree and I obviously do not listen to what other people have to say, because to me we are a great group of guys. Being in that room it is such a close group of guys and we are easily the closest group on the team. We are always in there just hanging out, especially during camp, when we have nowhere else to be besides the film room. I think we are all learning. We have some good experience coming back but we also have a lot of new guys that are good and have some experience and I think we will have a great O-line this year.

Senior quarterback Tyler O’Connor

On the prospect of being the starting quarterback and the attention it brings…

It is very exciting and different. But this is what I have been working for and want. I have no other way to go about it or no other way to expect it. I am in my senior year, and I will go into it with nothing to lose and that it is my job. My knowledge of the game is very high, not just around here but around the country, I feel that way. I feel like I can make plays with my feet, not that other guys can’t, but I am open to hits and to the quarterback run game in order to make plays in general.

On the confidence gained from beating Ohio State last season…
There is no doubt it provides confidence. Before that game I had that confidence though, and we all had all the confidence in the world that we were going to win that game. Knowing we went out and did it against a great defense with a lot of now NFL players, though, provides confidence that we can go out and do it against anybody. We just have to focus and put in that hard work, and we have to believe that we can do it because that is what we did that game.

On if the starting job is his to lose…
I think it is a mindset that every quarterback has to have at this point. Personally, yes I do (feel that it is my job to lose). I feel that if I continue to do things right, then I will be playing as much as I want to play. That is the plan. We really look at it as competitions against ourselves though and not against each other. We view it as getting better than you were the day before, which is how we say it in our room. That is our main focus. If I have to compete against myself and get better every day, then I think it will be mine.

On spring practice compared to fall camp…
It is a different atmosphere for sure. It is easy to go out there in the spring. There is not as much pressure and you are not preparing for a team. It is a different mindset. We know that this is real. We have the same guys out there though with the same core guys with the same beliefs.

Sophomore running back LJ Scott

On learning things from each other…
Oh definitely, like for example if Gerald (Holmes) was running and missed the hole, we will go back and say, ‘hey, you missed this, you could have hit that hole here.’ Like I said we look after each other, try to support each other throughout the day.

Are you all different runners…
Yeah we are definitely different. I would consider myself a power runner and Gerald is also a power runner slash speed runner - he can break a lot of tackles. Madre he has speed. We all have our own little different categories.

On the team comradery…
It is exciting for sure because we know we have high expectations this season. We want to go back-to-back - that is what we have our goals set on.

Senior wide receiver R.J. Shelton

On what goals he has for the season…
I have some goals that I would like to keep to myself, but obviously the big goal is back-to-back (Big Ten titles). We want to get back to Indy and win another championship. It hasn’t been done in 50 years and that is our goal. You probably heard that statement early from coach Dantonio and that is what we are striving for.

On how things in practice have been going…
I think the consistency of this offense and the playmakers we have at every position, guys are gelling together. Obviously it is only four practices in, but we are just happy to be playing again. We are just excited about the season. We have high goals for ourselves and we are just coming to work every day.

On what excites him about this year…
It is the last (season) putting on the Green and White. As a senior, I have been here for three and a half years going on four and I have had some great times here. I’m just trying to make it better for me going out and trying to keeping this program where it needs to be at the top of the college football rankings.

Senior Running Back Delton Williams

On his ability to play multiple positions…
It gives me an extra step. But right now the thing is, if anything happens, if they need me at fullback or running back, I can be there.

On the adversity that he has faced…
On my high and lows I stay close to my faith. Every time I go home - and I am there for two weeks - I make sure I go to church at least one of those Sundays to make sure I show my faith and get my blessing and just keep myself up so I do not get down too much on myself. I think about the position I was in and the position I am in now. I will never get too down on myself because when you do that you start to forget who you are. I am the same person, I did not change one bit. I just matured and got better on and off the field.

On the importance of second chances…
I value a lot more things than I did back then. Back then I was just a younger guy, running around. But now I know, with me being a senior, I need to tell my story and touch the people around me so they do not get put in a situation that I was in and to help them out and not to give up. Giving up is never an option.

More on the adversity….
You are going to fall, it all depends on how you come back from it. How you how you approach your second chance, you fall and how fast you get back up or how do you get back up. Never get down on yourself to the point that you cannot get back up. When you give up on yourself, who is going to believe in you? You have to start with yourself first. Look at like what Coach D says, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and evaluate yourself first before you get to call someone else. If I call Gerald out on a play or Madre or LJ, I cannot do that unless I am doing it right. You cannot be a leader unless you lead by example.

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