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Preseason Camp Update: Spartans Practice in Full Pads for First Time

Aug. 10, 2016

EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State football team practiced in full pads for the first time during preseason camp on Wednesday under sunny skies and temperatures reaching 90 degrees.

Following practice, Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio gave an update on the team to the media.

"First day of pads, hot day today, so we got some work done out here," said Dantonio. "First thing we have got to do is learn to carry our pads again. I don't think there is any question about that. But, it is a starting point. We are repping everybody out here, so ones, twos, threes, our frosh, we have good numbers and we are moving forward."

In addition, eight Spartan freshmen spoke to reporters after practice: offensive lineman Matt Allen, linebacker Joe Bachie, wide receiver Cam Chambers, wide receiver Donnie Corley, quarterback Messiah deWeaver, defensive end Josh King, defensive tackle Mike Panasiuk, and linebacker Brandon Randle.

QUOTABLE

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio

 

 

On the challenges of trying to work in the freshmen...
"I think the challenge for every freshman is to play hard every single play because they can play well at the point of attack and they can play well when the ball is coming to them, but from a pursuit angle on defense or doing the little things on offense or playing through the whistle -- those are the most difficult things on a consistent basis. That is the case every year when you get freshmen. There are certain players that can play early. Skilled position players usually can play faster than offensive and defensive lineman. Nevertheless, you have those opportunities. It is their opportunities out there as you move through summer camp to learn that trade and be able to put that principle into effect."

On what he has seen from graduate transfers DT Kevin Williams and DE Gabe Sherrod...
"Kevin is out here and was in shells today because he was out for one day. He had to make that change to shells. But, explosive, powerful, he has good technique. I think he is going to play for us. I was impressed with him. Gabe -- a little too early to see. He looks athletic. Again, we have got numbers, so we have got to get guys reps. Really until we get to Saturday and see how they play in game situations as best as we can, I guess you can wait and see."

On if he has seen the benefit of WRs Donnie Corley and Cam Chambers being here in the spring...
"A lot of retention. Those guys make plays. I think they have had a good camp thus far. All four of those freshman receivers are talented guys and you can see that."

On if there are any positions other than wide receiver in which he sees a true freshman getting playing time...
"Too early to tell because it is consistency. (DT Mike) Panasiuk has done some good things so far. It is all about opportunity, too. Who is coming back and what are the numbers like at that particular position? Certainly, at wide receiver we lost some guys, so those guys have a little bit more of opportunity than, let's say, at linebacker. But, we have got good players and a good freshman class."

On the progress since the spring game...
"Too early to tell because the spring game is at the end of spring and that sort of culminates the end of all of the practices and this the first practice in pads, so a little hard to tell that. But, our guys come to work and they are working hard. Like I said, we have numbers out here, so we have been able to get a lot of team work done."

On if he is seeing K Michael Geiger's extra work in the spring demonstrated in camp...
"Yeah and you know, we have four kickers, so we will kick every day. We will go two one day and two the other and give those guys a day off in between. We have four kickers and I have sort of been impressed with all of them. Geiger has kicked well in the time that he has had the opportunities. Which again, we are in our fifth practice, so he has kicked a couple of times."

On if he sees an increased energy when the team puts the pads on...
"The reality of everything is, when you get to the fifth day, it feels like they have been here for three weeks and you are in your first day of pads. That is a part of this process. Because our practices are long and you try to get a lot of different things done in those practices and they really are never standing still. There is not a lot of walkthroughs. It is a lot of drill repetition and then group work and then taking it to (pass-skelly) or inside drill and then team. We get a lot of work and then there is film and different things going on outside of the practice field. It is a process. That is the best I can say."

On if having multiple players from Chicago (in the freshman class) that know each other helps...
"Yeah, I think every transition, when you know people a little bit, it is easier to transition as a group than individually. But again, that is part of the process. These guys have been here since July, so they know everybody already. Our players have always been very accepting of everybody."

On WR Trishton Jackson picking up the offense so quickly...
"Trishton is doing a nice job. Reminds me a lot of Keshawn Martin, who, Keshawn played for us as a true freshman. I think it was because (Jackson) was a quarterback. (Jackson's high school coach) Ron Bellamy down there did a nice job with him. But, I also think just the position he played - and then he played some wide out - but, he had to know a lot of pass concepts and had to have a pretty good feeling for the overall offense and I think that helps a young player when they transition to college."

On if he has any time to watch the Olympics...
"Yeah, I was watching the Olympics the other day. I was watching swimming."

On what his favorite event in the Olympics is...
"My favorite event would probably be track and field. I am waiting for that one. I like swimming. Not that I don't like swimming for all of the swimmers out there."

On when he has time to watch...
"I sort of watch it maybe at lunch for 10 minutes and then when I get home at 10:30 or so I put it on for a minute or so. But, I think they have done a great job. I think the USA has been very well represented so far in the Olympics."

On what he is pleased with so far in camp...
"For us, it has always been about how you are doing things. Do they retain how we are doing the process? Do they retain offenses and defenses? Not only that, it is how they get from drill to drill. Do they retain the ability to move in and out of the different situations on the field? And we are trying to work them all. We did goal line today. We worked third down today. We were third and short today. We worked base stuff today. So, we are trying to hit it all. We worked two-minute on the first day of camp. That is unusual, but our players have a good grasp on things and we force the issue with them. That is how we have been able to do it here."

On what DT Mike Panasiuk is showing so far...
"He is a powerful guy. He can lock you out. It is too early to tell, but I think our defensive front, our young players in our defensive front look impressive. Stature-wise they are very impressive. And they work. When you work and you have those God-given abilities, then usually good things follow."

FRESHMEN

OL Matt Allen

On what he has learned from his brothers (Jack and Brian)...
"Actually, I have learned a lot of things from them over the years. I learned about toughness, hardwork and certain o-line plays and stuff like that and things I couldn't learn from anybody else as well as I did from them."

On having some of the `ultimate warrior' in him like his brother Jack had...
"I would like to say that I have some of that in me, but I can't say that yet. I can't be too positive about that right now."

On what his brother told him about this experience that he didn't know...
"For first off, he was talking about how many plays there are on the first day and when you don't know them right away, don't get down on yourself, just keep going and forget about the last play and move on to the next. I have always tried to do that now since he has told me that and it has been helpful."

LB Joe Bachie

On how much time he spends watching film and prepping for game one...
"I am more worried about the little things right now. My first step, what I can do when I read the center. I am sitting in there with Riley (Bullough) and we are watching it just trying to get better as a person and not even waiting for game one yet. I am getting better out here on the practice field right now."

On the transition from high school to college...
"It is a long day. We are going to come in two hours before practice and get taped and watch film and go over everything. You never did that in high school. You love football and this is stuff you love to do every day. That is a big adjustment. You have to be here all day and you have to be focused. Camp is a lot different, but I enjoy it."

On what it is like working with the veteran guys on the defense...
"It is awesome because they bring the energy. To look up to them, you feed off of it every day. You follow them because they are the leaders of the defense. Hopefully in a couple of years I can be that guy."

On what he is learning now that will carry with him throughout the season...
"Just fly around. That is what we preach. Fly around everywhere. No loafs. That just builds. It builds a whole defense. That is what makes a good defense."

On the motto right now is to get the defense how it has been in years past...
"Chemistry. That is what we talk about every time. Back to back and the only way we are going to do that is if we build chemistry. So, we are focusing on that. We are all coming together nice. The defense is coming together nice, the offense is coming together nice, so I am excited for the year."

WR Donnie Corley

On how comfortable he feels playing on both sides of the ball...
"I am very comfortable. Like I said, coaches and their program and the way the run things, they are very good at how they run things. If you do what they say, you will be good on both sides."

On what the wide receiver competition is like amongst the players...
"There is no competition, for real. We all help each other out. After this right now, we will probably go in the meeting room and watch some film with each other. If somebody doesn't know something or I don't know something, they are going to help me out. It is trying to build each other up. If I am about to work out, I am going to tell all of those guys so we can all get better. It is a team thing."

On what he has learned from WR R.J. Shelton...
"I have learned a lot from him. Just from his work ethic. When we were in winter conditioning, he was coming in first in all of the drills and was a nonstop working. So, I tried to shadow him a little bit and I got better. And he is trying to teach me things about routes. He is an amazing player."

On if he feels pressure to live up to his press clippings...
"There is no pressure and expectations and stuff. Just go out there and do what the coach tells you to do and work hard and you will be successful."

On what he has seen out of WR Cam Chambers...
"He is very strong. He's like our big play receiver. He is a go up and get the ball kind of guy. He can get off of you. He is very physical. He is not going to run out of bounds. He is going to lower his shoulder and get some extra yards. He is a great player, too."

On WR Trishton Jackson...
"He has picked up the offense fast. We have thrown him into different positions and he has made plays here and there. He is going to be a great player for us."

On how the first five days have gone...
"Spring practices helped me out. It is the same speed. I'm just trying to take care of my body and get in the ice tub and get better. That is pretty much about it."

On what he thinks he is doing best right now and where he can get better...
"I think going out there and giving it my all, I can make a lot of plays doing that. You need to get better at everything, it is not just one thing, so I am going to try and work on everything."

WR Cam Chambers

On preparing for this season...
"I have been preparing since the day I committed to Michigan State. I know this is where I wanted to come. I knew I wanted to come in and play freshman year. That was my mindset coming in. I have been very motivated and doing everything I can possible to prepare myself to play this year and get ready to go."

On his approach to the wide receiver competition...
"For me personally, I am taking the knowledge and things I learned in the spring and just trying to apply them now along with the things I worked on over the summer and in the offseason to get ready for now. I am focusing on getting better with myself and just improving. That is what my main focus is on and just doing whatever (wide receivers coach Terrence Samuel) asks me to do."

QB Messiah deWeaver

On where he is at physically...
"I feel a little stronger. In the weight room with (Head Strength & Conditioning) Coach (Ken) Mannie and the weight staff, they have one of the best strength coaches in the country, so we have just been working really hard in there and conditioning in the summer time, I got better on that. And just eating the right thing because of our nutrition staff. I have gotten a little bit bigger and I like where my body is at right now."

On if he feels the benefits of being on campus since January...
"Yeah, definitely. When you see guys in your own class that came in and are struggling with the playbook when they first get here, I know exactly how they feel, so I am comforting them and stuff like that. There was a real big benefit to coming in January and I am so happy that I did that."

On how the first five days have been...
"It has been better in the offense. I am more comfortable in the offense and things like that. It is a grind, but I am happy I came early and got 15 practices in (during the spring). Right now, I am just a little more comfortable with where I am at."

On if former MSU QBs in the NFL impacted his decision to come to Michigan State...
"Yeah, it really is five now. That was a big part, with Drew Stanton and Kirk Cousins making big impacts last year. And then coach Dantonio was a big part too. But, that is definitely a big part of why I came."

On how Mark Dantonio approached him in recruiting...
"He was a calm, cool, collective guy who is about business. I just loved the place and his personality and things like that really inspired me and that is where I wanted to be."

DE Josh King

On the one thing he feels like he has to get down to get playing time...
"There is always room for improvement in whatever you are doing. For me, it is getting in and learning the system and getting way better acclimated. The sooner I get through that, the sooner I can get on the field."

On the adjustment to having players bigger and older than him on the field...
"I wouldn't say it was surprising. Even coming in for recruiting, I was talking to them and around them a lot. They were always nice to me and friendly. I didn't come up here and expect them not to help me. They help me out a lot. They even text up and say, `Hey let's watch some film.' It is just something I really, really appreciate."

DT Mike Panasiuk

On what he learned today...
"We learn new stuff every day. We learned a lot about the run and different tricks and stunts and stuff like that, so we learn new stuff every day."

On if he has received any feedback from Coach Dantonio yet...
"(Defensive Line Coach Ron Burton) and I are always looking what to improve on in the defensive meeting rooms, so he is always telling me what to do and what not to do and stuff like that. He is always telling me good things and bad things."

On how he feels on his conditioning...
"It is definitely a lot harder than high school and you are always going and going and going against bigger and stronger guys. So today, it was pretty hot outside, so the conditioning I just have to keep it up, keep going and keep grinding."

On how tough it is for interior lineman to compete right away as a freshman...
"It is definitely banging heads every play, no matter if you have your knee pads on or not, you are banging heads with offensive linemen. It is harder with the interior linemen because it is all about strength and technique. Coming in, not a lot of people have great technique. Usually when you get to college, it is all about strength coming out of high school, but now when you get here it is all about technique, so it is definitely something different."

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