Preseason Camp Updates
Follow the Spartans as they prepare for their season opener Sept. 4 against Western Michigan.
The 2010 Michigan State Spartan Football Team.
Thursday, Aug. 26
Well, that's a wrap.
The Michigan State football team concluded its 2010 preseason camp Thursday afternoon with a team photo in the morning and a rehearsal scrimmage in the afternoon.
Following the final practice of camp, head coach Mark Dantonio announced the team captains for the season, which were voted on by the players. Junior quarterback Kirk Cousins and senior linebacker Greg Jones each had their names called to be captains for the second straight season, while senior Aaron Bates became the first punter in 114 seasons of Michigan State football to be named captain.
"It's such a huge honor," Bates said. "Just to know you have that kind of respect from your teammates is such a big deal. After Coach D told Kirk, Greg and I that we were the captains, we had to address the team. So Kirk and Greg talked, and they've been there before, no big deal, (but when) I started to talk, I couldn't get anything out. Tears were coming down my face, and I'm not much of an emotional guy. People were kind of surprised by that, but that's how much it meant to me."
Listen to reaction from all three captains in the Spartan Sports Podcast.
The Spartans will take two days off before reporting back to campus on Sunday night to prepare for their season opener against Western Michigan on Sept. 4 in Spartan Stadium.
Tuesday, Aug. 24
After reporting to campus back on Sunday, Aug. 8, the Spartans are down to their final days of preseason camp this week.
On Tuesday, the team went through nearly a three-hour practice on both the Duffy Daugherty outdoor practice fields and inside Spartan Stadium. The Spartans wrap camp up on Thursday with a team photo in the morning, a rehearsal scrimmage in the afternoon, and a team meeting at night.
As busy as the team has been on the field during the day, the evenings have been a little more social. The Spartans conducted a team bowling tournament on Sunday night, met with the Downtown Coaches Club and Spartan Marching Band at a cookout Monday night, and concluded the team cornhole tournament Tuesday night.
For the dealings on what's been going on at practice, Coach Dantonio met with the media on Tuesday to give an update on the team. Dantonio talked about the battle at placekicker, the running game, and freshman William Gholston's move to defensive end. Listen to the entire podcast here.
And for those fans who haven't voted yet for their favorite Spartan running backs of all-time, voting for this year's "Fans Top 10" segment on the TV show "Spartan Football All-Access" closes Wednesday at noon on msupartans.com. Results will be counted down from No. 10 to No. 1 on each week's episode of "Spartan Football All-Access", Michigan State's weekly television show devoted to the football program.
"Spartan Football All-Access" can seen on FOX Sports Detroit and the Big Ten Network throughout the 2010 season.
To vote, click here.
Saturday, Aug. 21
Larry Caper carries the ball in Saturday's scrimmage. He led all running backs with 36 yards on nine carries (4.0 avg.).
The Spartans conducted their second scrimmage of preseason camp on Saturday afternoon inside Spartan Stadium. Utilizing a modified scoring system, the defense retained the Green (home) jerseys by winning the second preseason scrimmage, 45-32.
"It was a physical scrimmage, but the day belonged to the defense," said head coach Mark Dantonio. "Defensively, we pressured the quarterback, played the ball well in the secondary and made stops on third down.
"Offensively, we didn't commit any turnovers, so that's a positive. We also ran the ball with toughness this afternoon and that's important. We'll continue to focus on cleaning up the unforced penalties.
"Overall, I'm pleased because we were able to get work for the first, second and third team. So everybody was involved, and we came out of the scrimmage without any significant injuries. We have another week of preseason camp to go before turning our complete attention over to our first opponent, Western Michigan."
For a recap of the scrimmage, including stat leaders, check out the story on msuspartans.com.
SPARTAN FOOTBALL ALL-ACCESS: The "Spartan Football All-Access" season preview show, produced by Fox Sports Detroit, will debut Sunday, Aug. 22 at 9 a.m. and repeat at 9 p.m. The show features interviews with head coach Mark Dantonio and several Spartan players, including Greg Jones and Kirk Cousins. During the regular season, "Spartan Football All-Access" will debut on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on FS Detroit.
Friday, Aug. 20
In another attempt to break things up at preseason camp, Coach Dantonio declared in the team's morning meeting that it was "Fun Friday."
Rather than wearing traditional camp "name tags" - which consist of last names written in black marker on a piece of tape, stuck to either the front of a helmet or shirt - players and coaches altered their names to nicknames or "power animals."
Coach D walked on the practice field as "Mr. Wolf."
But he wasn't the only one embracing "Fun Friday."
And last but not least, Andrew Maxwell's, which barely fit: "Insert mid-90s journeyman quarterback here."
On the field, it was another round of two-a-days in preparation for Saturday's scrimmage. The Spartans held a morning practice before the heat of up to 88 degrees rolled into the afternoon practice.
Thursday, Aug. 19
FAU's Howard Schnellenberger & MSU's Mark Dantonio share a laugh during Thursday's press conference at Ford Field.
The Spartans took a welcome break away from the outdoor practice fields at the Duffy Daugherty Football Building on Thursday as they practiced for two hours inside Ford Field in preparation for their Sept. 11 matchup against Florida Atlantic in downtown Detroit.
Coach Mark Dantonio said on Wednesday he wanted the team to get acclimated to the indoor facility and the background in terms of practicing kicks, catching passes and fielding punts.
Playing inside on field turf will certainly be a different atmosphere than when the two teams met in a torrential downpour in their first-ever meeting on Sept. 13, 2008, at Spartan Stadium. That contest featured six fumbles, four turnovers and just 13 complete passes combined as both teams battled a deluge all afternoon. Led by All-American Javon Ringer's career-high 282 rushing yards, the Spartans shut out the Owls, 17-0.
This time around, the Spartans are relishing their chance to play "In the D", as the 2010 roster features 27 players from the Metro Detroit area. Seven of them - Edwin Baker (Oak Park), Mark Dell (Farmington Hills), Joel Foreman (Milford), Charlie Gantt (Farmington Hills), Keshawn Martin (Inkster), Chris Norman (Detroit) and John Stipek (Macomb Township) - met with reporters before practice to talk about playing in their hometown in front of their friends and family.
"It's not technically our home game, but it's good to play in state and have an opportunity to play in Ford Field," said Foreman. "It's a great venue, and just to have our fans from Michigan State be able to come, it's kind of a home away from home for us, so we're pretty excited."
"I know my family is going to be down here, because they keep calling me for tickets," said Martin. "It's going to be fun with our friends and family here."
If the change of scenery wasn't enough for the Spartans to break things up a little during preseason camp, the music also helped on Thursday, as Motown music blasted on the speakers throughout most of practice. At one point while taking a breather on the sidelines, Kirk Cousins sang and danced to "My Girl", while Nick Hill also belted out the lyrics.
"The fact that we're playing down here gives us an opportunity for more media and more people to see us in really a different site," said Dantonio. "It's really why we came down here to practice today too. We just wanted to break the cycle and provide a different environment for our players to play in."
MSU will be back in East Lansing for Friday's practices, as alternating two-a-day workouts continue.
MORE PRESEASON HONORS: CBSSports.com and SI.com released their preseason All-Big Ten teams today. Linebacker Greg Jones and kick returner Keshawn Martin were named to the CBSSports.com team, while punter Aaron Bates joined Jones and Martin on the SI.com team. In addition, linebacker William Gholston was selected as the league's top impact freshman in SI.com's Big Ten Report.
BIG TEN NETWORK FOOTBALL PREVIEW: The Big Ten Network's "Big Ten Football Preview" 60-minute special on Michigan State will debut Friday, Aug. 20 at 8 p.m. ET.
The "Big Ten Football Preview" - hosted by Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith - provides on-the-field analysis of each team's top newcomers, rising stars, important position battles and 2010 schedule. The show gives an inside look at last Saturday's Spartan practice and also includes interviews with head coach Mark Dantonio, quarterback Kirk Cousins, wide receiver Mark Dell and linebacker Greg Jones.
For all of the latest updates on the Spartan football team, follow Michigan State official Twitter page at www.twitter.com/msu_football.
Dan Conroy practices a field goal at Ford Field during Thursday's practice.
Wednesday, Aug. 18
On the 11th consecutive day of preseason camp, head coach Mark Dantonio began his morning staff meeting with a little motivation.
"The first thing I said to our guys was, `We're halfway across that river,'" Dantonio remarked in his opening statement to the media on Wednesday prior to practice. "We're at practice No. 12, and we're right in the middle of it (preseason camp). Sometimes you have to look forward and see the light at the end of the tunnel."
Dantonio also gave his thoughts on Monday's scrimmage and how the players are handling the dog days of camp.
The Spartans will mix things up on Thursday as they head to downtown Detroit to practice in Ford Field. With the Spartans scheduled to take on Florida Atlantic Sept. 11 at the Lions' home facility, Dantonio wanted his players to get acclimated to the indoor stadium while also having a chance to promote the "Spartans in the D" event. Before Thursday's practice, Dantonio and FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger, who led Miami, Fla., to its first national title in 1983, will hold a press conference with the Detroit media.
"I think it gives us a chance to go down there, and really, as much as anything, catch the ball in the stadium, field punts, field kicks, and kick in the stadium," said Dantonio. "We just thought we would take advantage of the opportunity, given we're this close. And for our players, I think we need a change of scenery too. It gives us a chance to do something just a little different to sort of break things up."
For tickets to "Spartans in the D", please visit ticketmaster.com.
Following Wednesday's first practice, several players met with the media, including freshman linebacker William Gholston. Gholston and fellow freshman Max Bullough also spoke with ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg; check out the feature here.
In other news, Michigan State announced that 10 new members will be inducted in the MSU Athletics Hall of Fame this fall, including four former football players: Ed Budde, Steve Garvey, Percy Snow and Lorenzo White.
Tuesday, Aug. 17
The eighth-annual "Meet the Spartans" hit the streets of downtown East Lansing for the first time in the event's history Tuesday night, and the fans came out in force.
A crowd in excess of 3,000 attended the free event, which gives fans a chance to meet the 2010 Spartans and receive autographs from the players and head coach Mark Dantonio. The team signed autographs and took pictures with fans for more than two hours.
"I talked to our players about how important they are in the community," said head coach Mark Dantonio. "It was great we could put a smile on people's faces. I think our players had as good of a time as the people that came out. I want to thank all of the people that came out and supported us."
Earlier in the day, the Spartans conducted their 10th practice of preseason camp. The team will continue two-a-day workouts on Wednesday, with practices scheduled for 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
MORE PRESEASON WATCH LISTS: All-American Greg Jones joined six other Big Ten players on the 2010 Butkus Award Watch List (nation's top linebacker), which was released on Tuesday, while Keshawn Martin was named to the Watch List for the inaugural Paul Hornung Award, presented to the nation's most versatile player. Martin led the Spartans and ranked third in the Big Ten in 2009 with 1,451 all-purpose yards.
EARLY RISERS, TUNE IN: The "Bakita & Grey Show" on WBBL Radio (107.3 FM) in Grand Rapids will broadcast live from Spartan Stadium Wednesday from 6-9 a.m. The show will feature interviews with Kirk Cousins, Keith Nichol, Greg Jones, Larry Caper, Eric Gordon, Trenton Robinson and head coach Mark Dantonio. To listen to the show online, click here.
For all of the latest updates on the Spartan football team, follow Michigan State official Twitter page at www.twitter.com/msu_football.
Fans filled the streets of downtown East Lansing Tuesday night for the "Meet the Spartans" event.
Monday, Aug. 16
Coach Dantonio after Monday's scrimmage: "We've got a chance to become a real good football team."
After a week of preseason camp packed with conditioning tests, meetings, and drills, the first scrimmage on the hot August calendar is like a refreshing Gatorade in the middle of a muggy practice.
Although there is much work to be done, it's always nice to compete, head-to-head, offense vs. defense. On Monday, the Spartans held their first jersey scrimmage of camp, with the defense edging out the offense, 95-89.
But Jones wasn't the only one making plays in the victory for the defense. Fellow linebacker Chris Norman, playing the newly named star position, racked up 11 tackles, while nose tackle Kevin Pickelman, defensive end Denzel Drone and cornerback Johnny Adams each had seven tackles.
The offense wasn't exactly shut out, as Kirk Cousins threw for 306 yards and three touchdowns on 26-of-42 passes. He connected on two touchdowns with B.J. Cunningham (11 yards and 4 yards), and also hit Le'Veon Bell for an 11-yard TD.
Keshawn Martin hauled in a team-best eight catches for 83 yards and Bell paced the ground game with 50 yards on 12 carries, including a 10-yard touchdown run.
"It was a productive day," said head coach Mark Dantonio. "The guys played hard all day and really competed. We're pleased with the progress we've been able to make in the first nine practices of preseason camp. We've got a chance to become a real good football team. We just can't beat ourselves."
For Dantonio's complete comments after practice, check out the full scrimmage recap and stat leaders at msuspartans.com.
DOUBLE MACKEY: The John Mackey Award, presented to the nation's top tight end, released its watch list today, and Michigan State is the only school in the nation to have two tight ends represented. Both senior Charlie Gantt and junior Brian Linthicum made the list. The Spartans feature four tight ends with playing experience (Gantt, Linthicum, Garrett Celek and Dion Sims) in the 2010 lineup; the unit combined for 56 receptions, 780 receiving yards and eight touchdowns last season.
MEET THE SPARTANS: The eighth-annual "Meet the Spartans" is set for Tuesday (Aug. 17) from 5:30-7 p.m. in downtown East Lansing. Fourth-year MSU head coach Mark Dantonio and members of the 2010 football team will be available for autographs and pictures under tents positioned on the corners of Albert and MAC Avenues.
Larry Caper carries the ball on Monday during the team's scrimmage.
Saturday, Aug. 14
With the Big Ten Network in attendance, two-a-days opened for the Michigan State football team on Saturday. In the morning, the Spartans went in full pads, while for the afternoon practice they donned shells.
The Big Ten Network was on hand for the afternoon session to tape a 60-minute "Big Ten Football Preview" special on Michigan State, which will debut on Friday, Aug. 20 at 8 p.m. EDT.
For a complete recap of practice, including video, podcasts and interviews with Big Ten Network analysts Gerry DiNardo and Howard Griffith, please click here.
For photos of Saturday's practice, check out MSU Athletics' official Facebook page.
Dave Revsine of the Big Ten Network was also at practice and shared his thoughts on his Twitter page.
The team will practice once on Sunday before gearing up for Monday's scrimmage in Spartan Stadium.
The cast of Big Ten Tonight interviews Greg Jones before Saturday's second practice. The Michigan State edition of the "Big Ten Football Preview" will debut on Friday, Aug. 20 at 8 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 13
On one of the hottest days of the summer in Mid-Michigan, it was only fitting that the Spartans held their first practice of the season in full pads. Temperatures reached the mid-80s, and it was once again impossible to escape the humidity suffocating the area all week.
All told, the workout lasted nearly three hours in the scorching afternoon sun. But progress was made on one of the most anticipated days in preseason camp.
"Even though they looked like flowers when you don't get rain on them after awhile at the end of practice - it was very hot out there, very humid - we never had anybody cramp up, we went a lot of live plays, nobody's hurt, and I saw good things on both sides of the ball, which I think is important," said head coach Mark Dantonio at his post-practice media briefing.
Earlier in the week, Dantonio claimed the first day in pads is bigger for the coaches than the first actual practice.
"The first day of pads you start playing football and start figuring who can play for you a little bit more," said coach.
The same can be said for the players, who have waited all summer to start hitting once again.
"It was a lot of fun - the game of football, you're meant to be hit," said freshman running back Nick Hill.
If earlier in the week was media day for the veteran players, Friday was "true freshman media day", as seven newcomers - tailbacks Hill and Le'Veon Bell, linebacker Max Bullough, safety Isaiah Lewis, wide receivers Tony Lippett and Keith Mumphrey, and defensive end Marcus Rush - met with the media to talk about their experiences during their first week of camp.
"Today was definitely a tough day," said Bell. "There was a lot of hitting. There's definitely going to be a lot of sore bodies in the morning, but we just have to get ready to go again. This is definitely what I expected. I'm just glad I'm here and I'm a part of this."
Overall, Dantonio was pleased with his team's first practice in full pads.
"If you're an offensive coach, you don't like some things, (same) if you're a defensive coach, but as the head coach, you see a little bit of this, you see a little bit of that, and you're seeing good things on both sides of the ball," Dantonio said. "Guys are making plays, and that's a positive for our football team. I like our competitive spirit."
JONES NAMED PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN...AGAIN: Another day, another preseason All-America team for Greg Jones. Today, he was named to NBCSports.com's preseason list. It's difficult to keep track of all his preseason honors, but Jones is only focused on one thing - winning.
"My focus is still to win games and a Big Ten Championship," Jones remarked in Chicago at Big Ten Kickoff after being named the league's preseason defensive player of the year. For those who have lost track of all the accolades bestowed on Jones going into 2010, there are listed in his bio on msupartans.com.
BIG TEN NETWORK IN TOWN: The Big Ten Network will be at Saturday's practice to tape a 60-minute preview show that will air Friday, Aug. 20 at 8 p.m. For more information on the show, please click here.
Coach Dantonio was pleased with his team's progress on the first day of full pads.
Thursday, Aug. 12
As the Spartans went through their fourth practice of preseason camp in shells on Thursday afternoon, a few visitors stopped by, including men's basketball senior guard Kalin Lucas and former Spartan All-American and current Phoenix Suns guard Jason Richardson. Former MSU defensive back Thomas Wright, who played for the Spartans from 1999-2002, was also in attendance.
In other news, Spartan football single-game tickets are now on sale. To purchase tickets, click here.
Wednesday, Aug. 11
There was plenty of reaction from Tuesday's media day on several websites, including Adam Rittenberg's account on ESPN.com. There were also features written on junior wide receiver Keith Nichol, junior safety Trenton Robinson, sophomore running back Larry Caper...and even senior long snapper Alex Shackleton.
One of the players who did not attend media day (true freshmen will speak to reporters later in camp) still made news, as linebacker William Gholston was projected as one of the "Top 10 Impact True Freshmen" by heismanpundit.com.
Meanwhile on the field, the Spartans battled the sweltering humidity and completed their third practice of the season.
Tuesday, Aug. 10
More than 70 reporters from around the state of Michigan gathered Tuesday inside the Spartan Club at Spartan Stadium for Michigan State Football Media Day.
The morning began with roundtable interviews with offensive players and coaches, followed by interviews with the defensive staff and players. Fourth-year head coach Mark Dantonio concluded media day festivities with a 30-minute press conference at the main podium.
"From top to bottom when you look at our football team, our fourth year here, I'm very excited about the opportunities that we have in front of us and very excited about our upcoming season," Dantonio said in his opening statement. "From top to bottom, I would say it's probably as talented a team as we've had."
While some players were getting interviewed in the Spartan Club, others were taking their posed action photos on the field. Check out some of the photos on Michigan State Athletics' Official Facebook page here.
In the afternoon, the Spartans held their second practice of preseason camp on the Duffy Daugherty practice fields.
For complete coverage of MSU Football Media Day, including photos, videos, quotes and podcasts, please click here.
Coach Dantonio speaks to reporters at media day.
Monday, Aug. 9
Morning rain on Monday forced the Spartans inside the Duffy Daugherty Building for their first official practice of the season in the afternoon, but it didn't dampen the spirits of the players and coaches - they were ready to go. The enthusiasm for the upcoming season was clearly visible throughout the entire practice as the team worked out in shorts. Prior to drills, Coach Dantonio met with the media to give some quick thoughts on the first day.
"I always remember my first day as a freshman, going way back," said Dantonio. "I think you always remember that day. As a coach, you're anxious to get back out there and see what the new year has for you. As an older player, as a starter, as a leader, you're looking forward to those challenges. I think it's a little bit different for everybody. As far as anxiety, or anxiousness, that's going to exist for everybody. It's always fun to get back out on the field."
For quotes, photos, video and a podcast of the first day of practice, please click here.
Earlier in the day, All-America linebacker Greg Jones was named to the Walter Camp Football Foundation's 2010 Player of the Year Watch List.
The media was waiting for Coach Dantonio prior to the team's first practice on Monday afternoon inside the Duffy Daugherty Building.
Sunday, Aug. 8
Fourth-year Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio welcomed members of the 2010 team back to campus for physicals, compliance and academic meetings, and a media workshop on Sunday afternoon, as the Spartans opened preseason football camp. The first preseason practice is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 9 at 3:30 p.m. EDT.
Following a 6 a.m. wake-up call Monday, the players will report to the indoor facility at the Duffy Daugherty Football Building for a series of running tests.
Over the next five days, the Spartans will practice in shorts for two days and shells for two days before donning full pads for the first time on Friday, Aug. 13.