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Preseason Camp Update: Spartans Preparing for Second Scrimmage

Aug. 17, 2012

Camp Update

EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio met with the media before the morning practice on Friday to give an update on preseason camp. Dantonio talked about the depth at cornerback and safety, the play of quarterback Andrew Maxwell, and how the leadership on the team is developing.

The Spartans will hold their second preseason jersey scrimmage on Saturday in Spartan Stadium.

Opening comments...
"It's a big day here, we're trying to work through this last two-a-day and get ready for our scrimmage tomorrow. We have had a great summer camp thus far. Guys get nicked up a little bit, and then they move back into practice. But thus far, very happy with where we're at. I thought we were sharp the other night at practice, so we'll continue to try and improve daily and keep our focus."

On the depth at cornerback...
"After the two starters (Johnny Adams and Darqueze Dennard), Mitchell White is solid. He's been in the program for five years, so he knows things conceptually and schematically very well. Trae Waynes is a very good player. I think that of the freshman, Ezra Robinson is a guy that looks like he could possibly play this year. We'll try and redshirt him, but he's got skills. I think that right now Arjen Colquhoun has had a very good summer camp and is working at both corner and safety. He's a guy that enrolled here over a year ago (enrolled in spring 2011), so he's still a red-shirt freshman, but he's making plays out here. He's a very good athlete."

On why the practice appeared to be very spirited at first this morning...
"I think that they're sniffing that I might cancel this evening's practice if we have a great one (laughter). That's what they're sniffing. But we have to get ready to scrimmage tomorrow, so we're going to work at it today, but there's no reason to get dressed twice if we can do it once."

On if he senses excitement around the team with the opener two weeks away...
"I do. We're 14 days away today. So it's not very long. We need to take care of ourselves, but also need to continue to grow. That's the catch 22 I think of this whole thing. You got to work them, you got to work hard, you have to go live some, but at the same time we can't get guys hurt."

On Andrew Maxwell...
"I think he was very sharp yesterday. I sort of lose track - two days ago seems like a week ago - but I think he's been very sharp. He's got a great handle on our offense. He continues to lead, which is so important for a quarterback. He's steady and very calm under pressure."

On what he likes about freshman defensive back Ezra Robinson...
"(He's got) great ball skills. Very intelligent player for a freshman on the field. He's not afraid to go get it. He competes. We tested our guys when they walked in the door, and he was a 10 4 ½ standing long jump guy and a 34-inch vertical guy. He's got skills and he's got explosiveness. He's a bigger guy - he's 6-foot."

On the battle at free safety...
"I would say that we need to tackle, and we need to tackle consistently. They've got ball skills, they've got great athletic ability. So it's a day-to-day type thing. It shows that we have depth at that position. I think that Jairus Jones has had a great summer camp thus far, he's got experience...RJ Williamson, who is a red-shirt freshman, and Kurtis Drummond (red-shirt sophomore) has experience, and then you have Demetrious Cox, who is an excellent freshman. Even Arjen Colquhoun has worked in there and has made some big plays the last couple of days. I think it's a good situation in there, and then obviously you've got Isaiah Lewis, who is very solid.

"It's really day-to-day. We just work them in there and see how they work. I like to put pressure on our guys and work them with the 1's and see how they respond. Everyone is going to have an opportunity to work with the 1's tomorrow, and we'll evaluate it. They're all good football players, they're all going to see time, and you will see them on special teams. I think you will see them play on the defensive side of the ball, probably all of those guys."

On how the leadership is developing in preseason camp...
"What we've done is a bit different this year. We sort of renamed our leadership group - we call them eagles. You don't find eagles in flocks, you find them one at a time. So we voted, after we got started and we got through the five-day window there of acclimation, we voted them one day at a time. We voted one leader at a time. We gave our upperclassmen two points and our freshman one point for the vote. We voted these guys one at a time, and we're in our ninth day today, so we're picking them like that. We're very happy with the guys that our guys are picking. And we keep talking about what it takes to be a leader and define that for them. But probably 85 percent of our football team had been captains on their football team in high school, so we have a great deal of leadership on our football team.

"There are a lot of characteristics I think about eagles that have a lot to do with respect. I think that's how we have to carry ourselves...(the voting) goes through camp, and we'll pick our leadership council like that. We'll have 12 of them. We'll vote on those 12 and see who is our captains."



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