Aug 19, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio met with reporters Monday morning before practice to provide an update on the Spartans as they begin their third and final week of preseason camp. Dantonio talked about the competition at quarterback and what he's looking for from the position this upcoming week in practice.
The Spartans will return to the field for an evening practice as part of their two-a-day schedule.
I think we go into this practice excited about the opportunities we have today. I think you guys know that there were some good things from the scrimmage. I think there are other things we need to continue to address. We're on target. We're looking forward to finishing camp strong.
On freshman quarterback Damion Terry...
Realistically, we've got to see if he's consistent with his performance that he displayed on Saturday. We're going to find that out. I think that's what we have to look at. Is it a one-time thing or is there consistency there? I think that the learning curve is so big that where you are for practices one, two, three, four and five is distinctly different from where you are at practices 16, 17, 18 and 19. That's what we have to find out because we need the consistency there, but there's no question he made some plays. He made some big-time throws and that's exciting to watch.
We did go live on Saturday. We turned it up, went live and I think we needed to do that, especially with him (Terry). We needed to do that with some of the other quarterbacks as well. We probably went about less than half but more than a third of practice live.
As the scrimmage progressed, he did well with the threes. I sort of shrugged my shoulders and put him with the twos. Then, I sort of shrugged my shoulders and put him with the ones. It's not that complicated, you're going to play the guys that move the football down the field, that don't make mistakes and that can create. I've said that all along. He demonstrated that, so I hate to say that it's a four-man race or anything like that. Obviously, there are differences in terms of who has the most knowledge and things of that nature. This is about consistency over a period of time. You have to get people the opportunities and I've said that all along. I think that's refreshing, no pun intended, when a freshman gets that opportunity because it proves that what we say is correct, that we're going to give everybody an opportunity. We're going to try and be very consistent and fair about this in all respects. Our players hopefully understand that. We have a big practice today and everybody's going to get the opportunity.
On if Terry has a chance to start at quarterback...
It's tough to say right now (if he's a starting contender) because we don't have this next week in the bank. What we have seen is that he made plays in the scrimmage. He throws a good ball, he plays with his feet and that's all you can assess. You could assess at the beginning of the scrimmage yesterday that it was a three-horse race and at the end of the scrimmage it was a four-horse race. I think that's the fair thing to assess right now. Tom Izzo plays a freshman point guard all the time. All the time, right? When that guy asserts himself and takes control of the football team or the basketball team, that's the guy who's going to play. I don't care whether he's a senior, sophomore, junior, redshirt freshman or freshman. That's the best thing to do. Damion has to prove consistency in performance. The other guys have to move the ball with more consistency and they've got to break away from their own three-man race. Like I said, everyone is going to get an opportunity today and it's going to be important how they perform.
On how practice will progress with the quarterback situation...
I want to see everyone getting reps with the ones and the twos to try and make it equal, but at some point and time, they'll have to stand on what they've done. It's likely they'll have to do that during games and such.
I've said before that I was very excited about our quarterback opportunities because I think we have four major college quarterbacks. They can all throw it. They all have size and ability, but the bottom line is what they do to be successful on the field and the best way they handle that is by past experiences and also by what's happening currently in scrimmage situations. We'll go a little bit live today or whatever we've got to do, but we're going to find out. Our players understand that and acknowledge that aspect. There are some other positions that are in that situation, but that's good for our football team. It shows we have depth. It shows we have options and that's exciting.
On the competition at other positions...
I think at tight end there's some movement of positions. I also think on the offensive line a little bit, you know, just who's going to play where? Backup positions play a lot for us, we've got a lot of depth in the secondary, so who are the two (backup) corners? We're trying to give guys reps, so we've got a lot of guys to play and a lot of guys to prove things.
We're always a work in progress. We're aiming for next Friday.