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Spartans Conclude Preseason Camp

Aug. 21, 2014

EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State football team wrapped up preseason camp on Thursday after nearly three weeks of practice for the upcoming season. The Spartans will take the next two days off before reporting back to campus on Sunday to begin game preparations for the Aug. 29 season opener against Jacksonville State.

Following Thursday's practice, MSU head coach Mark Dantonio announced the 2014 captains to the team - junior defensive end Shilique Calhoun, senior safety Kurtis Drummond and senior offensive lineman Travis Jackson.

"I think they're good, solid people," remarked Dantonio on the captain selections by the team. "We've got 12 guys that sort of lead, but these are the three they picked. I think any of those 12 guys would have been good. They're all guys who have great success on the field.

"But the key to this is when we hit adversity, how will we lead, and I think these guys will do an outstanding job. They like to have fun and I think they keep our players loose. You have to stay fresh in this game. We're on Day 21 and it grind you down a little bit. Doing what we do makes for a long day. But you have to stay fresh and these guys provide a lot of that."

Dantonio also spoke to the media about the team's third and final scrimmage, which was held Thursday morning in Spartan Stadium.

"We've always had a rehearsal scrimmage (at the end of camp) and gone a little bit live, but not too many plays," said Dantonio. "We try to do a lot of kicking things, a lot of substitution things, so that we're sort of trying to play a game as if it's a game."



Additional quotes from Dantonio:

On senior safety Kurtis Drummond...
We've had a lot of players come through here and do all the right things and Kurtis (Drummond) is just another one of those guys. He's been a leader on the field. His teammates recognize that. He's been able to keep his composure in all types of situations throughout his career and he's got the opportunity to lead our team this year.

On the captain selection process...
I hope that our football team picks the guys for the right reasons. We set it up to continually talk about that. They have chance to reflect and pick the guys that aren't just good football players, but are guys that are trying to do the right thing off the field as well. These guys are great examples of that. All three of these guys didn't play as true freshmen. They were guys that were on the scout team, they paid their dues. They got stronger, they acquired more football knowledge, and they played themselves into starting positions on the field.

So they've sort of done it the hard way. Nothing's been given to them and I think people appreciate that and respect that. Every year I ask at some point how many of our guys have been captains on their high school football team and I would say probably 85 percent of our guys have been captains. So to be picked among his peers in that respect is powerful and makes a statement to their ability to lead.

On his satisfaction with the team's progress...
I'm always looking for more. Really, I am. I'm always looking for a little bit more. I think all of our coaches do that. We look for the guys who aren't making mental mistakes, the guys who are giving a little bit more effort. We look for a little bit more control. We look for a little bit more focus. I think that's just the nature of what we do. We can always get better. We're not there yet. We look forward to next week and improving next week.

On the physicality of the scrimmage...
It was live contact. You've got to find out what they can do. They can get hurt just as easy if we're not going hard.

On taking a break over the weekend...
We take a step back. You've got to stay fresh. We'll take a step back, but you're never too far away from anything with your iPad and your film. We can take a step back for a couple hours.

On the performance in practice...
It's the last day of camp. We cut them loose. They're leaving the building right now. A lot of them are going home. They're thinking about what they're going to do this weekend. Maybe the focus isn't quite there or whatever the case ... those things are going to happen. You need to learn from it. You have to be focused. I'm not disappointed with the scrimmage. I've not seen the film. We went about 50 plays, so not very long. You're looking for guys to continually move forward, whether that's a freshman or a senior. You're looking for guys who take their game to the next step, every step of the way.

On Braxton Miller...
I feel bad. Braxton Miller is a good football player. He was a senior. He was a great leader and a great young man. I will say this - we played without Max Bullough at the Rose Bowl. So usually, when those things happen, people rise up around them. People get a little bit better. What becomes a negative, becomes a strength later on.

On kickoffs...
I think Kevin Cronin has done a nice job and has gotten a lot of hike on it. I think (Michael) Geiger is doing a pretty good job as well. We'll see how they kick in pregame.

On the number two running back...
I think Nick Hill has had a good camp, but I think all three of those other guys (Delton Williams, Gerald Holmes, Madre London) are people you might see. I think the only question is do you see Madre because you don't want to run him one or two plays. I think he's going to be a great running back, but you don't want to take the redshirt off him and not get the work. He's in the mix too. They're good football players. We're going to lose two of them; two of them are seniors. Those guys are good football players.

On the back-up quarterback...
These things that were weaknesses before have become strengths. I think Tyler O'Connor has had a great camp. Damion Terry has had an excellent camp as well. He's been cleared to go live. We're right on task there. We're right on target.

On the defensive tackle position...
The (freshmen) will play. I think Malik (McDowell) is a guy that will play. You look at Craig Evans is another guy and maybe Enoch (Smith), maybe David Beedle. All four of those guys are good football players, so we just have to see how it plays out. Those guys are in the mix. They've played with the ones. They've certainly played with the twos.

On the wide receivers...
Those guys have played a lot of football for us, so whoever they want to play has got to catch the football and move it. They're all very functional in terms of the knowledge of what's going on and they've all played in games and have had big plays. That's a positive. With our running back situation, I think Jeremy (Langford) is the clear number one. I think that we've got depth at that position.

On the upcoming weekend break for the team
I think it's very important. You have to get away from football. Hopefully, they're able to go home and see their high school football games. We don't really want them around here. It's also important for them to take off and get their legs back. Day in and day out, we've taken just two afternoons off total and they've had three weeks of this, so they need a chance to refresh themselves.

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