MSU Spartans
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Preseason Camp Update No. 4
Junior linebacker Greg Jones posted a team-best 10 tackles in last Friday's scrimmage.
Junior linebacker Greg Jones posted a team-best 10 tackles in last Friday's scrimmage.

Aug. 26, 2009

Video | Podcast

EAST LANSING, Mich. - With preseason camp winding down, head coach Mark Dantonio gave an update on the team prior to Wednesday's practice. Listen to Coach Dantonio's comments in the latest Spartan Sports Podcast.

Following morning meetings, several Spartan players and assistant coaches also met with the media to discuss preseason camp.

Greg Jones, junior linebacker

On where the defense has improved during camp...
Really, in the communication and the chemistry part, I feel like guys are really starting to gel together a lot sooner than we did last year. The defensive backs and linebackers feel like we got better this year.

On if he feels he has improved from the first scrimmage...
I feel like I did, really, the first scrimmage wasn't my best scrimmage. I really wanted to improve during the second scrimmage, and I feel like I did that. I was just flying around and not thinking as much, and just eliminating mistakes.

On what the team is working as camp finishes...
We are now done hitting each other. It's time to prepare and get ready for the first game, because that is the next step and the first goal. We aren't looking too far ahead; we are just getting ready for the next step.

Keith Nichol, sophomore quarterback

His thoughts on camp...
Camp has been a long process, to say the least. I think everybody has learned a lot, including myself. I think a lot of the credit for that has to go to Coach Warner. He has brought me along so much and I feel like I've developed into a completely different type of player while utilizing the same skills I brought in to camp. I feel really anxious and ready for the season. I'm excited for what we are doing as a football program and where we are going.

On what he has learned about himself as a quarterback in going through camp...
I think that the sky is the limit. If you take in coaching and take in what they are asking you to do while doing at the same time what got you here in the first place, I feel like the sky is the limit. I know I have a long ways to go but to see how far I have come, I feel like I can progress even more and I haven't fully reached my potential.

Is football becoming more fun now...
I think one of the things I valued most in high school was that I had fun every day in practice. Everyday I was playing football I was having fun in practice and that has carried over to Michigan State, too. Everyday I am having fun out there. It is a grind, no doubt, and sometimes there are things you don't want to do but, I'm smiling, I'm playing football. Going against Greg Jones and those kinds of guys and talking back and forth is fun for me. I'm out there with a smile, enjoying it and that is when I play best.

On having his brother, Kyle, on the team...
It has meant the world to me. He is my inspiration. I look at him and his locker is right by mine and I get to see how hard he works. He is a blue-collar guy to the bone. I look up to him, to be honest. The things he does, it makes me want to go out there perform better. I carry a lot of pride through my family and I play for them.

Kirk Cousins, sophomore quarterback

On camp...
Football is a fun game. It has always been my first love since I was little. I have to keep reminding myself of that because you get zoned in to the intensity and the pressure that comes with playing at this high level. At the end of the day, football is a game and it is a fun sport and we're having fun with it.

On how he handles receivers dropping the ball...
I firmly believe that if you have the ability to catch the football it comes down to concentration. If you're concentrating and focused on catching the football, you are going to catch it. When a guy drops a pass, I just go over there and say, `Hey, concentration.'

Guys like Blair White and Mark Dell and the rest of our receivers have the ability to catch the ball, they've shown that. It's simply concentration and so I tell them to lock in and focus. I just emphasize the concentration because that is what I think it comes down to when there is a drop. They know they can catch, I know they can catch, so I don't see it being a long-term issue. I'll let them know what I think if I feel something needs to happen but for the most part, I think they are doing a fine job.

Secondary coach Harlon Barnett

On what Jeremy Ware does well...
He covers extremely well. He can tackle. At one time he probably looked at himself as a cover corner and I told all of our guys that I'm looking for complete corners. He's a good cover guy and can tackle with power and he has a great understanding on how a team is trying to attack him.

On when he edged ahead of the rest of the cornerbacks... After the second scrimmage. He has had very consistent play, not just at the scrimmage, but over the course of camp. He was doing a good job consistently where other guys may have not been as steady.

On the improvement of Danny Fortener...
He is another guy that has been consistent. What I talked to the guys about in the spring and again at the beginning of camp is that the thing that is going to separate guys - because we have so much experience - is consistency. It's a long season and it's a long camp. I said to them, `Who are going to be the guys making plays on day 15, practice 21...' Guys are hurting a little bit now and it's about who can push through and Danny has been one of those guys that has been able to push through and be consistent.

On Marcus Hyde...
Marcus is very similar to Danny in that he got his opportunity last year and did a good job when he got in there and then continued to work on what he needed to work on in the offseason. He is another guy that has been consistent and has been doing a good job for us.

Freshman running back Larry Caper

On how he feels where he is at for the starting job...
I'm feeling pretty good right now. I'm just going out every day and trying to do my best. I'm not really concerned about the depth chart or anything like that. As long as I go out and contribute, that is all I look forward to doing.

On looking forward to the first game...
Montana State is an excellent team. This my first college football game so I just want to go out and contribute to the team.

On the offensive line...
The offensive line looks really good. They are learning. The last scrimmage that we had was tremendously better than the first one. So there is improvement and everything is going pretty well.




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