Aug. 26, 2010
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Senior punter Aaron Bates, junior quarterback Kirk Cousins and senior linebacker Greg Jones have been elected by their teammates to serve as Michigan State's captains for the 2010 season, head coach Mark Dantonio announced following Thursday's practice. An additional captain will also be selected each week.
Bates is the first punter to be named captain in 114 seasons of Spartan football, while Cousins and Jones will be captains for the second straight year. Last season, Cousins became only the second sophomore in school history to be named captain.
Center Robert McCurry (1946-47-48) is MSU's only three-time captain.
"All three are outstanding players," said head coach Mark Dantonio. "Greg Jones has played here for four years straight and Kirk Cousins has been a member of this football team for four years. They both played an integral part in terms of leadership last year and did an outstanding job. Aaron Bates has punted for us for four years, he's also our holder, and is on the field a lot for us.
"The other thing we're going to do is that we really elected 12 guys in that capacity of leadership, and one of those nine other guys will captain each game. I've never done that in the past, but I think our guys have earned it. It's important they get an opportunity to lead."
"It's a great honor that I'm very excited to have the opportunity to be able to do," said Cousins on being named a captain for the second year in a row. "It's a great opportunity to lead this football team and be an ambassador for this university, which is an exciting thing.
"I'm really excited about Greg and Aaron being named captains also. It's a great choice to have Aaron. Obviously, Greg has been a captain, but Aaron is going to be a great senior leader for us, and deservedly is a captain. I really like Coach Dantonio's idea of adding a captain every week. I think that giving more guys leadership roles is what this team needs because we have so many leaders."
"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.
"But with that comes a greater responsibility. I'm going to have to perform better on the field and off the field. After the coaches, the captains are the first ones to get blamed for stuff that goes wrong, so it is a big responsibility, but I look forward to taking it on."
"A lot of respect has been given my way, and I feel like I've earned that, but I also want to be able to give respect too," said Jones. "I just want to get focused for this first game - that's the first goal that we're trying to accomplish as a team."
Michigan State concluded its final practice of preseason camp Thursday afternoon. The Spartans begin the 2010 season Sept. 4 against Western Michigan in Spartan Stadium, beginning at noon.