Mark Dantonio Weekly Press Conference Coverage
No. 11 Spartans preparing for in-state showdown at Central Michigan on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
Sept. 4, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio held his weekly press conference Tuesday in the Huntington Club at Spartan Stadium. Dantonio talked about his team's performance in the win over Boise State and previewed this week's game at Central Michigan.
The Spartans, who moved up to No. 11 in both The Associated Press Poll and the USA TODAY Coaches Poll following their 17-13 win over Boise State, will face the Chippewas Saturday in Mount Pleasant at 3:30 p.m. in Kelly/Shorts Stadium. The game is being televised on ESPNU. CMU defeated Southeast Missouri State, 38-27, in its season opener last Thursday, Aug. 30, in Mount Pleasant.
Following Dantonio's press conference, MSU starting quarterback Andrew Maxwell met with the media to discuss his performance in his first career start.
The following is a complete transcript of Tuesday's weekly press conference:
COACH DANTONIO: Real quickly, to recap Boise, I thought one of the things we did was fight through adversity. There is no question about that. We re-gathered ourselves at halftime, and came out and played a little bit better.
Defensively, I thought we played outstanding throughout the entire game, really. They really had one drive down inside into the red zone against us. Other than that, we sort of responded, but guys tackled well in space, covered well down the field. Got to apply a little bit more pass pressure probably, but we'll get that fixed up.
Offensively, great day by Le'Veon Bell, obviously. Controlled the line of scrimmage, ran the ball effectively, and (Dion) Sims had a great day. I thought Maxwell played well. He had a couple of turnovers there which I don't think was his fault, but I thought he was in control. He had good leadership, he was calm, and he made good decisions with the football for the most part for his first game out in a big environment like that. I thought he played well.
We've got to get some things squared away which we'll work on this week. Special teams wise, big field goal from Dan Conroy, a 50 yarder. Other than that, we had a lot of young guys playing in our special teams, and I think that we were okay. But we've got to clean up some things there.
Biggest thing we have to clean up probably are penalties, the unforced errors. We look for improvement the next game. So that will be the MO going into this. But we beat a football team that was 73 6 coming in, and I think the last four years they were 53 3, so a good football team. They're going to win a lot of football games, but we need to continue to improve.
Thought the atmosphere in the crowd was outstanding. It was a tremendous atmosphere for us out there, and the crowd was great. Very loud out there, really something that even though we pipe noise into our practice, really something we could not even simulate. It was so loud, so excited about that.
The CMU game, it's an historic event up there. Coach Enos knows us well, obviously, having been on our staff, and they know the traditions. They ran the ball effectively. They have a great quarterback. Radcliff is a guy that's closing in on a lot of records up there, so he's an experienced quarterback with two great tailbacks in Tipton and Garland, an established offensive line.
It was a great win for them, and we'll get on them practice-wise today. But I'm sure the atmosphere's going to be very exciting up there, and we look forward to our first road game.
Before I open it up for questions, I just want to congratulate our guys (rookies) who made NFL rosters. That would be Kirk Cousins with the Redskins, Jerel Worthy with the Packers, Keshawn Martin with the Texans, Trent Robinson with the 49ers, along with Garrett Celek with the 49ers. Those five guys and B.J. Cunningham was named to the practice squad with the Eagles, and I think those are all huge events in those individuals lives, and we're very, very proud of them.
Q. Linemen and fullbacks don't get a lot of attention. But it would seem to me Niko (Palazeti) played well, as well as Jack Allen, especially first start as a freshmen. Could you talk about those two please?
COACH DANTONIO: They're young players that made some mistakes, but for the most part they played well. We need to clean up the mistakes. But there is no question (we won't run) for 20 yards plus without guys at the point of attack. Our tight end, fullback and offensive line are a big portion of that, as well as our wide receivers blocking people in that secondary level. So I thought they did a nice job.
Q. Le'Veon was so good he got the Heisman hype in the first game. Do you take him aside and talk to him a little bit about that? Is he mature enough that you know he'll be able to handle whatever comes at him?
COACH DANTONIO: I think what we have to make sure we're not doing is don't drink the Kool aid around here. He's always come out and played hard. He's always come out and practiced hard. He's always tried to be a complete football player, so I don't think that's going to change whether he's blocking or catching the ball or running with the football. I think he would play on special teams if we asked him to, and I think that's the trademark of a good player. So his attitude is in the right place right now. So hopefully he can handle things. We're going to find out. There is a lot of media around this, which is great.
Q. You've played friends in this profession before. But if you had your druthers, would you rather not play such a close friend who used to work for you?
COACH DANTONIO: Yeah, it's tough. I can sort of feel for the people that I have played against. Even when it's been the opposite, when I've been sort of there, growing up under them. Coach Tressel didn't like to play against us. So I can sort of feel that. You want him to do well. You want Central Michigan to do well, but you have to take care of business on your side, so obviously you want to win. But when you get to games like this, you line up, you play, you get your football teams ready, and you respect who they are and you play on. It's one week, one day.
Q. What is the upside for you to play a game like this on the road? Obviously, there is some risk. But when this was presented to you, what was the discussion? What do you think you get out of this?
COACH DANTONIO: I sort of shrugged my shoulders when this was thrown out there saying that to me what we get out of it is an opportunity to embrace the state of Michigan, Mt. Pleasant, bringing commerce to that area. So we get an opportunity to do something for the state of Michigan, which is what we've always tried to do here as people and as individuals since we've come and since most colleges have that opportunity. Most colleges take advantage of that.
But in a bigger sense, in a stronger sense, we can put up or shut up, I guess, in that respect. We have an opportunity to sit back and not do it or take the opportunity to do it. So we took the opportunity to do it as an administration, athletic department, and football department, to do something for the state of Michigan that would be valued, making it an historic event. So that's one of the reasons.
The second reason that I felt would be a positive for us and if we're going to play an away game, I'd rather play 60 miles up the road in state and make that our first away game of the season with the new quarterback at this point in time and experience that environment which probably I would imagine there would be a lot of Spartan fans up there as well.
So I think that's a good way to begin our road season. I thought that would be an advantage for us if you had to go on the road to go close.
So those are the two biggest reasons for us to go up there and make this decision at this time. You know, also I guess it impacts us when they come back in terms of the financial aspect of that. I think that's a positive for our University as well.
Q. How often have you talked to Dan (Enos)? What are your conversations with him taking over a program that's struggled for a couple of years. What have you talked to him about building a program or staying the course, whatever you guys talk about?
COACH DANTONIO: I think those conversations are relatively private, but I talk to Dan whenever the opportunity presents itself. My message to him is it's not easy. You're building a program, there is change, transition, you've just got to keep doing what you believe and things will come to fruition.
Q. Dion Sims the other night, is that the glimpse of the potential you've seen for a few years and what he can mean to you guys? Do you also get the sense that Andrew feels comfortable with him, and he's the guy you look for on those big plays?
COACH DANTONIO: I think Dion is a tremendous football player with great skills. You saw those skills be taken advantage of last Friday. But I think Andrew has confidence in all of the players. It's just situations present themselves, whether it's the read that takes him there or the play that was called. In that case or the one case down here, he was flushed out and contained to the right, and Dion was to the right on a flag cut 7 route so that's where he looked. Some of the other things were more orchestrated to him. He's an outstanding football player and he'll continue to get better and grow.
Q. Is there anything Le'Veon Bell did in the off season to prepare for what obviously looks like an increased workload?
COACH DANTONIO: No, I think he's the same player he's been. He worked hard. He's been slowed by some nicks which is to be expected as you go through summer camp. He's always prepared well and played hard, going back to his freshman year.
He's done this for a couple of years, and he's going into his third year. The opportunity presented itself more maybe Friday night and he took advantage of it.
Q. What did you learn about Andrew in this game? During the game and how he's reacted the last couple of days?
COACH DANTONIO: I thought he was very composed. He showed good leadership skills and he rolled with things when things didn't go as well as he would have liked. I think those are characteristics that are hard to teach. Those are characteristics as a person, who he is as a person. You have to be calm at the quarterback position. You're not always going to be right. You're going to be questioned. You'll have guys drop balls, have the ball tipped, have pressure, and you have to be able to roll with that and get back up and play. I thought he did that, and he never lost his composure in the game. That's him. That's him throughout, whether it was an opportunity to play, didn't quite come or had patience or whatever it was. He's been resilient throughout his time here. I think he'll continue to maintain that perspective.
Q. I know you're not a big Twitter guy, but some of your players in the Michigan game took to Twitter. Can you talk about that being an on the record thing, open. Is that something you concern about or address or is it all fair in rivalries?
COACH DANTONIO: No, I'll address that with our football team. I think it's disrespectful. I don't think that's something that we should be doing, so I'll deal with that on my end. But the credit goes to the person in the arena. That's the way I look at things. Michigan has a tremendous football storied tradition. I didn't see much different when we played the University of Alabama a couple years ago, it's tough. Our guys need to keep their mouths shut. Is that blunt enough? Okay, I'm sure that will make headline news, especially those that aren't even playing.
Q. I have a follow up to that question.
COACH DANTONIO: Of course there would be.
Q. (Would you tell players to shut their) account off?
COACH DANTONIO: Shut your account off? I didn't know there was such a thing. Is there a shut your account off that I can just throw a switch? I don't think there is. It's America. But there are consequences that go along with that. I'm not going to say there's not free speech in our program, but I think that I'll say what I've said all along. You can't be prideful. You need to approach this game with humility. When it becomes personal, that crosses the line. So, again, shouldn't have to be talking about this. So there will be another message.
Q. Football question on Dion. Where is he as a blocker? We've seen his skills as a receiver?
COACH DANTONIO: He's 280 pounds plus. Depends on what he has for breakfast. You know, so he's obviously he has the tools to be a good blocker at the point of attack. You play against some good people, needs to get moving.
In my mind, in order to run the football you have to get movement in the center area, the center box, and you have to get moving in the C area which is where the tight end usually is at. So we ran the football pretty effectively.
Got to get the running back into the secondary to get that thing started. So I thought he did a nice job, obviously, doing that. But there's always room for improvement.
Q. Before we hear from Andrew, you talked about the drop balls earlier. Taking everything into account from the blocking up front to the receivers, where is the passing game right now and how close or how far away is it from where you want it to be?
COACH DANTONIO: From my perspective, we probably have eight guys that have an opportunity to play at wide receiver. I think we've gotten it to that point that we have eight guys. They all have talent. They have to be consistent. That is the message now.
Who are those guys? In the past, Keshawn (Martin) might have dropped a couple balls out here and you'd go about your business. He'd fumble two balls I think in the Michigan game last year. But he caught two touchdowns, so it was sort of overlooked. So you just assume that the guys playing for you are going to make plays.
So you can't say, hey, this guy dropped the ball, we're going to give up on him. You can't do that. But at the same time, you have other individuals that have to get opportunities to show what they can do. And those opportunities are going to come in practice this week or in the games early in the season.
But we've got to find our guys, our four or five guys, three, four, however many it is as we go through these next three games and we have to feel confident that we can throw to our wide receivers. That is part of it. Our wide receivers have to catch it. If you watch the game, Andrew's throwing some fastballs. There is no question. He's got an arm, a live arm, but you've got to catch it. Got a couple guys that are a little farther along than other guys. But at this point in time, nobody set themselves apart. So we've got to let them play.
They have talent. There is no question they have talent at that position. More talent than we had last year top to bottom. But we don't have the guys that can go in and say this is the guy. Hopefully, we'll find out in the next three or four games, but that is the importance of the success of the program over the long haul this season. I don't think I'm letting anything out of the bag there.
Q. Going forward, what are the advantages of winning a game like this (against Boise State)?
COACH DANTONIO: It shows we can win a close game and we can respond to adversity. It shows when things aren't going quite well, we can get back on track. We have some young players out there playing, so we're going to make some mistakes. There is no question about that. But Boise's a good football team. There are a lot of football teams that struggled this past weekend, and, you know we'll take the win and move on.
I would think this grounds our team. You have to remember, for eight months, we've been, you know, talked about et cetera. So I think this is a moment of reflection, let's just use that. This week will be a moment of reflection.
Q. In all of the invisible mornings you like to talk about, for these young guys that you talk about who aren't playing, do you cite what Le'Veon talks about during the year so maybe when they're not playing, they can embrace even more to have Le'Veon type moments?
COACH DANTONIO: Yeah, I think you could look at that and say this is the example. This is what hard work brings to you. Just keep persevering through things. But we've got a lot of good football players on our team. There is no question about that. But guys have to rise up and play. To that level, things are going very fast on that sideline, especially in the Boise game. A big crowd, very loud, media, national spotlight, game changing back and forth, whether it's a fumble or an interception or get out on the field for this, responding from coming out situation.
So there is a lot going on there where there is a lot of anxiety coming into the game, I'm sure. Everybody anxious, not so much anxiety, but anxious. So there are a lot of things that you have to juggle to be able to play well. But like I said, we'll have a week of reflection. We'll move forward.
Q. You've had a lot of success over the last couple of years in close games, 7 points or less. What do you attribute to that? The team has had success and they know how to do it? Or might it be a little of your message to them each and every game that there's going to be adversity no matter what game you're in and they're going to have to overcome whatever adversity comes towards them?
COACH DANTONIO: I think that's an example of...not example, but it's based on what's been done here in the past. When we first came, we lost a lot of close games in 2007, won them in 2008. We lost them in 2009. Won them in the last two years.
So a lot of the heavy lifting has been done to get to where we are now as a program, that's been done by the players in the past four years.
Some people, especially our young players who haven't played yet, they're benefiting from that heavy lifting. I think players play, coaches coach. We can send that message all we want, but I'm sure that's sent across the nation.
But the players have to believe in themselves. They have to be able to get up. That is part of responding to a situation, I think, or to adversity. Talk about it, try to present it a lot. But until we do it on game day, until we do it on game day, you don't know who and how your leaders are going to be. I felt like we found something out about ourselves a little bit on Friday night. Our guys responded, our leaders responded, and we pulled it together and we won.
The defense shut them out in the second half. They had some huge plays on defense. Our offense played better in the second half. Even though we didn't get on the board until the fourth quarter, we took the ball with 6:26 left and controlled it and sort of just willed it. Made huge plays down the stretch in the last two drives. I think those are things that we can build on. So I think it's a confidence thing, and we need to continue to be able to do those things.
Q. A number of guys were around in 2009 when you lost to Central. Even though they struggled the last couple of years, does that help in terms of a team respecting another team?
COACH DANTONIO: Yeah, I think it does. We'll talk about it and present the facts and what happened that game and hopefully learn from some things. But it's going to be a great environment up there, don't kid yourself. It will be a live environment up there from everything I hear. So it should be exciting for our players to play away. There will be a lot of Spartans there as well but a lot of Central fans there as well. So it will be a great match up.
Q. Carries for a running back are like miles on a car. Le'Veon had 44 carries in the first game. Is there an optimum level that you're shooting for?
COACH DANTONIO: Well, until he gets a flat, I guess. I don't know. We wanted to get Nick Hill involved and Larry Caper involved as well. We're trying to win against a good football team and give ourselves the best opportunity. He was hot. I've said many times here we're going to ride the hot back. Doesn't mean he's hot every game. If Larry or Nick are hot, they'll be the ones riding the ball more often. So we're going to ride the hot back. We've always done that here.
Q. Since this isn't a fresh injury, can I ask about a lingering injury? Is there an update on Skyler (Burkland), and are you concerned this could go deep into the season?
COACH DANTONIO: Update on Skyler is he's close to returning. And I think (Blake) Treadwell is close to returning as well. (Freshman wide receiver Aaron) Burbridge has returned.
Q. You guys ran the ball very well the other night. I was wondering what you thought of your offensive line play in terms of pass protection. Seemed like sometimes Andrew was under more pressure than you would hope?
COACH DANTONIO: It's a week of reflection, that's my MO this week. We can play better. I think all of our offensive linemen realize they can play better...we have to play better.
Q. What about Burbridge? He's back. You still want to red shirt him, I assume, but is there any chance he'll be considered?
COACH DANTONIO: He's one of the eight that we're talking about. I would say we'll see how he progresses in practice this week. It's too early to say. I think we have to give him an opportunity to show what he's got because he didn't have that opportunity in the summer.
I would say the same thing about (Monty) Madaris. They have to have an opportunity to show. We have to evaluate that in practice reps. So we'll try to do that to the best of our ability. But we'll try to win, and if he takes us to that level, that's what we're going to do.
Q. The six that you talked about earlier with (Macgarrett) Kings and Burbridge, are those the eight?
COACH DANTONIO: Yes.
Q. Coach, Joe Kellogg, the guard from Boise State, commented that he's played a lot of good front sevens, but yours was the best he's faced. Can you talk about your front seven and your thoughts to this point?
COACH DANTONIO: I thought we played well up front against the run. They did a good job protecting against the quarterback. But Boise last year when I watched all their film, gave up eight sacks the entire season. Four of them I think the quarterback just fell down and took the sack. He didn't get pressured. He just sort of tripped on something. So they protect the quarterback very well, that is built in for them.
But our guys up front can play. They need to continue to try and improve. I think we can make improvement there as well. We haven't played as well as we have in the past at certain positions.
Again, you're nit picking saying what can we do to get better, which has always been the MO here. But I thought Max Bullough played very, very well, and Denicos Allen played very, very well. I think those are the two guys from the front seven that played extremely well.
JUNIOR QUARTERBACK Andrew Maxwell
Q. I was curious how you deal with maybe the mental aspect of the game when you obviously are saddled with three interceptions in the first half. Coach was saying two of them weren't your fault. Going back on film and reviewing things in your mind, how do you think some of those plays ended up?
Andrew Maxwell: The first two were just kind of unfortunate. Deflections that they came up with, that are fixable mistakes, which is something as a quarterback or as in Tony's (Lippett's) case, something that you just have to mark it off as unfortunate and let it go and move on to the next play.
The third one just an inaccurate throw. If I throw a yard out in front of him, it's probably a touchdown, and we go into halftime with all the momentum in the world. Instead, it fell behind him, it gets intercepted, and you're at a crossroads as a player. Not the first half that you hoped for. Not the first half that you prepared for.
Then going into the locker room, you can decide to go one of two ways. You can either tank and feel bad about it, feel bad for yourself and just kind of hang it up. Or you can press on and realize there is still a game to be won, and we have to make the plays and go do that.
Q. Can you evaluate your performance on a 1 to 10 scale? Is it better or worse than you thought it was after the game Friday night?
Andrew Maxwell: You love the 1 to 10 scale questions, love them, and I hate answering them (laughing).
Q. You can do halves.
Andrew Maxwell: Halves? I'll say this: we get a goal card every week. And the first thing, there are five goals. You write up to five goals on it. The first thing I write every week is be a great decision maker. I thought I did a good job of making good decisions. With the interceptions, they weren't bad decisions. In some cases they were just unfortunate, and in a case, it was inaccuracy. There were one or two plays where a decision was probably poor, so for that I thought I did a good job making good decisions.
Q. Which is better or worse than you thought after the game?
Andrew Maxwell: After watching the film? Probably better.
Q. I was interested in your comment after the game that said you were more relaxed almost than you've been in a long time. I know you said that was about preparation, but did that surprise you? Do you think that's going to be your MO all season?
Andrew Maxwell: It kind of did surprise me because that was something that I've been wondering about was what am I going to feel when it's 20 minutes before kickoff and we're sitting in the locker room and getting ready to go out there. I was surprised I was calm and my nerves weren't really running that high.
I was excited and ready to play, and hopefully that can be my MO, and it hopefully can be my mindset every game, because I think it's just easier to relax and play the game that way.
If you're too busy trying to get your emotions in check and trying to calm yourself back down, then you're taking away from your preparation and taking away from executing on the field. That just puts all the importance on the film during the week, the practice reps, and just making 100 percent sure that you're ready to go on Saturday so when that time comes, you're not nervous, but just excited to play.
Q. Do you have a Twitter account, and if so, do you restrict yourself from using it in certain ways?
Andrew Maxwell: I do have a Twitter (account). I don't tweet that much. Frankly, because I can never really think of anything that interesting to say. It can be used in good ways and it can be used in bad ways.
Q. Following up on that, you're a leader on this team. You probably saw what was said about Denard (Robinson) by some of your teammates. Have you talked to your teammates at all about that sort of thing?
Andrew Maxwell: Not personally. I'm sure Coach Dantonio will address it today, but we have had a lot of training on that. Guys know the ramifications of it. On Saturday night there were a couple instances of poor judgment. I didn't see exactly what was said, so I can't really comment on what was said or why they said it. But we know the ramifications and the responsibility as players that what we see will be seen by a lot of people and we need to exercise better judgment.
Q. You talked about the decisions made. A lot of 7 yard gains on third-and-5 and those kinds of things. Can you guys win without explosive gains in the passing game or is that something that needs to happen?
Andrew Maxwell: Obviously, explosive gains are a huge part of the game. There are NFL studies from years that show the importance of explosive gains and how it can nullify the effects of turnovers and jump start a team or this and that.
But when those things aren't happening, it is important that when those third downs arrive, if you don't have explosive games and you're not converting third downs, you really don't have a chance. But we didn't have the explosive games that we were looking for.
But because we were able to convert those third-and-5's and third-and-4s, we made up for it. Those were the times in the game that put us in position to score.
Q. What's it going to be like to be playing 30 minutes from home? What are you looking forward to in this game? Do you have a lot of friends at Central?
Andrew Maxwell: Yeah, it's going to be a cool experience. I'm excited for it. Like you said, that's 35 minutes from my house. I grew up going to games there. As you know and I've said before, my dad and I would go there almost every weekend that they had a game.
A lot of my good friends go to Central, so they'll be in the student section, and that's going to be fun. It's going to be a cool atmosphere, and a lot of Michigan State fans will make the trip. I think that stadium will be about as full as it's ever been, so it will be a cool experience for both teams.
Q. You have a high school teammate who is on Central Michigan's roster. I think I read you're pretty close friends with him as well. Can you talk about is there a texting relationship going on this week? Do you guys go back and forth? How close are you with him?
Andrew Maxwell: Yeah, Connor is one of my best friends. Connor Gagnon, number 37, he does their kickoffs for them. Connor and I got to become really good friends when we played All Star little league baseball together when we were 12. So we've been friends for a while now. Really just happy to see him doing so well and getting an opportunity to play. I know that playing this game at this level was a dream of his. So for him to be doing that and at a high level is exciting for me to see.
We texted yesterday. No trash or anything. He just said he was excited to see me, and I said likewise, and we're looking forward to playing against each other.
Q. Obviously, it was a tough night for Tony (Lippett). He makes the first interception and the fumble. Did you go out of your way at all to talk to him? What did you see from him other than the mistakes in terms of first off the line, getting open, things like that?
Andrew Maxwell: The plays that resulted in turnovers, he actually ran perfect routes. The first one we call it a glance route. Against that coverage, that is something we've been talking about, and he ran it perfectly. He got open, and unfortunately it bounced off his hands.
The last one on the seam route, he made a great read and hit his landmark perfectly, but unfortunately ended up in a drop. I saw him Saturday after the game. I told him keep his head up, keep working, they're all fixable mistakes.
We know what kind of player he is. He showed it time and time again in practice and camp. Those are uncharacteristic mistakes that he'll learn from and correct this week in practice, and hopefully it won't happen again.
Q. If I remember, Michigan State was one of your early offers. Did you have an offer from Central?
Andrew Maxwell: I didn't.
Q. Had you gotten one, might you have gone there if that had been the first offer?
Andrew Maxwell: Might I have gone to Central Michigan?
Q. Yeah, if that had been the early offer.
Andrew Maxwell: I don't think so.
Q. You talk about the adversity you personally overcame in the second half. Is there something over the last few years that have helped you with that or is it something innate in you as a person?
Andrew Maxwell: I think it kind of happens - you kind of grow as a person and you grow as a player. The longer you play this game, the longer you're around it you can see how games can be affected by your mindset either way. I've seen games where people have chosen not to respond positively to adversity and how that's acted negatively. And I've seen our team battle back. Like last year's team (against Wisconsin), we were down 14-0 and ran one play offensively. But the character of our team then, we kept battling and battling and came out on top. This is the same kind of deal. If we keep battling, keep battling, keep our heads up and stay positive, it's a long game, a lot of things can happen. We know if we hang around, we'll have an opportunity to win it.
Q. There are going to be some of your friends from Central in the cheering section. Will they be cheering for you or Central?
Andrew Maxwell: I'm not sure. They'll probably be cheering for me personally, but Central to win the game, I would imagine.
Q. There were a couple of plays, including the pass to Dion Sims on the sideline, where it looked like you could have gotten clocked from the back side on the blitz and Le'Veon came over and picked him up. When you see that developing, are you saying anything to him or just glad that he's able to pick that stuff up?
Andrew Maxwell: That is another part of Le'Veon's game is that he's a tremendous pass protector with great vision to see blitzers coming from the back field. I don't know how he does it. I've seen on film during camp where he's been looking this way, and they bring a guy backside, and he darts across and goes to pick him up. So that just makes him all that more valuable to us. Not only can he make the great runs and catches, maybe even more valuable to me as a quarterback is he can see those blitzes and he's not afraid to be physical, step up and take him on.
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