MSU Spartans
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Bye Week Update
 
 
 
Jeremy Langford and the Spartans will play at Nebraska on Saturday, Nov. 16.

 
Jeremy Langford and the Spartans will play at Nebraska on Saturday, Nov. 16.
 
 

Nov. 7, 2013

Dantonio Video | Player Interviews

EAST LANSING, Mich. - With Michigan State's second bye week of the season set for Saturday, Nov. 9, the Spartans hit the practice field for the first time this week on Thursday. Prior to practice, head coach Mark Dantonio gave an update on the team to reporters.

No. 18 MSU (8-1, 5-0 Big Ten) will return for a light workout on Sunday to prep for the Nebraska game on Nov. 16 in Lincoln, Neb.

Dantonio also provided an update on a couple of injured players. He said that defensive tackle Tyler Hoover is closer to returning after missing the last two games, but that linebacker Jairus Jones will unfortunately miss the rest of the season. Jones suffered a knee injury in the fourth game of the season at Notre Dame.

Below are excerpts from Dantonio's briefing with the media:

On the bye week...
It's a good time to be off, just to recollect yourself a little bit. I also think just emotionally, just to let it go a little bit, but not have to get rid of it too fast. You want to let it linger a little bit (smiling).

On the difficulty of playing at Nebraska...
I've never beaten Nebraska yet (as an assistant or head coach). When I was at Kansas, that was when the Big Red Machine was rolling. (We faced them) two times when Nick (Saban) was here, and these last two years. It's an exciting place to play, and it will be a great challenge for us...I thought we had them last year; it got away from us.

On if he's worried whether the players are looking ahead, or if the motivation of wanting to beat Nebraska for the first time in program history is keeping them focused...
This is a different time for our players. They haven't experienced that. They can only be concerned about the last two years. I think it's important we handle success and keep our mind looking forward and not look back after today. We're on to the next one. So I think that's important for our guys to do. We have a plan; now, we have to be able to execute that plan.

 

 

On if the memory of last year drives this year's team...
I think our football team has a memory about all of last year, because there were quite a few games that went down to the very end like that. It was the inches last year. We need to concentrate on finding those inches and trying to bring a victory with it.

On handling expectations...
We address it. Just like I always say, the only people that really know what's going on are the people in that bubble, and the people inside of our football team. We've done a pretty good job controlling that. We have an opportunity for our guys to go home this week, and I think probably 80 to 85 percent are going home. I think it's important we stay fresh. We'll concentrate on the Nebraska game as we get closer to it. Our guys also understand the challenge that awaits them in Lincoln. It's a tough place to play; they have a good football team. I think Coach (Bo) Pelini does a great job.

Our seniors know (how to handle the expectations). We'll address it as we go. But my big rallying point has been just to handle success. Act like you've been there a little bit, but understand it's extremely challenging for us and there's a lot of work to do.

On some areas that he wants to see some growth...
Well, you're always looking for the little things that you can do better, whether that's a coverage blow, or whether that's obviously scoring a couple of more points. Red-zone offense, I think we've got some things corrected and we're doing better. That's a pretty detailed question, because there's still a lot of things we have to do better.

On the chance of getting some younger players different roles with the extra practice...
No, we're going to stay the course. We've got guys nicked up, banged up, so the most important thing we've got to do is go into next week healthy.

On if he'll watch the Michigan-Nebraska game...
Absolutely, I'm going to watch that game. You learn about a lot of things as you watch a football game. With the announcers, you learn things statistically and what their history has been. We're going to watch that football game...I enjoy those (bye weeks), especially when you win.

On the momentum the team has...
I feel a buzz among our football team, but like I've said, we've been here before. We've been 8-1 before (2010). I think our message to our football team is keep working, understand what got you here, and try and do it the right way.

On Jairus Jones...
Jairus is out for the season. They re-evaluated that, and they think he's going to need surgery.

It's been tough for Jairus. He's done a great job in the leadership area. He's an outstanding young man and he's concentrating on graduating now. It's too bad because he's an outstanding player, but he's struggled a lot with injuries throughout. He won't get this year back because he's already been redshirted in that capacity.

On Aaron Burbridge...
That's a tough one to gauge. I hope he is (ready to play at Nebraska). I think he could have played some on Saturday, but he wasn't 100 percent, so that was the main focus. We need to get him 100 percent and he needs to start making plays for us. He's a good football player, but he's been a little quiet lately.

On if he's had the chance to look back at the beginning of the season, and to see how much the progress the team has made since then... I really have looked back at that. A lot of people left us sort of dead on the doorstep there with that, but we've sort of rallied back. But it just goes to show you that things can change very, very quickly. It can always get worse, it also can always get better. Stay the course, execute your plan, allow people to grow, keep being positive with people, and good things are around the corner. I think the difference between winning and losing is very, very small. It really is. I mean, even if you look back to last week's game, it's not that big of a difference, believe it or not. It's just the way I feel about it.

On Bennie Fowler...
I think Bennie's done a great job in terms of handling adversity. He's been resilient. When he's been challenged, he's gone back to work. Whenever he's been challenged, he's responded and had a big game.

On where the team needs to improve...
There's a lot of things we're not doing perfect yet. I think we're trying to chase excellence. So every time you look at a football play, offense or defense, somebody of that 11 is not perfect. When you look at the big scheme of things, there's obviously things we can do. We're going to try and chase excellence and be as good as we can be.

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