Chemistry Coming Together
Mark Dantonio
Spartan Digest
Posted Aug 20, 2012

With the loss of several key members of Michigan State’s successful team in 2011, Mark Dantonio has been keeping a close eye on how this year’s team is coming together. On Monday the Spartans head coach told the media he sees it all coming together.

Michigan State enters the final week of preseason camp before they start full preparations for their season opening opponent Boise State.

Mark Dantonio stresses his team is not getting too far ahead of itself.

"We're sort of rounding the curve a little bit in terms of camp," said Dantonio. "It's important that we still stay in that camp mode but begin to work toward other things as well. I'm very satisfied with where we're at, but understand that we still can make progress and we have a lot of work to do yet."

One area the sixth year head coach is excited about is how his team is coming together.

"There's a lot of things we have to prove yet,” said Dantonio. “But the feeling among this team is that they work very well with each other, they like each other, they get along, they push each other, and they have fun doing it. A lot of guys have an opportunity to play, so if our guys have an opportunity to play, then that's good for chemistry...That creates excitement for everybody."

While fans are in a wait and see mode about first year starting quarterback Andrew Maxwell. Dantonio feels confident the junior signal caller can get the job done.

"I have a lot of confidence in Andrew because of the type of person he is and because I've seen him and how he's led,” said Dantonio. “That's the biggest thing that I'm excited about is his leadership abilities and how our other players respond to him. He's got a great arm, he's got physical ability, but when you get to gameday, it's about decisions.

“So there's going to be a learning curve there and with Kirk (Cousins) and how he had the experience to make those decisions, but Andrew has the skills to do all of these different things. His makeup, in terms of mentally, is very similar to Kirk's: he's competitive, he's loose, he's very humble, he's got good interaction with our players, and he's a very intelligent player. All those things point in that direction, but I'll make those comparisons at the end of his career, not at the beginning. I think Kirk Cousins has demonstrated where he's at."

While Dantonio is working to keep his team focused on the task at hand, he also knows opening the season with a ranked team in Boise State gets everyone excited.

"I think the norm is for everyone to get excited for your first game,” said Dantonio. “Regardless of who you play, there's going to be a competitive nature to it. I think the media exposure, the national TV exposure, the night game, the crowd, the new scoreboards, all of that creates additional excitement for our guys. We had the new video boards on display the other day, and they're unbelievable. I think it will be a very interactive atmosphere for our fans as well."

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