Dantonio Media Day Remarks On Winston, Goals
Mark Dantonio
Managing Editor
Posted Aug 12, 2009


Our goals will always be our goals here, be to win a Big Ten Championship, compete in a BCS game. To do that, we have to focus on the task at hand, and the focus right now is summer camp --Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio.

COACH DANTONIO: First of all, I guess, to just basically have an opening statement a little bit, I think that first day of practice is always very, very exciting for everybody, for our entire football team.

I don't care really whether you're in high school, college, the NFL. I think any time you have an opportunity to go practice in your first practice, I think it's going to be special, sort of renews that fire in you a little bit that you had maybe as a youngster at some point in time. So we were very, very excited to get back out there yesterday and really just get back to basics.

You know, we have a lot of freshmen out there that we just have to teach how to practice, the type of tempo that we want, the different practice formats that we have, the different drills that we have and those type of things. That was basically the whole gamut yesterday.

The quarterbacks got back into the thick of things. It's timing, as I said yesterday before practice, the timing of the receivers, the timing of our quarterbacks. All of those different things play into this. So very, very exciting first day. No big problems came out of it.

I think staff continuity is important. Some people weren't there, I guess, at the Big Ten meetings. I think staff continuity gives us an opportunity to continue to critique what we have and try and get better, take our younger players and our freshmen, I guess, is what I would say and try and say is that player better than the second team or third team player and try and get them into that mode as opposed to trying to find out what all these players can do. So we have an experienced staff, and I think that that has helped greatly in our early success here in the first two years.

Senior players, again, it's about finding leadership. We want to make sure that we don't pick our captains until the end of summer practice, so we're going to find out who they are then, do some different things throughout our summer practices that allow us to try and figure that out. If you're going to have a great football team, your seniors have to play best in their final year. I think that's what happened in '07 and '08; we had great individual performances by our seniors and that's what led to that success.

I guess the concerns that we would have or the issues or the things that we really have to look at as we go through practice throughout the fall camp really is our quarterback situation, how that's going to play out. I'm sure everybody is interested in that.

I guess some of our tailback situations, we lost star power when Javon Ringer left, there's no doubt about that. It looked like he had a great game the other day in the Hall of Fame game, the preseason game. But somebody has to come to the forefront there. Somebody has to emerge, and really when you look at it, it's going to be an opportunity probably for two guys to get 150 to 200 carries each or for three guys to get 100 carries each, but whatever the situation dictates, that will play itself out.

I think the important thing is realize we have a senior there, A.J. Jimmerson, so that's why I had him come to speak to the media today because he's the one guy, he's the off returner on the kickoff, but he's the one guy who is a senior, and everybody else is sort of in the thick of it, including our two freshmen. So we'll see how that all plays out here in the next couple weeks. But that should be interesting for everybody.

Our freshmen, the opportunities that they'll have, getting caught up to speed, the learning curve, who's going to emerge as some of the freshmen that are going to be playing, that's always interesting to me. We had six play in '07, I believe, and I believe we had six or seven play last year, as well. Those young players I think will make their mark. We've got some exciting guys, I can already see that, who can do some things.

We need to play up, win the close games, continue to win the close games and play when we have a great opponent in a marquee game, and then we need to continue to try and build the foundation and build on what we've got.

I'm going to open it up for questions here in a second because I think that's probably always the best way to do this, but really in closing before I put it up to questions, I want to address the Glenn Winston situation again. I've made a public statement about that, and I'll stand by that statement.

I also do want to add, though -- I've tried to put myself in that situation which the two families were in a couple of times. I put myself in that situation a lot. I've tried to feel for them and see where they're at with things.

So it's important to recognize that we deeply regret the situation. I'm sorry for any pain that has been caused to the two families, to the Sturges family or A.J. or to Ian Montgomery and his family. It should have never happened.

But with that being said, we have to support Glenn. He's a player. He's got -- he needs to have somebody to support him, and I try and support our players in that regard. He's got a lot of work to do before he even plays. But that's sort of where we're at with that whole things, and that will be the end of the discussion with it.

But I'll open it up for questions. Our goals will always be our goals here, be to win a Big Ten Championship, compete in a BCS game. To do that, we have to focus on the task at hand, and the focus right now is summer camp.



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