The Weekly Sampling From Big Ten Coaches
Spartan Nation talked to various Coaches around the Big Ten, Tuesday.Â Here's some highlights and insight to get you ready for this weekend.
On the production of the Spartan Tight Ends to date, and whatâ€™s expected from them moving forward:
â€œWe ask a lot of themâ€¦Theyâ€™re often asked to be at the point of attack in the run gameâ€¦(involved) in the protection gameâ€¦and then a step further, in the passing game.Â Many times theyâ€™re asked to be a big part of thatâ€¦Certainly our lead catalyst in that area has been Charlie Gantt, heâ€™s just been a tremendous main stay in there, and now in his Senior year, he has just developed the size and strength that has allowed him to really become a dominant individual up front when it comes to the run game, but yet still maintain the ability to be a very good pass receiver down field because he has excellent handsâ€¦They will continue (Tight Ends) to be a part of what we do (offensively) overall.â€
On whether the Spartan Pass Defense (currently ranked 111th in Div. 1) could influence his Offensive play calling:
â€œWeâ€™re pretty much going to go out and do what we doâ€¦Our goal (each week) is to be very balanced, so I wouldnâ€™t say that (pass defense struggles) affects us as we game plan, or really even as weâ€™re into the game.Â The only thing changes for us would be obviously if we would need to find ourselves maybe in a â€œtwo minuteâ€ situation, or in something of that nature, then in those scenarios, obviously the focus is to throw the ball.Â But outside of that, weâ€™ve got tremendous confidence in our Defense and Special Teams.â€
On how he found out about Coach Dâ€™s heart incident:
â€œI didnâ€™t know about it that night.Â I woke up (Sunday) and picked up my phone and saw a text message from Becky (Dantonio), and that was the first I heard of itâ€¦By the time I looked at my phone, it was a little after 8:00 in the morning.Â The good news was, (they) went to the hospital and everything was taken care ofâ€¦So my initial reaction was one of relief, after the surprise of it even occurring.Â Heâ€™ll do whatever they ask him to do, and be grateful for the fact that heâ€™s had such good care.â€
On whether â€œLittle Giantsâ€ was inspired from the â€œTressel Ballâ€ (traditionally conservative) playbook:
â€œItâ€™s interesting, we called a fake field goal to the right in the National Championship Game in â€™02 when he was with us, but it didnâ€™t have the same results.Â It got stopped.Â But it wasnâ€™t the exact same playâ€¦I like to tease and say that their (MSUâ€™s) Special Teams Coordination, who happens to be my nephew, Mike Tressel, should get all the kudos for that oneâ€¦But like any other play, the play is not significant until itâ€™s called at the right time, and is executed properlyâ€¦and that was magical.â€
On his unique and long relationship with MSU Offensive Coordinator Don Treadwell:
â€œI was his positioncoach at Miami (OH) back in the 70s and then I left prior to his Senior year actually, and went to Syracuse.Â Then we kept in a little bit of touch, but back then there werenâ€™t cell phones, and tweets, and twimmers, or whatever there are nowâ€¦I could tell after the NFL opportunities ended, there was no doubt that (coaching) was the route he wanted to go.Â Fortunately Coach Reed, who was his Head Coach at Miami, thought so much of him that he took him down to North Carolina St.Â When I went to Youngstown St., he was one of the first guys I called and hired at Youngstown St. in 1986, and he stayed 6 seasons with us and was our Offensive Coordinator when we won our first (Division 1-AA) National Championship.Â Heâ€™s had a great career.Â Don Treadwell is a special guy, and I know Mark Dantonio feels very comfortable that Donny will do whatever needs to be done.â€
On the concern of the Wolverines Defensive struggles (ranked 103rd overall in Div. 1) and the impact it has on his play calling:
â€œIf our Defense is struggling a bit, weâ€™re going to try to control the clock, or try to control the drive, and not have a lot of â€œ3 and outsâ€ offensively, but thatâ€™s always a goalâ€¦I think if you donâ€™t have as experienced a Defense or if theyâ€™re having trouble on a particular day, you take that into consideration, but youâ€™ve also gotta try to score to win.â€
On the concept of scoring too quickly at the end of a half, or end of a game, and itâ€™s affect on play calling:
â€œSure it does (impact play calling)â€¦In our last drive against Notre Dame a couple weeks ago, we had all 3 (time outs) near the end because we wanted to get the clock down as low as we could as long as we were moving the football and had plenty of time to score.â€
On avoiding looking past this week (Akron) to a revenge game with Michigan next week:
â€œItâ€™s the way we approach things in our program, year round.Â We really stress one at a time whether itâ€™s a day in the weight room, or a morning work out, or spring practice, and try to focus on the process of getting better.Â I donâ€™t think our program is to the point where we can overlook anybody.Â â€
On the concept of â€œscoring too quicklyâ€ at the end of the half, or end of the game:
â€œâ€¦I think at the end of the half, you might want to milk the clock the best you canâ€¦At the end of the game, that gets really tough because if youâ€™re behind, you have to score.Â You have to take the lead, and you canâ€™t assume anything, so that makes it very difficultâ€¦When youâ€™re behind at the end of the game, getting the lead is paramount.â€
On the guts it took Coach D to call â€œLittle Giants" in OT versus Notre Dame:
â€œIâ€™m not sure Iâ€™ve seen one more gutsy than that, other than maybe the famous Boise St. â€œStatue of Libertyâ€ in that (BCS) Bowl game against Oklahoma.â€
On whether you have to be pretty secure in your job to make a call like that (â€œLittle Giantsâ€)?
â€œI think thereâ€™s a lot of truth to that.Â Markâ€™s done an outstanding job, and is certainly confident in his kids.Â I think thatâ€™s what it shows as a Coach (confidence in his program), thatâ€™s the first thing that struck my mind.â€
On hearing of Coach Dantonioâ€™s Heart incident:
â€œI went in the office early to get started on our ball game this weekâ€¦and someone said, â€œhey, did you hear about Mark?â€Â And I said, â€œNo, I didnâ€™t hear anything about it.â€Â Then they told me that he had this heart problemâ€¦It bothered me because I think heâ€™s just a great person, and a great coach, and a real attribute to our profession.â€
On how he found out about Coach Dâ€™s heart incident:
â€œIâ€™ve got a few friends on the staff up there at Michigan St., and one of them sent me a text asking if Iâ€™d read online what happened to Coach D, and I said â€œNo.â€Â So I turned on the computer and took a look at it on Sunday morning and saw the unfortunate newsâ€¦We just wish him a speedy recovery.Â Markâ€™s an intense guy, heâ€™s a great coach, and just a tremendous guy, and hopefully heâ€™s recovering comfortably.â€
On momentum, and whether you just let it grow naturally or work actively to grow it within a team:
â€œWe attack it!Â Thereâ€™s no question about that.Â I learned a long time ago in this game that momentum is one of the key ingredients to success, and when you have it, youâ€™ve gotta sustain it.Â And when you donâ€™t, you gotta find ways and create ways to go out and capture it.Â I donâ€™t believe that only happens on game day, I think youâ€™ve gotta work at that every single day, not only in football, but also academically and socially, and then for us competitively, with recruiting.â€
On Coach Dâ€™s â€œLittle Giantsâ€ call:
â€œCongratulations to Mark and the Spartans, theirs worked, and mine didnâ€™t in the Outback Bowl (â€™09 against Auburn in OT when trailing 38-35).Â So you know, sometimes things like that happenâ€¦It was a similar fake that they ran against Texas Tech, not the same one, but very similar to the one they ran in the (Alamo) Bowl game.Â But Iâ€™m not surprised by Mark, heâ€™s had some trickeration up his sleeve in the kicking game based on my studies of what they do at Michigan St., so it was just a well executed play and great job.â€
P.A.T. (Perhaps Another Thoughtâ€¦)
- Michigan State should no longer invite visiting bands to play during games at Spartan Stadium.Â Â Itâ€™s Spartan Stadium, not a neutral site.Â Â The Notre Dame band was way too big, too loud, overcrowded the sideline, and interfered with Spartan fans' game day experience.Â Â Why would you want to take away from your home field advantage against arguably your biggest National rival?
- Based on a comparison of the Spartans Saturday night and past rivalry games (ND, UM, etc.), the upperclassmen need to take an even stronger leadership role on this team.Â Â Some of the playersâ€™ demeanor and attitude was not quite where it needed to be, well into the 4th Quarter.Â Â This was arguably the Spartansâ€™ biggest rival, on National TV, in possibly the biggest game of the Head Coachâ€™s career.Â Â If you canâ€™t bring it all then, when can you bring it?Â Â If this team wants to compete for Championships, they must become tougher mentally and play with more passion and focus throughout all 60 minutes of each game.Â Â Urgency should not be an issue with this football team.Â Â After Northern Colorado, the pre-season laughers will be over.Â Â If the 2010 Spartans think they can simply â€œturn it on,â€ they can just as easily stumble to win 6 or 7 games.Â Â The Spartan Nation has already seen that movie many times in the last 25 years, we don't really need to see it again.
- Last week reminded us once again that if nothing else, things around Michigan State Athletics always seem to have a flare for the dramatic.