Dantonio is a Solid Choice!

Hondo S. Carpenter

Dantonio is a Solid Choice!

MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon can take credit for them getting a solid man to lead the MSU football program. Mark Dantonio is known for a solid work ethic and more importantly bedrock of character.

Leading the MSU football program can be a difficult task; but I am confident it is one that Coach Dantonio can do. Was he my first choice? No. Was he MSU’s first choice? No.  Do I think he was a good choice? Yes.

Dantonio brings some inherent qualities that I not only like but feel are intricate to a successful football program. Not only does he have extensive recruiting connections, he knows how to build a program using those—he did that with Tressel twice and Saban at MSU.

I can tell you that the players were certainly excited with the announcement of Dantonio as head coach. There was some reserve on the part of offensive players who were recruited for the spread, but they will now have to learn to embrace the pro-style offense that will be in place.Â

MSU needed to bring in a coach with head coaching experience and Dantonio brings that. Too many coaches, like Mike Shula at Alabama, suffer from “learning on the job”; Dantonio won’t have to do that here. Not only can Dantonio make fast and accurate adjustments during a game he is known for his extraordinary game planning. MSU may struggle at first due to a lack of talent but their will not be a lack of coaching and the players will be ready to play come game day.

I was highly critical of JLS because of his inability to coach properly. It is no secret that he had the talent to win at MSU. There was a clear example of this during the Michigan game this year: On a 3rd and 1 play this year, Demond Williams was playing 14 yards off the line of scrimmage; Henne quickly recognized this, audibled and completed a short pass for an easy first down. Many people were critical of Williams; however, it was the scheme, not the talent that was the failure in this case and many others throughout the JLS tenure. Under Dantonio, MSU will not make mistakes like this; there will be no coaching blunders or scheming blunders under the new regime at MSU.

Coach Dantonio wants to be here; he has a sense of belonging and purpose in the community. Fair or not, JLS never really fit in with Mid-Michigan values. While he certainly could have done more to try and embrace the community, the community never really accepted his personality either—it wasn’t his job to fit in either, it was his job to win football games. Yet, fitting in is certainly a necessity to success and Dantonio already belongs. He contains the values that MSU fans do—hard word, dedication and toughness. These characteristics will allow him easier success and more credibility with the fans that support him and the program.Â

George Perles today is a very polarizing figure in the MSU community; however, whether you like him or not, when he returned in 1983 to coach MSU the fans were euphoric. He was one of us and he was home. Not only did Dantonio say that yesterday, but also he meant it. He does not mince words and he does not play games. You won’t see the silly hysterics that we have had to deal with previously. MSU has finally rid itself of an embarrassing football program. He loves his players; they are the ones who will confirm this, he’ll never brag about it. There is no doubt Mark Dantonio loves MSU. While that is not a guaranteed predecessor to success—Bobby Williams loved (and still does) MSU, but he failed on the job—it certainly helps with your desire to succeed. We needed a good fit. Mark Dantonio fits.

Dantonio did not come to MSU for the money; Cincinnati matched the financial terms of the offer. With that, we know that he is at MSU because he wants to be here. That is not a sole reason to pick a guy, but it is a great thing to appreciate if he is your guy; Mark Dantonio was undoubtedly ours.

MSU could have hired a lot of other people; and they almost did. However, at this point it would be foolish to go behind the scenes of the search. The point is that MSU got a new coach and they made a solid choice. While not my first choice, he certainly had the credentials and credibility to be. Mark Dantonio is a great coach and a great man, which is just what MSU needed.

Welcome back coach! It’s great to have you back at MSU it is where you belong!

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