Tom & Lupe Izzo Media Center
East Lansing, MI
In the previous nine completed seasons Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio has won an astonishing 87 games. That number is phenomenal when you consider the terrible shape that the program was in when he arrived.
So he enters his tenth season at the helm, does the coach see anything with this team that reminds him of the previous nine? He said, “Yeah, ten years. Tough to say because we make those comparisons really at the end of the season. I think right now, you're looking at our football team and saying, this is a starting point, this is where we're at. We just elected captains. There's a lot of enthusiasm I think to where we're going with this football team, but it remains to be seen how we come out on the back end, and I think that's where you start to compare things on the back end. “
Dantonio continued, “I can say that we have a very strong senior class, it's a big senior class, and so usually when you have your senior class sitting there like that, if they have their best year and it's large, you're going to have a great football season. That's what we've always tried to do. These guys that are seniors this year, you've got to remember, even going back to if Ed (Davis) is playing, and I'm going to anticipate him playing, and Brandon Clemons, they have won 54 games since they have come here. They have won over half the games that I've won as a head coach.”
He elaborated that experience will help this team, “So they have been in a lot of big-time situations. They have been in three Big 10 Championship games. The rest of our guys have won a lot of football games, as well, 36 or whatever it is, or 43. So there are a lot of guys coming back with a lot of positive experience. But that needs to transition now to 2016 season. I do think we have good leadership and I think it's strong leadership and it's coming from more than just one person, which is a positive.”
Mark Dantonio is not one to white wash anything. He is brutally honest and that can be hard for people to take. In this case that should be very encouraging because the Spartans have a team that coach is having trouble hiding his excitement about.