Football Media Day Coach/Player Quotes - OFFENSE

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MICHIGAN STATE FOOTBALL
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Football Media Day
Coach/Player Quotes - OFFENSE
Aug. 7, 2007
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Offensive Coordinator Don Treadwell
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On Tuesday’s first practice:
Certainly, it all started with what Ken Mannie did during the summer in conditioning. That set the tone and it’s a big part of coming back. Our players wanted to show us that they were in great shape to hit the ground running so to speak. Of course, actually being allowed to get on the field and have an actual practice is always an exciting time. We have some veterans coming back and I’m sure they were anxious to pick up where they left off in the spring.
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On players aiming to impress the coaching staff early:
That’s always the goal of the kids. Coach Dantonio has told everyone that there are no positions that are off limits, everybody will be able to compete. I think the veterans are trying to impress early, and that’s a good thing. They’re trying to show the staff and their fellow players why they’re fortunate to be a starter. You see a lot of good energy and drive like that.
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On the strengths of the offense:
What we want to do at this point is continue. We’re starting a lot of things that we did in the spring. For example, we’d like to expand on a lot of the concepts we talked about before. It’s pretty generic in nature in the spring, and you want to continue to grow with that, especially the veteran players. That’s neat and challenging for those guys. As we move through the process we want to continue to evaluate our young men and really continue to find out who are playmakers are. Once we do that, we can highlight those guys in the offense.
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On the team’s toughness and how it relates to the offense:
Coach Dantonio has sent a message that we want to improve our toughness, both mentally and physically. Certainly, he has set the tone that we will emphasize running the football. There’s always going to be balance (in the offense). It’s a mindset; we have the preparation to run the football and let our offense develop.
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On how good junior running back Javon Ringer can be:
I think there’s an undefined answer to that at this point, but in a positive way. We have had the chance to see him do some things in the spring. He came back in great shape and he’s ready to go. So we want to work with him as much as we can to utilize him in the offense.
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On how generic the offense will be early in practice:
There are a lot of different aspects to it. We have a foundation; every position coach has his foundation and we go from there. The challenge you have with that is that you have upperclassmen and new guys that you want to get in there. We want to challenge the upperclassmen to the point where they know where they are, but at the same time you want them to be sensitive to the freshmen and know that they will really have to start playing.
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Running Backs Coach Dan Enos
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On moving from the spread offense:
Once they buy into the philosophy, then they see that there is a benefit to this for the whole football team. There are so many different benefits, team toughness and creating a physical mindset. When they finally do buy into it and say, Hey, this is going to help our football team, it’s all much easier from there.
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I felt really good when I walked into the running backs meeting yesterday. We had put in a rough play and they were all mad that we didn’t put in power, which is our staple. But they wanted that play because it’s a downhill, physical football play. I told them, Hey guys, we’re in shorts; that’s why we didn’t put it in today. But I felt really good that I know that these guys have bought into where we’re going with the offense.
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On the challenges of changing the offense:
I think its in mentality. I think there is some technique involved, if you talk to Coach [Dan] Roushar, our offensive line coach. But I know, for example, that we probably spend a lot more time working pass protection. He’s really had to teach them fundamentally how to do some different things in the run game than they’ve been taught beforehand.
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On running back Javon Ringer:
With Javon, I think the sky is the limit. He is an exceptional football player and an exceptional person. He’s fun to be around and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to coach him and be around him everyday. I put him the the category of the great running backs who have played here.
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I’d like to see him be able to go through a year injury-free, knock on wood, where he’s the main guy, getting his 20-25 carries a game and then see what is all totals up to at the end of the season.
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He’s tough; he’s explosive, and pays great attention to detail. He’s complete. We don’t ever feel like it’s third and two or third and one, and we’ve got to get him out. Or it’s third and nine and we’ve got to get him out, because we can’t use him as a wide receiver. We feel like he can fit into every part of our game plan. That’s special.
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He’s a tremendous worker and he’s got tremendous character. What I mean by that is that when no one is watching him, you know he’s doing the right thing. That young man is going to take care of business on and off the field. He’s a team guy, he wants to win. He’s a competitor. He’s a great example for the young backs that just arrived.Â
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Offensive Line Coach Dan Roushar
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On his experiences in changing offensive schemes:
Three times I have been a part of taking a program over and trying to make it your own. Each of those offenses was different. One was a wishbone, the other was more of a spread-oriented offense. So I guess I’ve been through it a little bit.
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On what it takes to make the changes on offense:
I think the first thing is understanding the scheme and what are technique and fundamentals are. I think the second thing, and this might not be different than any other offense, is the attitude we’re trying to create. We’re trying to impose our will, and that’s certainly something you work on every day.
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On the players’ receptiveness to change:
I think there’s always a time where there is a trust issue. That’s true in any relationship. I think our guys welcomed our coaching staff. And speaking personally for the offensive line, they’re learning me and I’m learning them every day.
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On the offensive line’s mentality:
When you go into a game, you’re going to line up and run double-teams and powers 20 times a game. That’s going to be much different than draws, plays on the perimeter and misdirections. When you look at that, you’re seeing a box of six defenders and seven- and eight-man fronts. So those short runs aren’t nearly as pretty, but we feel they’re very effective for what we’re trying to accomplish.
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Tight Ends Coach Mark Staten:
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On Kellen Davis:
We’ve talked about what his goals are, not only at this level but what his aspirations are for the next level. He’s busting with his body. What he does with it is entirely up to him. So we’ve been really paying attention to details with him. He definitely made some gains this summer and we’ve got to continue that and work toward making him the best he can be. Having him overachieve is a key to our success in the tight end position.
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And in the offensive line position, we need to be better. The best credit you get is the end of the year credit when it all comes together, when people say, Oh wow, they really protected their quarterback well, or That tight end is a really great target, awesome blocks, runs well.
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On the younger guys coming in:
They are very excited about being here. They feel like they can contribute seeing what our offense was and what it is. Tight end is a really big factor in both the run game and the pass game. Those bigger-bodied type kids who have the potential to be 255 pounds and run very well, it’s going to take them a little while to transition and understand. Knowing their reads and coverages, the more they do, the more they see, the better they’ll do.
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On tight ends in general:
They have to understand that there is always someone competing for their job, there is always someone there nipping at your heels. They have to prepare and go about their everyday work as though they’ll save their job.
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Quarterbacks Coach Dave Warner
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On Brian Hoyer:
He’s a confident young man. He knows that he has the good chance of being the guy for us this year and he relished that opportunity and that challenge. Confidence for him is something that is very much a positive. He’s got great arm strength and I think he’s got a great release. As far as mechanics, I think those are things that certainly lend themselves to being a good quarterback, as well.
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I think Brian Hoyer’s strength is more in his arm, and we’re going to take advantage of that. Certainly as a quarterback you need to do some things with your feet. But the quarterback run game like you saw last year with Drew Stanton - having quarterback runs called in the huddle - are probably going to be much less than what you saw last year.
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On backups Clay Charles and Conner Dixon:
That remains to be seen. We certainly have some guys who have talent although there’s not a lot of experience there. Clay Charles and Conner Dixon are two young men, two freshmen, who are just entering the program. That’s the big thing that we’re looking forward to seeing here over the next few weeks is how that all shakes out. That’s a really big question for us. We feel confident that the talent is there but it’s just a matter of who’s going to take the bull by the horns and take charge.
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Senior Center John Masters
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On the chemistry and cohesiveness of the offensive line:
We have been together and we had so many rotations last year, I think that no matter what the lineup is, we feel good together and we have a lot of guys that can play. It is just exciting to see what can happen this season.
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On his comfort level starting at the center position:
It’s not really a comfort level, just because I am the center and touching the ball. I have been playing football since third grade. Having played football for this long you just kind of get used to it.
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On offensive line coach Dan Roushar:
He is a good guy. He came in, tells us straight how it is. He has made it really easy to transition. It is exciting to see what the offense is going to bring this season.
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Senior Tight End Kellen Davis
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On what head coach Mark Dantonio has brought to the program:
He brings a different type of leadership, a new attitude and a new way of doing things. [Coach Dantonio] is always talking about pushing forward and getting better everyday, even if it is a little bit—a little bit adds up over time. He brings a new attitude and swagger into the coaching staff and the players.
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On the anticipation of playing Michigan:
We put a huge importance on the Michigan game. We have a clock that keeps track of how many days we have before we play. That’s basically our goal, to beat them. They are our target.
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On his role this year:
I’m hoping to do all I can this year, from blocking to catching the ball, getting down field. I’m here to do whatever my coach asks me to do. I just want to try to play to the best of my ability and help the team out.
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On the offensive line’s chemistry:
Right now we are pretty straight. Coming out of spring ball, we haven’t had that much time with the new offense so camp is going to be big for us. It’s a time to gel - we have to get comfortable with each other and the schemes.
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On the pressure to perform:
There is always pressure to perform. This is the Big Ten, this is Michigan State. Anytime you are in a leadership role or a veteran, you have to step up. Especially a position like mine where you can make such an impact on the game.
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On his comfort level with quarterback Brian Hoyer:
I feel great with Brian, we have been friends since we got here. He throws a great ball.
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Senior Running Back Jehuu Caulcrick
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On the transition with the new staff:
The transition is going really well, the coaches are excited to be here. They are a group of guys who want to be here at Michigan State and that’s what we need. They are fired up for the season and that gets us fired up.
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On his senior year:
It is my last year here playing as a Spartan and I have to go out with a bang.
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On modeling himself after other running backs:
I watch a lot of film on Jerome Bettis, I focused on his pad level, and I tried to utilize that in my game.
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On his speed and conditioning:
To be honest, I feel I have very deceptive speed for my size. People may not think I am as fast as I am, but I know I am. Just given the right opportunity I will show it.
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On the strengths of the team:
It is definitely going to be the total team toughness. We are going to be a mentally tough team, that is the biggest thing.
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Junior Quarterback Brian Hoyer
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On the new style of offense:
We go from running the spread, where you are spreading the field out, and going back to the pro-style offense with a fullback, more two tight-end sets, hand the ball off more and getting Javon (Ringer), Jehuu (Caulcrick) and A.J. (Jimmerson) some more carries and establish the running game.
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Would you like to throw the ball more?:
Throwing the ball 61 times in one game is enough for me (at Penn State last November). Going back to throwing 20 to 30 times a game, I feel that when you have a balanced offense, you are going to be more successful. Establishing the running game is going to help the passing game and vice versa.
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How does the team shake the attitude that it left last season with?:
With the new coaching staff, the great thing is that it’s a new start. Everyone can get their mindset into a new attitude, a new winning attitude, because it’s a clean slate for everybody. What happened last year, you wipe it completely clean. Now you come out and try to change the mindset of the program.
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How monumental is that?:
It’s big and it’s been a lot of hard work, just with the workouts in the summer establishing a winning attitude, finishing every drill. It’s something that’s going to help us throughout the season.��
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Do you want to forget about the past or keep it in the back of your mind?:
I think you learn from it and keep it in the back of your mind and remember how bad it felt to lose eight games, how bad it felt when those seniors walked out the door for the last time and didn’t go to a bowl game. You remember that and it’s something you use as motivation.
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On dealing with adversity:
Throughout any football season there is going to be adversity. That’s what we’ve been working on this summer. They’ve been putting us through some real adverse situations, real tough situations with our workouts and everything. That’s something we’ve been working on. Obviously, it’s nothing compared to having adversity in a game, but overcoming that adversity is when you are going to make steps forward.
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What kind of adverse situations have they put you in this fall?
The workouts have been harder than I’ve ever had. When you are dead tired and you have to run 10 more sprints, that’s some kind of adversity that you have to push through and fight through and kind of help push your teammates along and get through the adverse situations.
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What are the goals of this team? .500, win a Big Ten Championship?:
Coach Dantonio talked about it the other day in a team meeting. You take it one step at a time. Right now our goal is to get through fall camp with everyone healthy. Then the goal is to win the UAB game. Then you keep progressing through the season. I don’t want to say that you set the bar for .500, because that’s just ridiculous you know. I want to win every game. As crazy as some people might think that sounds because of where they have us placed right now, I don’t think 6-6 … we have the talent to win more games than that. Like I said you take it one step at a time: fall camp, UAB, Bowling Green and so on.
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Did you feel like you were challenged?
Starting from the winter conditioning program, it was probably one of the toughest things I’ve gone through since I’ve been here. It sounds crazy to say but the summer was probably even a little harder than the winter conditioning, the stuff they put us through. But I feel like I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been. I know I could probably say that for most of my team. Not just physical, but mental shape with the adversity that we were put through. I feel like we are a lot tougher than we’ve been.
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How much did Drew Stanton prepare you for your role?:
Playing behind Drew, I wouldn’t be the same player I am today if I hadn’t sat behind him and learned from him. He was great. If I ever had a question, he was there to answer it and help me out. We still keep in touch, and talk maybe once or twice a week. I’m glad that I have the relationship with him that I do.
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Junior running back Javon Ringer
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On his experience last week in Chicago at Big Ten Media Day:
I had a really good time there. Otis (Wiley) and I both felt that it was a really big honor to be selected to go there and represent our team. There weren’t very many players there from each team, so we felt really honored to be there. We were asked a lot of questions and went through a lot of interviews, but overall it was really an enjoyable experience for me.
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On his mindset being different this season knowing he will get more carries per game:
No, it’s not necessarily different. I do realize that it’s a strong possibility, but I’m not letting that worry me and I’m not stressing over it. I’m just taking everything day-by-day.Â
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On Brian Hoyer’s readiness to lead this team:
Brian Hoyer is definitely ready to lead this team. I’d have to say he’s been ready since the Penn State game last year.
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Junior offensive tackle Jesse Miller
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On learning a new system:
Every year we start learning from the beginning. We don’t get everything at once, but it’s a learning process and we just take it all one thing at a time.
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On preparation for the UAB game:
Right now we are focusing on us (the team). When we start getting closer to the first game then we will focus more on UAB.
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On some of the changes that Coach Roushar has put into place this season:
It’s more of a power-based offense this season. We’re more get-up, get past them, versus passing and a two-point stance.
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On what the group learned from all of last year’s injuries:
What we learned is you always need a backup; someone who can step in and there won’t be a huge drop off. So we make sure our backup knows the plays and the system so they can step in.Â
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On what he learned from playing his first season in the Big Ten, and his approach in his second year:
At first last season I was very nervous, but I got more comfortable towards the end of the year. You always have to be nervous before a new season, but I’m also going to keep that confidence.
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Senior left tackle Mike Gyetvai
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On sitting out most of the spring, and being ready to get back at it this fall:
Yeah, absolutely, no one likes to be put on the sideline, but when stuff like that happens it definitely increases your drive to get back out there
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On protecting the quarterback’s blind side:
It’s the golden spot on the offense, and it’s the one that is always kind of looked at from the fans perspective. Everyone on the offensive line might not look at it that way, because we know that everyone has to do their part in order for it all to work.
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