Spartan FOOTBALL News and Notes 01/25/10 Edition

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Ken Mannie will have his way with the Spartans this off season.

Ken Mannie will have his way with the Spartans this off season.

There has been a lot of coverage by the media for the alleged “Reinstated” players from the Rather Hall incident. I have not read it, but I am even told there was an article critical of Mark Dantonio because he said he would wait for the repercussions of the legal system before handing down a final punishment. I can tell you this. 

 

In an EXCLUSIVE interview with Spartan Nation on Friday, Mark Dantonio emphasized again that no matter what the media has said, the players involved in the Rather Hall incident are not reinstated. They are not involved in team workouts or lifting. They aren’t running. Nothing. Are they around the players? Yes. They are not reinstated as reported and NO decision will be coming towards that until AFTER their legal issues are resolved. 

 

Coach Dantonio carefully chose his words at the Greg Jones press conference no matter what others heard or wanted to hear. Spartan Nation has NEVER reported that they were reinstated. We said at the time exactly were the issue sits today. From our football news and notes column on the January 14, 2010 I wrote, “Allowed around the team.”

 

With 19 commitments for 2010 the Spartans still may not be done on the DL. Look for them to add at least one and possibly two more guys there ideally. Along with a DB and possibly an OL. This is a very solid class. For the third straight year they have acquired young men who have the upside to play sooner rather than later. Under the previous staff there were several reaches whose potential was farther down the road.

 

I am truly shocked at the amount of email I am getting about the vacant assistant coaches job vacated by Dan Enos. Dantonio is focused on recruiting and will make the pick after signing day.

 

Don Japinga passed away this weekend. He was a dear friend. I have not written a lot about his passing because I just can’t. When someone passed you are not close to it is very easy. This one is hurting too much for me to do it right now. I will. What a friend and man. I sure loved you Don. He had a heart of a Lion.

 

Coach Ken Mannie did nothing short of a miraculous job delivering last fall to Mark Dantonio a team ready to play football. These winter workouts are killers, but they build a lot and they draw on it. One player told me after the Alamo Bowl that in that fourth quarter they remembered those workouts. Let’s hope they put that effort into this year.

 

Here is a name to think about this spring. He red shirted this past season, but it is Dana Dixon. Not only a super kid, but a big 6’3” CB and he will compete for a job. He showed flashes of instinct and athleticism this past season on the scout team that had some folks shaking their heads. Many thought had he not been a true freshman, he would have played. The staff kept a red shirt on him and that will pay nice dividends down the road.

 

The Spartans won nine games last season. They were four plays from 6-6. This season they won 6 and were four plays from 10-2. Think about that and Mark Dantonio’s, “Football is a game of inches,” quote. If the Spartans had won six games last season and 10 this year imagine how much easier some would have taken that.

 

What assistant coach will be the busiest this off-season? Obviously Da Bang Stick Harlon Barnett, but I think one other one will more. He is one of the best coaches on the staff and that is Dan Roushar. He has to replace three starters and as we projected after the season, I think AT LEAST two will be red shirt freshman.

 

Could Mark Dantonio add his 20th recruit to the 2010 class on Tuesday? There is a good chance. Stay tuned.

 

For those of you wondering, the January Spartan Nation Magazine will go out electronically on Wednesday and will mail out on Saturday.