With the Spartans set to open the season in California on Saturday night, they are following a unique travel schedule. The Spartans' game is set to kick off just after 8 pm EST and the Spartans arenâ€™t making the trip until Friday.
Mark Dantonio wants to keep his team on Eastern Time and feels the best way to do it is to show up and just play. He has been working with their time perception this week by having a few practices later in the evening trying to get the team ready.
This is certainly a unique way of dealing with it. He isnâ€™t going to get the team out there and act as if the game is a bowl. It is one game. He is trying to certainly accept that it is a big game, but also accept it as a business trip.
In the past you could count on MSU having milked the trip with the staff spending time at a winery and the players at Disney Land. It would have been a huge expense and they would have started a season, after some success' like they were partying with a bowl. In the past the football program knew it was the big dog and acted like it. Dantonio certainly doesnâ€™t cut corners, but he is cognizant of what this program needs to do and is doing it.
Dantonio isnâ€™t doing this on the cheap. He isnâ€™t doing it to save money like he will later in the season by busing to games they had previously flown to. Instead, he is trying to instill that Spartan football gets rewarded for performance later in the year, but this trip is all about winning. It is his belief that showing up on Friday and keeping on EST that it gives his team the best chance of winning.
One thing you have to admire about Dantonio is his commitment to doing it his way. He is certainly opening himself up to criticism if the Spartans lose this game, but true to his character he doesnâ€™t care. He is doing this his way.
He wants the players to attack each opponent the same. He will have this team on fire for EMU with the same tenacity as they will Cal. Thatâ€™s why he is trying to prepare for this game and approach it the same way they will the other 11.
Right or wrong, you have to respect Coach Dantonioâ€™s commitment to building a program that most closely resembles him and his style. I donâ€™t care if they show up two weeks early or thirty-minutes before the game, I just want a win.
The thing I love about Dantonio is that he makes the decisions that he thinks are best. He doesnâ€™t do focus groups or try to make choices based on public opinion. We'll see if it works, but I for one respect him for doing it his way.