No quarterback breaking news from Mark Dantonio’s weekly press conference today and it wasn’t even the story of the day. Don’t know about you, but it was nice to have a different discussion for once.
Michigan State’s head coach did address a number of topics — some interesting, some funny, others important.
Here are a few and my take on them:
- First, on the quarterbacks (of course), fan-favorite freshman Damion Terry specifically. Dantonio won’t say for certain Terry would redshirt, but it’s clear that’s the plan and, for it not to happen, the other QBs would have to really flop.
“Based on his last week of practice,” Dantonio said (slightly paraphrasing here), “you’re limited what you can do because of his knowledge of this offense.”
So, the Damion Terry chants from the crowd are probably fruitless.
- Another likely redshirt, DeAnthony Arnett. This has become a frequent topic among the MSU media contingent and Dantonio finally addressed it, as the once-heralded wideout again failed to appear on the depth chart.
“If we can redshirt him, we probably will,” Dantonio said of Arnett.
This is the advantage of Arnett getting the family hardship waiver to play immediately last season — he hasn’t burned his redshirt year. Other than playing in the first game this season (We’ll see how MSU works around that; sprained ankle coming.).
For the sake of Arnett’s football future, this makes sense. It gives him two more full seasons to try to crack the playing group. It’s clearly not happening this year. Not sure it will later, either, but this at least gives him a better shot.
- Dantonio talked a bit about the Notre Dame rivalry and its respectful nature compared to another rivalry. That other rivalry, Michigan, of course, appeared out of the blue sky – literally – in East Lansing before the Youngstown State game. A skywriter wrote, “Go Blue.”
Mark Dantonio’s response Tuesday was a funny moment.
He joked that his high school coach was visiting and at the game, and, since Zanesville (Ohio) High School is the Blue Devils, the skywriting was done to honor him.
“It’s a lot of money to do that if you’re from Zanesville,” Dantonio said.
Dantonio is getting better at handling the media. Before I was on this beat, I used to hear how dry he was as a personality. Dantonio has well-timed wit. It can’t be forced by a question and it’s genuine. I appreciate that.
- Lawrence Thomas is still out with an injury. Dantonio said last week he hoped the behemoth sophomore defensive tackle would be back for the Notre Dame game. Now the time table for a return, at the earliest, is after the bye week, at Iowa.
Dantonio said Thomas will continue to play defense, but noted he knows parts of the offense and could be used in spots there.
I think he should, as much as he’s able. If healthy, this is a difference making athlete at several positions and a load at tight end or full back.
- Lastly, Dantonio talked about finding out more about his football team this week – its first marquee game, first road game and first big-time foe. MSU has to be able to run the football, he said.
Notre Dame interior defensive line is about as close to the NFL as you’ll see in college football. I’m curious to see if the Spartans can make them budge.
We’ll learn a ton about this team this week. Was last week an offensive tease, aided by a small-time defense? Or legit progress?