EAST LANSING – Mark Dantonio likes the direction his football program is headed in terms of facilities.
A summer project that brought significant upgrades to one of Michigan State’s practice fields was complete as the Spartans began preseason camp Saturday morning. Synthetic turf replaced grass and a new permanent video tower replaced the lifts MSU used in the past to film sessions at its practice field.
The upgrades are part of more money being poured into football by the MSU administration over the last few months. Dantonio stressed his appreciation Saturday.
“You can see the tower, you can see the new field, our facilities,” Dantonio said following the Spartans’ first practice Saturday. “There’s no shortage of a conscious effort from our athletic administration to continue to improve us in every way. We came out and talked to (athletic director) Mark Hollis and said ‘Hey, we’ve got to get that turf field down this summer.’ And it was done. Same with the (video) tower. Same with the new facility (at Spartan Stadium) across the street.
“Things are moving in the right direction. This is a great place to be, but that’s because of the people.”
Turf and new video tower on MSU’s practice field pic.twitter.com/XvqiWabXDE
— Brian Calloway (@brian_calloway) August 3, 2013
Dantonio said the practice field upgrades were needed and especially will come in handy later this fall.
“We’ve existed without (turf), but sometimes we get thrown inside because of the wetness, especially in the spring,” Dantonio said. “I wanted to make sure we had the opportunity to cross that bridge right now, and to be able to be outside when it’s wet out in the fall – especially in November.”
MSU also has poured money into its football program with the $24-million project for upgrades to the north end of Spartan Stadium, and the recent hiring of Sound Mind, Sound Body camp director Curtis Blackwell to its football staff.
“I think he brings a whole list of people that are involved with him on a day-to-day level,” Dantonio said of his new hire Saturday.
“(We’re) very appreciative of our athletic administration for creating this position for us.”
NOTE: MSU junior defensive end Marcus Rush was named to the watch list for the Ted Hendricks Award.