Dantonio talks Michigan; depth chart notes and links

It’s Michigan week and Mark Dantonio is serving as the spokesperson for his program with the media not having access to any players.

Dantonio officially kicked off Michigan week with today’s press conference and there were a lot of interesting tidbits and comments.

After being down in Ann Arbor on Monday for Brady Hoke’s weekly press conference, its clear the two coaches tackle the rivalry in different ways (Graham Couch will have more about that this week).

Dantonio has always embraced it and had this to say about the different ways he and Hoke approach it:

“Just people take a different view of different things. Maybe it’s depending where you’re at at the time. My background, my coaching background, brought me in here ’95 with Coach Saban. So we experienced some things back then. I guess it is as it is sometimes.

“I’ve never made the rules here. Just playing the game. So if you follow my drift, I’ve never made the rules here,” Dantonio said. “These rules were established a long time ago. I’m just playing the game. I’m just involved in the rivalry. I’m just a small little player in that rivalry.”

Dantonio went on to add that they have always made the Michigan game the most important and said he had great respect on how Hoke handles himself in regards to the rivalry.

“To be honest with you, I think Brady Hoke handles himself at times much better than I do,” Dantonio said. ‘”I have a great respect in how he handles his job, how he’s gone about his business there. I just go about mine and hope that other guy doesn’t come out in this press conference.”

As far as Saturday’s game against the No. 23 Wolverines, Dantonio believes it provides a good chance to get back in the thick of the Legends Division race.  Michigan and Iowa are both 2-0 in Big Ten play and Nebraska is 2-1. MSU is currently fifth in the division at 1-2. But it has a head-to-head meeting with Nebraska coming up in a few weeks.

“(We have) very, very small margin of error and we need help as we move through this. Usually you get help. The conference itself is very competitive. There’s a lot of parity,” Dantonio said. “I think there’s a lot of opportunity for players to play well and teams to rise up and win against anybody really.

“So we just got to play them one at a time and focus on the present. That’s all I can tell you. I do think if we take care of our business, we’ve got opportunities ahead of us. But we need to take care of our business first.”

Taking care of their business begins on Saturday in Ann Arbor. Dantonio believes a win in Ann Arbor could be something this team needs to gain some momentum going forward.

“I think it can be a defining moment for us. I think it could be a rallying point or a moment where we can start going in the other direction,” Dantonio said. “But I think any football game, I think this last football game we played, could have been that moment as well. When you lose close like that, like I said opening this up, there are many different things you can point to and say, If we would have done this, if this would have happened, if that were called one way or the other, those type of things.”

Dantonio also addressed the scoring issues for the offense. MSU ranks near the bottom of the Big Ten in scoring offense and Dantonio obviously would like to see the team score more. But he also doesn’t want the offense / defense splitting the football team.

“The reality of the situation, we have three players on offense that played last year on a constant basis for us, whether it be injuries, graduation, whatever it is. We have Dan France, Chris McDonald, Le’Veon Bell playing for us. The rest of our guys are new. They’re gaining experience as we go,” Dantonio said.

“The most important thing is we don’t split this football team into offense and defense. Our defense had an opportunity to win a football game this past weekend, played well throughout the game, but we didn’t win the football with the fourth quarter drive.”

There was plenty of other good info to come out of today’s presser. As far as depth chart news there’s the following:

- Dion Sims is not listed at tight end. It’s still the combination of Paul Lang, Ann Arbor native Andrew Gleichert and Derek Hoebing at the position. Dantonio said Sims hadn’t practiced and they will know more about his status for Saturday’s game later in the week.

- At STAR linebacker it’s Chris Norman OR Taiwan Jones. Jones had a pretty big game on Saturday against Iowa.

- Kurtis Drummond is the guy at free safety this week. He is listed ahead of RJ Williamson.

- At fullback it’s Lawrence Thomas or Niko Palazeti listed as the starter.

- Then there’s Jack Allen who has listed as the starter at left guard with Blake Treadwell and as the starter at center with Ethan Ruhland.

Then here are some links. Solari takes a look at five things we learned from the Iowa game. Something that he notes is that the Spartans haven’t had a .500 record since the 2009 season.

And Michigan isn’t publicly acknowledging that their four-game losing streak to the Spartans is a primary focus. The players that spoke Monday said they were more so focused on the future instead of the past. Also Dion Sims is a semifinalist for the Mackey Award.

When asked if he feels pressure to reverse the rivalry, Hoke said no.

“Just got to go out and play,” Hoke said. “We got to prepare them from Sunday to Friday and get them ready to play.”

Lastly, CBSSports.com has revealed its midseason All-America and All-Conference teams. No Spartans made it as All-Americans, but running back Le’Veon Bell, tight end Dion Sims and safety Isaiah Lewis were listed as midseason All-Big Ten selections. The writer also labels William Gholston as the most disappointing player.

And here is a video of former Spartan basketball star Draymond Green sings Lean on Me during Golden State Warriors rookie initiation.

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15 Responses to Dantonio talks Michigan; depth chart notes and links

  1. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    I think Gholston will have a monster game Saturday and redeem himself, dominate the game disrupt Denard and cause at least two interceptions with four sacks. The defense know they have to win the game and score points. I think we need 14 defensive points combined with 10 from the offense and we will be fine.

    • avatar Spartan 81 says:

      Let me amend that to say I hope Gholston has a monster game. I believe that self interest will motivate him as he wants to be a first round draft choice in the NFL

  2. avatar Spartan 81 says:


    Do you still think that Maxwell will have an NFL career, if so will be similar to Hoyer? Would be curious how you rate his mechanics and pro chances?

  3. avatar '89 Chemistry says:

    “Stars”, Decorated Players, Line Masses, and a Little Perspective on Long-Standing Rivalries: UM Edition

    Regulars know the drill; it starts with 2009-2012 recruiting-class assessments. The MSU recruits averaged 3.05 stars; those of UM, 3.40 stars.

    UM has eleven traditional Big Ten Player of the Week awards on its current roster. QB Denard Robinson [DR] has won nine of these—uncluding two so far in 2012. WR Roy Roundtree won one last year, and SLB Jake Ryan won his first award for his performance last week. MSU has four traditional BTPotWs from prior years—plus two-time 2012 winner Le’veon Bell.

    All-Big-Ten veterans
    DR has been 2nd [2011] and 1st [‘10]-team ABT. Tackle Taylor Lewan was voted to the 2nd team, as was Roundtree. Honorable Mentions include RB Fitz Toussaint; DE Craig Roh; MLB Kenny Demens; walk-on SS Jordan Kovacs (twice); and RCB J.T. Floyd.

    MSU ABT veterans include two 1st-teamers that had lesser honors as underclassmen; four 2nd-teamers; and five h.m.s

    Projected 1st-team ABT 2012 [2]: DR, Lewan, Roundtree. (MSU has five such players).
    Projected 2nd-team ABT 2012 [1]: Demens, Kovacs, Toussaint. (MSU has three, plus Fonoti).
    Projected h.m. ABT 2012 [5]: Roh, WR Jeremy Gallon, FS Thomas Gordon, RG Patrick Omameh, and [the injured?] CB Blake Countess. (MSU has five, plus D. Sims).

    DR was an All-American in some 2010 assessments, and was a third-team Athlon pre-season AA.

    Recently, Lewan was awarded a 1st-team spot on Phil Steele’s mid-season All-American team. Three Spartans are on that team: D. Sims & M. Bullough equate to Honorable Mentions, and Le’veon Bell is on the first team.
    CBS Sports also has a midseason All-B1G [first] team: They cite Bell, D.Sims & Lewis for MSU. For UM, They cite Lewan & Kovacs—plus kick returner Dennis Norfleet.

    Line masses:
    UM has a substantially bigger O line this year [304 # avg.]. MSU’s D line averages 282 #.
    UM’s D line is respectably-sized [288 # avg.]–as is, of course, MSU’s O line [303 # avg.].

    MSU v. UM stands at 32-67-5 [.3317].
    That’s the best it’s been for MSU since the 1965-69 span. For MSU, the all-time percentage peaked in 1969 at 20-37-5. To recover that peak {36.29%}, MSU would need to win all of the 2012-2021 games. (The closest State came to such a streak was during 1959-1967 [7-1-1].)

    Before the current Spartan winning streak the record was 28-67-5. To plummet back to that contemporary low {30.5%}, MSU would, by coincidence, have to lose all of the 2012-2021 games. (The last such streak was 1939-1949—aided by a wartime suspension of MSU football.)

    To match OSU’s current record v. UM, MSU must win from 2012-2030. Which shows that there’s always something for a troll to hang his phlegm upon.

  4. avatar '89 Chemistry says:

    On a drive-by-drive basis, MSU’s defense is the best in the FBS:

  5. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    The Cracker tries to make up with his faux pas, but he’s a penny late with it. He’ll get nothing from Coach Izzo this winter. How’s the WMU basketball team? They even going to make the MAC tourney?

    • avatar wearer of the belt says:

      Not so Young Marine,

      At the beginning of this season I thought that Mark Dantonio had a championship caliber football team and was headed to the Rose Bowl. What transpired was not Mark Dantonio’s fault. It turned out that the Offensive line had depth but not quality depth. When Fonoti went down it turned 17-13 wins into 17-16 and 19-16 losses. The injuries on the O line cost MSU 7 points a game.

      Without the injuries they are 6-1 undefeated in conference and headed to Pasadena. There is no doubt in this old goats mind that Dantonio would have tresselballed his way into the Rose Bowl. That is why in my mind he should be given a pass on this season. Btw your friend has a bye this week and is on his way to Bristol Conn in an effort to secure employment next season, after failing here in Chicago to convince the powers that be of the value of his services

      • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

        Agree with your assessment of the Spartans, hope he didn’t try to drive the Honda that far. Don’t think he has the chops for any TV gig. Maybe the fledgling Conference USA TV could use him.

        • avatar behind the green curtain says:

          Now you see son, the old guys are playing their butts off but the computer guys are screwing it up.
          An attorney for Arkansas coach John L. Smith said Friday that a computer error in his bankruptcy case is behind what appeared to be a huge jump in his debt.
          Smith’s initial Chapter 7 filing in September listed $25.7 million in debt. He later amended that to $40.7 million, blaming land deals gone bad in Kentucky. Attorney Jill Jacoway, speaking during a hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, said the computer error resulted in her assistant listing $25.7 million in debt. She said the error resulted in a rough draft being filed rather than a completed one.
          ”We cussed out our computer provider,” Jacoway said. ”We cussed out our computer guys.”

  6. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    Hey Ben, now, JV had a quality start last night, >6 innings, 3hits, 1 run; but only because Phil Coke got the last 2 outs.

  7. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Early prediction

    MSU 14
    Michigan 10

  8. avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

    31-20 MSU

  9. avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

    only gving M 20 cause I figured they’ll leave dreadlocks in for a meaningless TD at the end

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