Izzo: ‘Wimpy students’ need to show up for MSU football games

In getting ready to take his MSU basketball team overseas to open its season, Tom Izzo expressed plenty of opinions about football today – on referees, close games, young teams and fan apathy by students.

The empty seats in the southeast corner of Spartan Stadium stuck out like a spotlight. That’s the MSU student section, and it was the second straight home football game at which the stands had large pockets of vacancy – about 35-50 percent empty, I’d say.

“I sat there until the end. I don’t want to hear about it being too cold. If it is, we’ve got a bunch of wimpy students,” Izzo said.

Izzo had plenty to say about traveling to Germany and where his own team is after two exhibition games, but here’s what he had to say about Saturday’s football game.

Can you get in trouble for criticizing football refs?

“Probably. From what I saw, it’d probably be worth the fine. … I don’t think I can either. What I saw, there … I guess more than officials, I wish we’d come up with, if we can tell if a guy stepped out of bounds, if we can use replay for that. Any game changing events, there’s got to be replay. I probably could get in trouble. Like I said, I don’t really care, my wife probably would. Needs new shoes. What I saw and then what I watched, it’s just too bad. Because it’s just something that changes a season. It really, really does. It changes a whole season. They’ve got a chance to bounce back yet, but football, one game makes a monstrous difference. It was a game, we had our chances, I’m sure Mark said that, but nobody said we’re the greatest team in the word. And so, when you’re not, which 95 percent of us aren’t, little things make a difference and it’s harder to overcome. And I thought that was one of them.”

How have you tried to console Dantonio?

“I talked to him last night. You have those years. I went home after the game and I watched Notre Dame and I watched the guy miss a chip shot and this seems to be Notre Dame’s year. And we’ve been in years where we’ve lost six or seven games by two or three points. It’s amazing, I learn something from football every single year — good, bad, compare my team to it, look at it and it was a teaching moment for my team yesterday. And I just said, let’s look at what is it, 7 seconds left in the Michigan game, and 6 seconds left when this game was caught. Wasn’t it at the buzzer when they tied to the Iowa game? A fumble that should’ve been picked up and run for a touchdown or whatever. And that game, that’s four that I can count. I’m not saying you should win them all, a couple of those we deserved to win, and now you’re 8-2. It’s just a big difference.

“As a coach, I can look at that, talk to Mark about that and look at it from that standpoint. As a fan, it’s harder to do that. And I understand that. But when you sit down and tell your team that you can play 59 minutes and 43 or 42 seconds one way and then, as Mark said to me, it’s like a missed free throw, a missed field goal chip shot is like a missed free throw. But when you play that many minutes worthy of winning and then lose games, in basketball those things even happen more frequently. So I tried to make it a teaching moment for our team to learn and yet, realize that, a week later all anybody cares about is the score. And that’s what you have to do. And Mark’s a big boy, he can handle that. It’s just, I feel bad when at the end of the season, and I’ve gone through a couple myself, where those couple of games, I mean you’re decent to great with a couple of those seconds, when really you played the rest of the game the same way. And because of a play, a call, a free throw, a this, you’re looking at the seasons completely different, when the job they did, the overall job was maybe good enough to be … the record shapes the opinion. … When really the body of work, has been, I think very good under the circumstances of injury and a new quarterback and everything. But the record sometimes shapes (the opinion).”

Does the attendance in the student section bother you?

“I don’t know what’s wrong with the students. They need to take a look at it, I mean they do. I think the product has been good enough in both. And we need to take a look at that. I thought the crowd was pretty good on Saturday as far as the rest of it. But I thought the Iowa game and that, it’s all part of the three prong coach, administration, team, fans. That’s the three reasons people win and lose games. And if people want credit for what they do, which I’ve given them a lot of, and I think they’ve got to look at, if you’re not a part of the reason for success, you are a big part of it if you’re a fan. I say it’s a third a part. So yeah, it’s disappointing, I can’t figure it out. But hopefully, in both sports we’ll try to get to the bottom of it, because there’s got to be some reason. And it disappoints me for Mark (Dantonio), because I think he’s earned the right, and I do think it is a right. You can tell me about the ticket prices. You can tell me all the baloney, because the tickets are sold. It’s not about the ticket prices. It’s about the passion and the enthusiasm, and football’s earn the right, he’s not allowed to say this, I’m allowed to say this, I have been disappointed with it for them, because they’ve done such a good … last year, I went to the last game.

“I sat there until the end. I don’t want to hear about it being too cold. If it is, we’ve got a bunch of wimpy students. That was a beautiful day for a football game on Saturday, I loved it.”

Saw you made an appearance in the student section.

“Mark Hollis does that. He said, ‘Why don’t you come with me?’ I said I’d love to. And I love our students. I love our students. I think we’ve just got to, students have to hold students accountable. And we ain’t blaming this on Hollis and we’re definitely not blaming this on Dantonio. We’ve got to self-evaluate. It’s hard to do. It’s really hard to do. But, I know one thing, if they don’t want to be there, we’ll find ways to get people there. Give me the tickets, I’ll get people there.”

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48 Responses to Izzo: ‘Wimpy students’ need to show up for MSU football games

  1. avatar Smiley7 says:

    Izzo has made MSU a basketball school, so he shouldn’t be surprised that students don’t really care much about football. It is worth noting that nearly all MSU seniors were born after 1990, so they weren’t even alive during the last MSU Rose Bowl appearance!! MSU has done nothing in the football world since then, so there is no driving motivation for students come out on a cold afternoon and cheer for a team that now has a 4-game home losing streak and hasn’t won a bowl game of any importance in 25 years. If Dantonio wants to change the culture, he has to do what Izzo did, he has to put a good product out on the field.

    • avatar Spartan in Los Angeles says:

      I respectfully disagree sir , it is a good product, but thats just my opinion. I think Mark Dantonio is a great coach and I will continue to support him.

    • avatar Spartan in Los Angeles says:

      11-2 and 11-3 is nothing? Puzzled by that and what about the 9-4 in 2008?

      But you have a right to your opinion.

      • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

        As the axiom goes, everyone has a right to their opinions, but nobody has a right to be wrong in their facts. Some times the overanxious non graduating fans from West Ypsilanti blur the lines between fact and fiction with fiction usually winning the day.

        • avatar behind the green curtain says:

          Marine, the psych dept read me that Maslow stuff, man I am one hurting hound dog but I digress. You know though God only knows how why I have to win 6 games. Glad that you will cheer for the Hogs to beat Spurrier and Miss State as that is the only way the Hogs get to 6.

          • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

            Ya know what, John, I would cheer for you if I didn’t send that school in Columbia many many pesos for my son the Chef to get his degree. 2ndly, my daughter lives in Columbia and although she graduated from another school is an avid Gamecock fan – my youngest grand wears a cute USC cheerleader outfit on game day. And, finally, Coach Dantonio is a Gamecock, so no, I’ll be pulling for the Cocks.

    • avatar Vanilla Ice says:

      Have to agree with Smiley7. Being a student from 82-86 and brought up during the peak of MSU football in the past 30 years, the Rose Bowl was a goal we could see each year we were getting closer to, and the students were getting energized behind the football team. And Perles delivered. Sadly, Perles was not able to sustain the momentum and the football culture never took off at MSU. There was a period of hope with Saban, followed by years of hopelessness. With Dantonio, we have a program that is thankfully respectable and stable, but I think will be in the second tier of the B1G most years. Some years the conference will be down and we will be more competitive in the conference, but I don’t believe Dantonio has the creativity and skill to get us over the hump. His teams are heavily penalized, he has a predictable offense, he puts personal loyalty above the best interest of the team, and he usually makes 2-3 bad coaching decisions each game that diminishes our chances of winning. Having to depend on a Hail Mary or a fake field goal to win big games is not a sustainable path to championships. So the bottom line is that unlike Izzo, who completely changed the basketball culture at MSU and made us a major player on the national scene, Dantonio has a long way to go before he has won the hearts and minds of the students and gets consistent student support. And the proof of this is in the empty seats, so you can disagree if it makes you feel better, but it won’t fill those seats.

  2. avatar Spartan in Los Angeles says:

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. “

      • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

        My work here is done, not need to further embarrass Desmond “The Coward” Howard as it has been done by a master of subtlety.

        • avatar Spartan in Los Angeles says:

          Poncho showing BJ film of the fam. Showing how things are done at the BIG DAWG TABLE

          • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

            The group I am meeting up with in Orlando for a week of golf is also called the Big Dawgs (as in let the big dawg eat, when you hit driver) and includes the qb and db from the Spartan teams of the early 70′s and 2 UofM grads, there can be peaceful co-existance. Now, granted neither of them even participated in IM anything, but we don’t let them know that when the games are on.

          • avatar Spartan in Los Angeles says:

            No reply link available, but USMC would that qb be my man Charlie Baggett, currently wearing the orange in Knoxville for a living?

        • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

          Played before Charlie, with BVP.

  3. avatar SpartyOn says:

    When does the upper deck student seats ever fill up? Boise St opening night? Barely. Night game against Notre Dame when MSU was still undefeated? Late arriving. If Michigan were on the schedule it would probably fill up, but we’re talking about 2 or 3 dates per year when you can count on the students filling their section.

    IT NEEDS TO BE DOWNSIZED. Remove the upper deck as part of the student section. If supply doesn’t meet demand for student tickets, create a selection process ala the Izzone to ensure only dedicated fans attend games.

    Also, ticket prices for the upper deck need to be lower. I know this will never happen, but perhaps instead I should say: when the next price increase happens, upper deck prices should remain the same. Between the limited concessions, restroom access, and the overall cramped quarters and distance from the field, there is no reason these tickets should be the same price.

    • avatar Spartan 81 says:

      I like your second comment a freeze on upper deck prices, so that the next increase if for lower bowl seats, I have about 879 million less in the bank than our alumnus out west, so I can see that point for middle class fans, my father and I sat for 40 years in the East Upper Deck section 110 row 23 and it hurts to see those empty seats, believe me there are plenty of adults who will pay full price to see a coach who wins two thirds of his games over 6 years, thats success to me, maybe not championships but better than Perles.

      • avatar jerseyjohn says:

        i guess you forgot that perles led us to the only rose bowl win that most of us will ever see..as for the empty seats, after four home losses these coaches are lucky anybody shows up at all..just coach, cash your inflated paychecks, and shut up.

        • avatar Spartan 81 says:

          I was at that Rose Bowl and there is a letter from Perles too me about it framed on the wall of this room, but objectively he had four bad years in a row from 91 to 94 worse than this year and some years in 84-85-86 equal , so he had a run of four good years in the middle four bad years at the end and three 500 years in the beginning, Dantonio is 3 good and 3 average years that about accurate so Dantonio needs another four but unless they are all losing seasons his ten year mark will be better.

          • avatar jerseyjohn says:

            i was at that rose bowl too, thank god..i had several friends who said they’d go the next year..that year never came.

    • avatar dmbtierney says:

      I’d keep the ticket prices the same in both the upper and lower stands. In reality, the first few rows of the upper stands are a much better place to view the game than, than say, the last rows of sections 13 and 14. In both locations, you are still bonding with your comrades in arms.

      The idea of eliminating the upper stands for the students is a great idea. Yogi Berra once said “If they don’t want to come, you can’t keep them away”. By reducing the students in the upper deck MSU also opens up tickets to full-price purchasers, thus increasing imcome.

      The students have had their chances the last few years, and for whatever reason, have shown that they don’t deserve the extra seats. Cut the seating, but remember, once these seats go to season ticket holders, the students will never get them back.

  4. avatar Doug says:

    Here’s my take as a former student (2000-2004): Go back to when the students had paper tickets that they traded in for a specific section/seat for the game. The whole idea of putting them on their ID instead of in ticket form has made it much harder to transfer tickets to a friend if you’re unable to go (for whatever reason). Now, instead of giving away your ticket, kids just don’t go.

    When I was in school, I had a family emergency on a Friday night and couldn’t be there for a game on a Saturday. I was able to physically had the ticket to a buddy in the dorm and he went to the game without the hassle of “transferring” the ticket to someone else’s ID.

    • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

      As we try to make things easier and some would say safer, they do get more difficult compared to the good ‘ole days.

  5. avatar '89 Chemistry says:

    Sundry notes on the UNL football game

    MSU will finish the season with a losing record at home for only the 10th time in Spartan Stadium history and the first time since 2006 (2-5).

    Lippett’s 46-yard TD was the longest of the season for Michigan State.

    Both D. Allen and M. Bullough have at least one tackle for loss in each of the past five games.

    C. Vannini of The Only Colors notes that the rushing yards per carry that MSU surrendered [7.8] was the highest average since November 2002—in the 61-7 loss to Penn State.

    Vannini also noted that Maxwell’s passing “[stats] (9-for-27, 123 yards, one touchdown) are eerily similar to Kirk Cousins’ at Nebraska last year (11-for-27, 86 yards, 1 INT).”

    This is the fourth consecutive MSU game wherein the winning score happened on the final play from scrimmage. (MSU went 1-3 in these games.)

    In close games (decided by 8 or fewer points), Mark Dantonio was 2-6 in the 2007 season; 2-1 in 2008; 2-5 in 2009; 4-0 in 2010; and 4-1 in 2011. With the 2012 slate at 3-4 so far, that brings his total to 17-17.

    MD is 4-7 against OSU and UW. These teams will not be on the 2013-2014 schedules; they will be replaced by Illinois and Purdue. (MD is 6-0 vs. these teams.)

    • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

      Early odds on Whiskey thumping the Dallas Cowboys?

    • avatar MAB says:

      Interesting stats for the close games. Its probably unrealistic to expect much more than 17-17 in close games, right? The issue this year is that there have been too many close games (which happens when you have an offense that can’t score a lot of points). As for the student attendance, I understand it, but it still bothers me. If students are only showing up for big games and during seasons with the promise of double digit wins, it makes us look like frontrunners. I read so many posts on here about how MSU is slighted in comparision with other programs. Those programs fill their stadiums every week, even during down years (or at least fill them more than Spartan Stadium has been filled against Iowa and Neb.).

      • avatar '89 Chemistry says:

        Over 120 years the ratios should tend very close to 1:1, but MD was only 6-12 in these games through three years; that’s rather poor. All of the games are driven by facts on the ground; it’s tempting to venture that recruits from 2007-2010 have worked better for MD than JLS’s recruits did.

        It also makes sense [over large sample sizes] that there would be fewer close games with large #s of total points per game. It’s akin to the reason why lottery numbers are seldom consecutive strings seldom spells out anything symbolically meaningful: There are vastly more non-consecutive combinations possible.

        The Spartans finally got a lot of national respect by August 2012. Too many losses have squandered that respect pending–imo–a Spartan BCS-level bowl appearance. (An 8-5 finish will help appearances, but I can’t see MSU ranked ahead of Nebraska, OSU, Notre Dame, and maybe even UM & UW before next November.)

  6. avatar MSU Owns Denard says:

    2013 will be our year, get back to beating scUM, and have Ill and PU instead of Whiskey and the Acorns, at least not until the big ten title game….

  7. avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

    Hey Cracker, 2 good MAC teams playing tonight, who ya got Toledo or Ball State? (notice neither is a geographic school)

    • avatar Spartan 81 says:

      He has a plane to catch to Germany.

      • avatar USMCSpartan(Ret.) says:

        I’ll bet he’s fuming that he has to miss his beloved MAC on the national scene. All he want’s to talk to Coach Izzo about is why don’t the Spartans play a home and home with the Bronco’s. My suggestion is to have 3 of the MAC schools come to Breslin for the holiday tourney in Dec.

  8. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Do you know if Graham is flying over to Germany on the team plane today?

  9. avatar behind the green curtain says:

    Firing Coach John L. Smith – MSU Press Conference – YouTube

    ► 5:47► 5:47 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDvOJZizAO8

  10. avatar Spartan 81 says:

    Election polling on Mark Dantonio’s body of work.
    Coach Mark Dantonio was 22-17 in the first three years of his watch. That screams 7-5 to me.
    Mark Dantonio is 27-10 in the second three years that screams 9-3 to me. How many of you feel that Mark Dantonio will average 9 wins a season over the remainder of his career at MSU? I do. How many of you would be satisfied with that, Rose Bowl notwithstanding, I would? I would appreciate all of your well thought out and reasoned comments on this subject. I would especially like to get the opinion of Breadtruck 86 and Atlanta Spartan on this subject.

  11. avatar Ghost of Biggie says:

    9-3 is nothing to scoff at but I would like to see better. I long to repeat the Biggie years.

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