Sep 17, 2009, 8:00 AM EDT
Mark Dantonio met with the press yesterday and discussed his upcoming game with the Fighting Irish.
Here’s what he said:
On moving past last week’s loss:
I think it’s important that we move forward. Certainly, we need to
focus on the solution here, what the problem was, critique the problems
that we had, plan forward, practice towards the things we need to get
accomplished, and really emotionally sort of regroup ourselves and move
forward. I think our players are doing that. I feel good about our
coaches. I feel very good about our players. The bottom line is we need
to take strength from everyone and fortitude and push it forward.
That’s what we’ll do.
We’ll focus on the future. Right now, the focus is on Notre Dame.
On why Michigan State has Notre Dame’s number:
Well, I would say it comes down to specifics in terms of blocking
and tackling. I’m sure there’s an emotional edge to both teams when you
play in this game. So I can’t say it’s emotional totally.
Things have happened. I think we’ve played pretty fundamentally
sound. Whenever I’ve gone down there in the past, we’ve played very
fundamentally sound. We’ve not turned the ball over. We’ve done things
that allow us to win.
On the winning streak:
I’m just happy to win. Whenever I’m on the winning side, that’s the
only thing that really matters. I don’t really look at it as a streak.
I think maybe alums do. But the players that are at Notre Dame, the
players that are here, you can only really evaluate what has happened
while they have played.
That streak goes back a number of years. So it’s really out of
those people’s hands. It’s on the people that have played in the game.
So it comes down to guys blocking, tackling, catching the football,
playing the ball in the deep part of the field, mental errors, emotion,
adversity, those types of things. And that’s really got to be carried
by the people that are currently here.
I think the people that have been down there in the past share in 2007’s win, but beyond that I would say it’s a clean slate.
On the challenge of facing Notre Dame’s offensive weapons:
First of all, they have outstanding receivers, in Michael Floyd and
Golden Tate. Duval Kamara is another guy, No. 18. Rudolph is an
excellent tight end, and Clausen spreads the ball around.
Clausen is in his third year now, so he’s an experienced
quarterback. He knows where to go with the ball, and he gets rid of the
ball quickly. They’re going to throw it deep.
Yeah, it presents problems. It presents a lot of different
things for us, challenges I would say more than problems, but extreme
challenges because any time the ball goes up in the air, you’ve got to
play it. You’ve got to get up there and get it, climb up a ladder and
grab it. That’s what we’ll do. We’ll focus on that.
But just like everybody who is experienced, when the ball goes up in
the air, you can look at it every Saturday, when the ball goes up in
the air deep, somebody’s going to come up with it usually.
What Blair White means to the Spartans offense:
Obviously, Blair has been very, very productive. He’s been a
big positive for us. He’s gone up and made the catch for the most part
but nobody’s perfect. He’s proven to be is a very productive player.
He’s a gamer and he’s tough. He’s going to do everything he can to win
a football game, whether it’s on special teams, he had a big punt
return in the game Saturday, or whether it’s catching the football, or
whatever it is.
But there are things that everybody just needs to ask where
they’re at and try and improve, and he’s one of them, and he’ll do
that. But he’s an outstanding person and competitor. He’s a man of