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February 16, 2011
Dantonio: 'We can play with anybody'
EAST LANSING - Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio made an appearance on the "Staudt on Sports" radio show (AM 730 in Lansing/www.thegame730am.com), Wednesday, and touched on several off-season subjects, including the recent hiring of wide receivers coach Terry Samuels.
"He had a lot of the characteristics we were looking for in a coach, impacting young people," Dantonio said of Samuels. "He was a great teacher on the board and I had him be around our young people our players and talk to them and sort of coach them on the field and talk to them about stance and alignments and things of that nature and was very impressed. I spoke to 8 to 10, 15 guys and I really felt like Terry Samuels really presented himself well here."
Dantonio also touched on:
"Sometimes you think you are right around the country and you are to the point where you can compete with anyone in the country, but then you take the other perspective and you say, 'Wow we're a mile away,'" Dantonio said. "I think there is a little bit of that when you look at our football team. We can play with anybody. I looked at our players at 5:30 this morning and we have players that can play anywhere in America. The way they run and the way they train, that is the case, that is real. But then you have to play as one, you have to play collectively and you have to play with confidence. That goes in spurts. And if you can't protect the quarterback, which we did not in that game, and if you cannot affect the quarterback, which we did not do that day, and then the game becomes one-dimensional and it becomes very, very difficult."
"L.T. is an outstanding player. He is a thumper. but he has a learning curve that he has to be able to make. These other guys are going to be a little bit ahead of him but he certainly has the physical skills to play. I think the other linebackers - Darrien Harris, Taiwon Jones and Ed Davis - are three outstnading linebackers as well. So we are bringing in four outstanding linebackers, probably the best linebacker group that we have brought here."
"We have got to win up front on the offensive side of the ball. Now that maybe negates some things on the defensive side of the ball but we are going to experiment with that."