Dantonio addresses upcoming season, Connor Cook at Big Ten Media Day
“Our focus is to always continue to reach higher,” MSU head football coach Mark Dantonio said as he was the first coach to take the podium at the Big Ten Media Day in Chicago.
Dantonio covered various topics, from Connor Cook's success to the upcoming season's team.
He said senior quarterback Connor Cook has remain poised while being nationally recognized this offseason.
"I think that he has people around him that will ground him on a daily basis, whether it's coaches, whether it's our strength staff, whether it's the people on our football team. So I think all of us need to stay grounded and be able to constantly improve daily. I know he's working extremely hard day-to-day with our skill players and things of that nature to try to establish himself, further establish himself," he said.
Dantonio was then asked whether or not he thinks college football schedules should be standardized, to which he said schedules are made four, five or six years in advance.
“I think it's probably pretty tough to standardize it, but I think we're all looking for an even playing field as we move forward. In everything, whether it's cost of attendance or scholarship numbers or all these different things, I think we look for a level playing field. But with that being said, you know, I just play them as they come," he said.
This year's Spartans, Dantonio said, should be able to match or surpass the performance of this past year's team.
“I anticipate us playing eight guys again much like we have. We've got depth in the offensive line position, which is huge in college football. And I believe that you win up front," he said. And if you know football, winning and losing, it all starts up front and it's going to start with our offensive line."
Dantonio also spoke on the Michigan State and Ohio State rivalry, which he said is relevant because the teams compete in an overlapping territory.
“ First of all, I think it's a rivalry because for me, because I'm from Ohio, we have so many players from Ohio on our football team; I think 27 last year," he said. "So it sort of comes with the territory at Michigan State a little bit. So it is for us a rivalry. I have deep respect for what they've done down there."
Dantonio said the 2014 Spartans' Cotton Bowl victory created a buzz that "catapulted the whole Big Ten forward based on other things that happened."
Dantonio said this year's defensive front is of the most talented groups he has ever coached. He then compared them to the 2002 Buckeyes' team he coached.
Dantonio concluded by saying, "Thanks so much. Go Green! Just want to give a shout-out to all our players coming and currently from the City of Chicago. Go Green!"