As Michigan State's struggling season continued its downward spiral with a blowout loss at Michigan on Saturday, Mark Dantonio faced ongoing questions about his future plans as the head coach of the Spartan football program.
But make no mistake, Dantonio plans to be on the sideline with a headset when the Spartans host Northwestern on Sept. 5 to open the 2020 football season.
“Well I can’t predict the future. If I would, I guess we would be 10-0 right now, but I can’t predict the future, but my intentions are to be the head football coach here," Dantonio said during his Tuesday conference ahead of Michigan State's game this Saturday at Rutgers (12 p.m., FS1). "I've always said I live in the present. I've always said that. There's certain things that you have control of and there are certain things you don’t have control of. So I can’t control everything but my intentions are there, yeah, absolutely."
Dantonio, 63, took over as the head coach at MSU in 2007 and has won more Big Ten Championships (three) and bowl games (five) than any other coach in school history. Earlier this season, Dantonio won his 110th game and became the winningest football coach in Michigan State history when the Spartans defeated Northwestern 31-10 on Sept. 21.
But since then, the Spartans have won only once and are currently in the midst of a five-game losing streak, and need to win their next two games to become bowl eligible.
This comes after a disappointing 2018 season, where Michigan State finished the year 7-6. Instead of bringing in new coaches ahead of this season, Dantonio decided to shuffle the deck and promoted Brad Salem to sole offensive coordinator in place of co-offensive coordinators Dave Warner and Jim Bollman.
However, that decision has proved futile, as the Spartans have been outscored 144-27 against the Big Ten's best — Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan — this season.
Dantonio said that he doesn't make decisions on MSU's assistant coach until he "weighs out everything to the best that he can."
"I have the most knowledge in terms of what's going on within our football team as to who did what — in terms of was it player structure? Coaching? Officiating? All the underlying things that go along with that," Dantonio said. "I think that I've tried to figure out what worked, what didn’t work, how to critique it, what was in control, what was out of our control, how do I evaluate that. So I’ve always made those decisions after the fact."
Since the 2016 season, Michigan State is 24-24.
The major decline to one of the most successful Big Ten teams in the last decade has sparked Dantonio's uncertainty of a 14th season.
But in his mind, there isn't a decision to even contemplate.
“I don’t think I've finished," Dantonio said.
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