November 20, 2012

Dantonio: 'We need to change ... with the times'

EAST LANSING - Quality control is part of Mark Dantonio's job as head coach of the Michigan State football program.

"We constantly review," Dantonio said. "After every game we go in and talk about the game. What could we have done different, where the lack of execution was as a player, or as a coach. When something breaks down you ask yourself, is that structural, is that mental on the players, or was that a physical breakdown and how significant was that breakdown. From missing a kick, to everything we do, we try to be as exact as we can in terms of critiquing it."

Significant structural changes are impossible during the course of the season.

"You do have a foundation of what you have to deal with," Dantonio said. "You can't just all of sudden say that we are coming out and we are an option football team tomorrow. You have to prepare for that, and those are things you do during the off-season, during bowl prep possibly, during summer camp. But you have a basis of what you have. It needs to be simple, but comprehensive so you can play fast. At the end of the day, you better be playing fast out there and understand where to go with the ball if you're the quarterback. You have to have a system in place, offensively, defensively, and special teams in order to be able to handle all of the problems that are being thrown at you and play at a high rate of speed. Some things need to change over the course of time, but you also have a background and a foundation of what has been successful for you."

Dantonio and his ballclub have at least one more game to play in 2012, before they can start tinkering with the structure of operation on either side of the ball. But some change can be expected between this year and next.

Allowing the defense to hit quarterbacks during spring practices is one example of how Michigan State might change its operation to better simulate game-like conditions. Beyond that, Dantonio was offered little insight into how he and his staff might change the structure of the Spartan offense moving forward.

"We need to change somewhat with the times," Dantonio said, "Which will happen."

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