EAST LANSING - A six pack of Mark Dantonio's best quotes from today's Media Day press conference at Spartan Stadium.
1. On Andrew Maxwell's swag factor:
"I don't think he lets things bother him. When they say he has swag, I think he lets things roll off his shoulders a little bit. He understands the pressures of playing quarterback. He also understands the pressures of playing here. He's seen it firsthand. He's seen Kirk grow I think in his three years as a starter.
"So I think all those things are positives for him and help him in that task. But I'm very confident in Andrew. I feel very good about him as a leader, which I think that's what a quarterback first and foremost has to do. Before he can ever throw the ball he has to lead and has to take control of a huddle. He can do that and he can do it with confidence."
2. What are your early impressions of Boise State?
"I was just watching Boise this morning. I think they do a great job, obviously, offensively. A lot of different things. Throw a lot of different formations at you. I think on record we have 178 different type formations that they've run in our breakdown. A lot of different personnel groupings.
"Defensively they're going to be very solid. I think they're an extremely well coached football team. When you look at the offensive line, I think they pass things off very well.
"You don't really know who the quarterback is going to be at this point, but they have four of them that they're working. So obviously the guy who comes out of that is going to be pretty good.
"But they're a little bit of an unknown at certain positions because they've lost some guys. But they're an extremely well‑coached team; and all I do is just keep looking at 73-6, which is Coach Peterson's record overall. And you don't have to go much beyond that. They're going to be a very good football team. They'll be a great challenge for us our first game.
And we've grown a lot of respect for them just from the time since we've been watching them since whatever, January or February."
3. What can you do to guard against coming out sluggish in the first game, like last year against Youngstown State?
"Maybe Youngstown had something to do with that. They did some different things. But I don't think anybody comes out sluggish in their first game. If they do, maybe they come out missing a tackle or not playing to a tempo of an offense and they have to get used to a tempo of that offense or to what that offense does or defense does.
"But I can assure you that our guys will not be ‑‑ they'll be hyped up. The first time they run out here, see that board, see the stadium, 8:00, night time, national TV audience, Boise State. Giant killer. If you can't get ready for that then you need to move on, probably. But our guys will be ready to play."
"Based on what I know, from my past as a secondary coach, my past here, wherever I've been, those two guys are as good of corners as we've had at any place I've been. And I can't say anything more than that.
"They have excellent ball skills. Tough. Know what's going on. Can both run extremely well. Extremely confident. And they make everybody around them better. And when you do that you become an impact player.
"So I go back to 30 years of coaching. So they're as good as they have been. I always try to say: Are they on my first team, second team or third team. If they're on any of those teams, they're there. And those guys are very, very good. So we'll see what kind of year they'll have. But expect big things from them."
5. On his support of Isaiah Lewis after Lewis was flagged for running into the punter late in the Big Ten Championship Game:
"First of all, again, just to make sure everybody understands: I turned Isaiah loose on that. I told him to go get it. That's my responsibility. If you're not going to play to win, if you're not going to take the risk, you know, then you're playing the wrong game. The things were set up for him to have a clean sweep at the block. So things happened.
"But I believe you coach because it's competitive, because it's exciting, all those different things, it's challenging. But I honestly think you coach because of your love for people and you want to impact young people. You want to see people grow. You want to have people graduate. You want to have people get on with their life, get married.
"Joel Foreman got married this year. Sorie Kanu played for us in '95 through '99, married this year. Rocco Cironi married this year. We want to wish them all the best. Those are a couple. Otis Wiley got married this summer. So you're looking to them to see how they move in their life. I think that's what coaching is. Coaching is just an extension of teaching. It's just an opportunity to teach in athletics.
"As you said, there's a lot of time, a lot of days where you're not actively playing a football game. You're just getting ready. But you're getting ready for other things than just football. ou're getting ready for all those challenges that life is going to bring you. And those are the positive things.
That's what you have to draw from. Because if you just want to win, there's only 14 opportunities, and you're going to be so driven, and you're going to be very depressed when you don't win. And I'm not going to be built that way. Nor do I ever want to be defined here in terms of how many games we won.
"I'm not naive. But I also want to be defined in terms of what we've done for our players as people. I think that's the way our entire staff is built. Our program is built like that. And it should remain like that if we do it right."
6. You mentioned that you have unfinished business. Are you talking about the Rose Bowl?
"Yeah, I think it stems from our basic goal: Let's go to the Rose Bowl. Let's see where it takes us from there. We played extremely hard and things fell the way they fell in that final game. And that still hurts a little bit. And we draw from that, brings strength to this program.
"So I think, again, you always have to look forward, and you always have to try and accomplish the next thing. And that's the next thing for us. When we accomplish that, then we can start talking beyond that. But until we do that, I think that we still haven't done what we've really set out to do.
"I think we're in a position of contention. We always are. I think we are moving along. When you talk about where we wanted to go when we first came here, what we wanted to try to accomplish, we said want to build a foundation. We keep trying to build a foundation to try to get to that Rose Bowl. We're not there yet. We haven't made it there yet, but that's our goal.
"In terms of nationally, from a national perspective, I think we have a little bit more respect, maybe, coming into the season. But what I've seen every season is somebody rises up and somebody falls out.
"So as I said when I started this press conference, I think our focus has to be on the daily tasks. And if we can keep our head in the game from that perspective and just keep trying to build, trying to keep bring along all of our parts and our components of our football team, I think we have a chance to be a very good football team."