EAST LANSING - The new grass surface at Spartan Stadium will get its first workout of training camp Saturday when the Spartans conduct their second major scrimmage of the month.
The grass surface was replaced, as planned, in late June after the June 26 U2 concert
"We will do a portion of the scrimmage over here (on the practice fields) as well, just because we don't want to be on the grass for 130 plays," Dantonio said prior to practice, Monday morning.
How does the new grass at Spartan Stadium look?
"Beautiful," Dantonio said. "Very tight, very low, fast surface and it looks great. We will play on it tomorrow and see."
The scrimmage, which will be closed to public and media, will begin on the practice fields adjacent to the Skandalaris Center. Players will then cross Shaw Lane and finish the scrimmage at the stadium.
"The players will get enough to get their feet wet over there," Dantonio said.
Will there be a little more adrenalin flowing when a scrimmage is held at the stadium?
"The first time going over there, it's a little bit more game-like, so I do think you get a little bit more of that (adrenalin)," Dantonio said.
It will be the initial playing experience in the stadium for first-year players. No true freshmen are expected to be in the two-deep at the close of training camp. First-year junior college transfer Fou Fonoti continues to rep as the No. 2 right tackle, behind redshirt freshman Skyler Burkland.
"Fonoti has played pretty well and is batting for a No. 1 position with Burkland," Dantonio said. "He is a very good athlete for his size, with great speed."
As for the true freshmen, Dantonio said: "They all sort of have had their moments. (Safety) R.J. Williamson played very well, and then it catches up to him a little bit at safety. I think we have been impressed with (Quarterback) Connor Cook. Obviously there are a couple of guys in front of him, but he has a live arm. He has done a nice job.
"Taiwan Jones is playing well and Ed Davis is playing well at linebacker. Those two guys look like they will have an opportunity to play here this season."
What will Dantonio be looking for at the scrimmage?
"I always look for execution," he said. "We want to put a premium on a lack of unforced errors, off-sides and those types of things. You are looking for execution and attention to detail. You are looking for great effort and you are looking for a particular unit to win a situation. Individually, you have to break it down after that and look at each player and how they are operating individually within that unit. It becomes a little bit difficult. Just because of the offense or the defense doesn't succeed, you need to look within there to see the reason sometimes."
First-string RB Edwin Baker, the Big Ten's leading returning rusher among tailbacks, is not likely to see extensive action in the scrimmage. MSU has limited his contact this month, to reduce wear and tear, and also due to a slight ailment.
"We limited him a little bit last week because he was nursing a little bit of a hamstring," Dantonio said.
Former second-string safety Jairus Jones is still out with an Achilles injury, which he sustained in April. But he was in a jersey and doing some running, Monday.
"Jairus continues to progress very well and probably should be running by the end of August here a little bit but we look at the end of September before he really has an opportunity," Dantonio said.