Story by Jacob Holmes:
The Big Ten conference held its first football media day of the year, and Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio was the first coach to speak and take questions.
Dantonio began by saying that the team’s focus is to continue to set their goals higher for this season, goals that Dantonio says they fell short of last year.
“We’re going to continue to improve where we’re at and keep moving forward,” Dantonio said. “We’re always going to critique everything we do, and look to improve.”
Many of the questions focused on senior quarterback Connor Cook, and the expectations that will be placed on him. “We have very high expectations for Connor,” Dantonio said. “There’s always room for improvement, and he’ll continue to take his game to a higher level.”
When asked how Cook was handling early talk of him being a Heisman contender, Dantonio said that he believes Cook is handling it well. “We’ll see as the season goes,” he said. “He has people around him on a daily basis that keep him grounded. These things are decided at the end of the season, not the beginning.”
Dantonio also said that he was glad to see players like Cook and offensive lineman Jack Conklin come back to campus as they could have chosen to go to the NFL. “We’re excited to have him [Conklin] back,” Dantonio said. “We tell our players to be givers and not takers, and he is definitely a giver.”
Dantonio’s last question was about the defensive line, who Dantonio said was very talented. “Our defensive front is as talented a group as I’ve had in my nine years here,” he said. Dantonio also said he believes the line is about on par with the defensive line of the 2003 Ohio State team, of which Dantonio was defensive coordinator.
Michigan State will begin the 2015 season on Sept. 4 against Western Michigan University, with their home opener taking place on Sept. 12 against last year’s National Championship finalist Oregon.
The Spartans can be heard all season on sister station 103.7 Cosy-FM.