Head coach Mark Dantonio was all smiles at his weekly press conference on Tuesday, and it’s no wonder why.
After a Week 2 loss to Oregon followed by a bye week, Dantonio had an extra week to preach to his players and the media that Saturday’s matchup with Eastern Michigan was a chance to “make a statement”.
The Spartans did just that, racing out to a 28-0 lead after the first quarter en route to a 73-14 beat down of the Eagles.
When asked about worrying if the game was too easy and his players becoming complacent, he said, “The game’s never easy. It became the way it was because of turnovers…I still believe we’re in that time period where we’re trying to figure out who we are.”
Looking forward, there were also a few questions regarding the Spartans’ depth chart for next Saturday’s game against Wyoming.
Both Aaron Burbridge and Macgarrett Kings Jr. moved up the depth chart this week, but Dantonio said they are “interchangeable with (Keith) Mumphery and (R.J.) Shelton” in what is a receiver group that “has a lot of depth.”
Right guard Connor Kruse was not listed on the depth chart, but the coaching staff is still hopeful he will be ready for Saturday. They will evaluate him on Wednesday and make a final decision as to his status then.
The coaching staff has also been impressed with the play of true freshman Montae Nicholson at safety so far, saying he is in the rotation and they will continue to monitor his in-game growth.
Regarding the upcoming game against Wyoming, Dantonio is looking forward to playing against a different kind of offense. “They are probably more like us than anybody else we’ve played,” he said about the Cowboys’ run-first attack.
And of course, what is a Dantonio press conference without questions on the new playoff format?
After saying his team is solely worried about becoming Big Ten Champions right now, he added, “My opinion is that you should be the champion of your conference before you can be the champion of the country.”
Michigan State faces off against Wyoming at noon on Saturday for the Spartans’ homecoming game.
Dan Tyler is the host of Spartan Red Zone for Impact Sports
Photo: Bradley Allen/Impact Sports