Notes From Dantonio’s Media Day Press Conference

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Nearly seventy media members awaited anxiously for Mark Dantonio to answer questions at Michigan State football media day on Monday. Dantonio believed the high attendance of media and anticipation for the 2015 season is the result of higher expectations. In his first years at MSU, Dantonio did not have to deal with as much attention from the media as he does now.

“We were selling hope back then a little bit”, Dantonio said. “And now we’re selling the results of what’s happened. I think people look at things and say that they’ve done this, they’ve done that, okay, what’s the next step, where ‘reach higher’ comes into the play.”

“Reach Higher” has been the slogan for Dantonio’s team this summer, as he hopes to solidify his football program’s elite status. The results have been strong for MSU over the past three years. Dantonio’s crew won the Rose Bowl to cap off the 2013 season and the Cotton Bowl following 2014. The ninth-year MSU head coach did not give any specific goals for his team, but rather stated that reevaluating goals was more important for his team.

The Spartans had lofty expectations in the 2014 season, but fell short with losses on the road to Oregon and at home to Ohio State.

“We didn’t succeed in those two games so we didn’t reach our goals, and that’s the bottom line,” Dantonio said. “Now, goals always change. I was very proud of our football team in terms of how we reacted after those two losses because we regathered ourselves and we did what we needed to do to get back in the hunt in both situations.”

Michigan State enters the 2015 season ranked No. 6 in the Associated Press Coaches Poll, ranked only behind Ohio State in the Big Ten. While goals like a Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff berth have become the benchmark for Dantonio’s teams, the priorities for Michigan State remain the same no matter what the expectations are.
“I think that my feeling is that this is what I want for our players: I want relationships, I want them to graduate, I want them to win, I want them to go to bowl games,” Dantonio said. “I want us to give back, and when they walk out of here, feel good about their experiences here. That makes it a positive season for me.”