CHICAGO — The first day of Big Ten Media Days was busy to say the least for everyone associated with the Michigan State football program. All media availability was held between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Thursday.
The overwhelming aura of fatigue was punctuated by head coach Mark Dantonio stating near the end of his hour-long presser, “This thing is going on forever”.
Groveling aside, coach Dantonio also had some very interesting things to say about this upcoming season for the Spartans.
At one point during the aforementioned press conference, Dantonio extended his arms revealing his sleeves from underneath his suit jacket.
He pointed towards his cuffs and said, “Let’s talk about my cufflinks. These are Biggie Munn’s that he wore to the ’57 Rose Bowl. I put those on for a reason this week,” Coach Dantonio remarked. “We’re headed in that direction, we’re headed beyond.”
While this kind of talk in general can normally be chalked up to the “everything is rainbows and butterflies” offseason talk, I can’t help but think this is a real message to the rest of the nation, let alone the Big Ten.
The disappointment that was last season hung heavy over many of the players when asked about the highs and lows of last season.
Just finished up a great interview with @joelklatt of @FS1. Talking Heisman favorites, a bounce-back season for @MSU_Football, and how @TheeHOCK8 fits with Matt Stafford and the @Lions. Stay tuned for the full interview! #B1GMediaDay pic.twitter.com/NSyeZeoCB6
— Trent Balley (@tbal91) July 18, 2019
Raequan Williams specifically pointed to the RedBox Bowl loss in December, to Oregon 7-6, as being a determining factor as to why he and fellow seniors Joe Bachie and Kenny Willekes returned for one last go-round.
Michigan State under the Dantonio regime has time and again proven to the college football world they should never count them out of anything.
As underdogs over the last eight seasons, the Spartans have won half of those games. They seemingly play with a grit and determination that can only be explained by having a chip on their shoulder.
Coach D and the senior leadership on this team appear to be going to this well once more in the hopes that they can get back to the winning ways of 2017 and 2015.
With that said, there is a major difference between this upcoming season and past years. Everyone knows the Spartans have an elite defensive unit and everyone is going to be eager to attempt to beat this vaunted squad.
Illinois Fighting Illini lineman Alex Palczewsk told me “I’m really looking forward to going up against that Kenny Willekes,” giving more weight to the old adage to be the best, you have to beat the best.
If there was one thing learned from all the talk today, it was that Michigan State wants to rebound and return to the top of the Big Ten once again, but there isn’t a team on their schedule that isn’t aware of what their capable of.