East Lansing, MI
While Michigan State can celebrate the fact that they remained vanilla for the nationally televised spring game and against Furman, one area that must be addressed is the penalties. The Spartans had a staggering 10 penalties for 120 yards versus the Paladins and a state like that Saturday in South Bend will most certainly spell a loss for the Spartans.
So how are the Spartans addressing it? The captains addressed it.
Safety Demetrious Cox said, “Really, well, first of all, Coach D was not happy at all. Over the bye week we did a lot of disciplinary things, for penalties. We've got to be more accountable for those.”
Cox elaborated saying, “So I feel like he tried to do that, and really he just said it's possible to play without penalties. I think we had a game against Nebraska or somebody, Wisconsin, we had no penalties. So he just wants to stress to us, we beat ourselves sometimes in certain situations and we can't let that happen if we want to be back-to-back Big Ten champs and stuff like that. Great teams don't do things like that.”
From the offensive side of the ball, QB Tyler O’Connor said, “I think offensively speaking we halted two of our drives when we were driving the ball and everything and we felt that we would have gone down and scored if we didn't have a 10- or 15-yard penalty, and they weren't mental errors. They weren't jumping off sides, delay of games, illegal formations or things like that.”
O’Connor added that, “They're more technique and kind of just being dumb. I think we had a late hit maybe and a couple holding penalties. So whether that's technique or getting used to how the refs are calling the game, I'm not sure. I don't block much or do any of that. But I guess that's on the coaches themselves. That's not really mental errors, it's more technique offensively at least.”
Mark Dantonio looked back at the 120 yards in penalties versus the Paladins and addressed it head on. “Obviously we had too many penalties when you look at 120 yards worth of penalties compared to LJ Scott rushing for 107 yards, I thought he had a great football game, that's a lot of yards, especially at inopportune times for us, and really told the story of the game as we proceeded through the whole football game.”
The Spartans will kick it off with the Irish at 7:30 PM Saturday night. You can see that game on NBC.