East Lansing, MI
No one gets more praise and more criticism than the QB. It is often said that the most popular player in all of football is the backup QB. But when you pull back the layers of the Spartans disappointing 2016 season so far opening 2-2, it is clear quickly that QB Tyler O’Connor is not the reason.
Now don’t think for one second I am proclaiming that O’Connor has been great, but I am saying he is not the reason for the Spartan shortcomings. While some act like Spartan Football has had an apocalyptic meltdown, that isn’t the reality and Dantonio hasn’t quit.
Saying, “Well, first of all, we're not cashing out this year yet. We're a 2-2 football team. As far as the out-of-conference game, we'd need to win the football game, so we're going to do what we have to do to win the football game. It's paramount that we win.”
He added, “So in line of everybody's getting reps in practice and those types of things, we'll make the best decisions for the team going forward as to who our quarterback is, and right now, you know, it's Tyler O'Connor. I think that the guy has leadership ability. I think he shows toughness on the field. I think he made plays. If we win the football game, if the head coach decides to go for two or we win the football game in overtime, he's the hero of the game; took him down the field and scored. But because that didn't happen, you know, he's thrown under the bus a little bit.”
Dantonio agress that he needs more out of O’Connor, but he isn’t the reason the Spartans lost. “So I don't think that's the reason we lost the football game. So as long as that guy's always got to be a productive player for us, there is no question about that. A lot of things going on with a lot of penalties, they took away scoring opportunities in the football game earlier, took us out of scoring position or whatever, and put us in longer yardage situations.”
Dantonio thinks you have to look at the entire team, not just the most visible position. “So it's, like I said, it's all-inclusive. Got to come up with more turnovers. If we're not winning the turnover battle, which we usually have done. This time it was even. You usually have done that throughout our time. We've got to pressure the quarterback more effectively. No question about that and come away with sacks. Probably the most important thing is every game starts with 15 minutes on the clock, and you've got 60 minutes to play.”
The Spartans are facing a must win situation to save their season on Saturday. There is no respite for the Spartans to stop and lick their wounds. “So regardless of what's happened in the past, you have an opportunity to make it right and to play forward and start to improve those particular situations that allow you to win a game.”
He offered this last statement to balm the wounds of the Spartan faithful. “I think there's conviction on our football team. I know our football team and everybody's hurting a little bit and they'll be ready to play. I'm quite confident they'll be ready to play.”