Monday, August 22, 2011

Dantonio notes from Monday's practice

Some updates from Monday's media availability. I'm working on some stories, but here's a collection of notable quotes from Mark Dantonio.

After not liking the team's energy in the first scrimmage, Dantonio was much more pleased after yesterday's 183-play scrimmage. Dantonio said the intensity picked up when they moved to the practice field, instead of dropping off like he thought would happen.

"When I look at the film, I always try and evaluate the toughness and the effort, in terms of what we’re trying to do. … I really feel like we have great chemistry on this football team. Guys are playing extremely hard and playing with toughness."

Dantonio thought the offensive line played well, but there were too many penalties from them.

"What we try to do is weight these penalties relative to the scrimmage. So that hurt them, that set them back a couple times. But as far as the play itself, I thought it was OK. Again, we’ve got some young guys up there playing, so they’re going to make some mistakes. But they’re athletic and continue to grow every time we have a scrimmage or every time we have a game, they’ll grow immensely."

Detroit-native and freshman linebacker Lawrence Thomas is expected to be out at least another week with a shoulder injury. With the amount of camp he has missed, the possibility of a redshirt is very real. Dantonio doesn't want to waste a redshirt opportunity by only playing him sparingly, so that's something to look for.

"I imagine it will be difficult because he’s got to rehab his shoulder first and then he’s got to be able to hit with it. Difficut, but he showed a lot of promise when he was able to practice … He’s lost a lot of time. We don’t want to put a guy in there just to put him in the game and say, ‘Hey, you’ve played.’ He’s too good of a player and too valuable of a commodity to waste. So when he’s ready to play, if that’s the third game, he’ll play, if it’s not until next year, then that’s what we’ll do."

When asked about how many freshmen are in the two-deep, Dantonio mentioned safety RJ Williamson, linebacker Ed Davis and Shilique Calhoun as the possibilities, which is quite a statement on the depth of this team.

Dantonio was asked about several position battles, and eventually didn't want to answer them any more. We might not know until the first depth chart comes out before the opener against Youngstown State, and even then, it might be filled with the "ORs."

"I’m not going to make those statements until we get ready to play the game. I think we jump to conclusions sometimes. We thought the guys were competing for the positions, but to me, we still have a week to go here. We’ll come back next week and we’ll sort of solidify where we’re at. I think that’s the fair thing to do. We want to evaluate them all the way through summer camp."

Lots of players were made available, so it's time for me to get back to work on some stories.

(I'm going to bold quotes now, so it looks better on the computer screen)

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