Quotable: IU-Michigan State

Here are postgame quotes from both Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio and Indiana's Kevin Wilson following Saturday's 42-28 Michigan State win at Spartan Stadium.

Here is a look back at what the two coaches had to say following Michigan State's 42-28 victory over Indiana Saturday at Spartan Stadium:

Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio

Opening statement...

I thought our football team came out to play today, which is always expected of them. We sort of characterized this game as an iron man lift. If you know anything about Spartan football, we have iron man lifts for our younger players at 5:30 a.m. Everybody in our football program has to go through that. We felt like that's what it was going to be - you are going to be challenged, you were going to have adversity, you're going to be pushed to the brink.

Offensively, we felt like we had to control the tempo of the game and had to definitely win the field position and had to take the air out of the ball some, which I felt like we did. Defensively, we were going to have to get back home and line up. I heard Coach Narduzzi talking about that, lining up, staying squared away and playing. I thought we played very well defensively. We gave up the first one and you're going to have to respond, like I said. You're going to have to handle adversity. Then we gave up two more after sudden changes, which really shouldn't have happened. But you deal with it, it's part of coaching. I thought our defense played well.

I give a lot of credit to our offense in terms of what they were able to do running the football. There were some big plays on the passing game. You had some explosive plays and different guys making plays. I felt like Langford would hit it, if he got a crease, he could take it the distance. He's got great speed and you saw that happen. But also, you saw R.J. Shelton accelerate. You saw Delton Williams getting the ball. So we've got different guys making plays and that's what's exciting to me. Josiah Price with the big catch on third and long. Again, different guys and young players sort of transitioning into playmakers for us. That's the thing that I felt like would happen. Connor Cook plays another solid game. I think he's (22-for-31) for 235 yards. So good things are happening. Special teams were solid. Sadler had a big kick and huge punts. Special teams played well. I think overall it's a good team win for us. We're 5-1 and we can set the tone for the next phase. We're halfway through the season. Now we start playing for things.

On message of opportunities for younger guys...

We've always tried to do that. In certain times, there are going to be opportunities because of need or because of depth. We have three good tailbacks - Langford, Delton Williams and Nick Hill. We're always going to ride the hot guy. That's what ends up happening sometimes. So you saw Delton and Jeremy get the majority of the carries there certainly. But Nick Hill is a quality back as well, so we feel good about him. I think it goes for all of our wide receivers. Lippett has a big day. Obviously, Bennie Fowler had a huge touchdown run after a catch. We can continue to get better, that's the exciting thing. We're focused. I think we're focused as a football team. Our guys are hungry and it was great to get a win at Spartan Stadium on the 500th football game.

On Macgarrett King's maturity of on offense...

I think so. He's a playmaker. He's a very confident guy. We've got guys like that. A.J. Sims is very much like that. We've got guys being selfless out there and we just want to play to win. That's the basic mentality of our football team right now. I thought it was tremendous we scored when we were in the red zone today. We also got explosive plays and we finished. You have to make the play and be able to finish.

On carryover from last week's win at Iowa...

I just feel like the more you do, the more confident you become. Confidence breeds success. I've said that all along. If you're not being successful, you're going to start having some self doubt. But if you are successful, confidence is going to grow. Especially in a young player where there's a large learning curve. Connor Cook has a large learning curve because he's playing for the third or fourth time. MacGarrett Kings or Delton Williams and R.J. Shelton and Josiah Price; it's just good for confidence. That's four names right off the bat that are very young players, playing as either a redshirt freshman, true freshman or redshirt sophomore in Connor Cook's case. They're making plays. Those are good things. We have to build on those things. We've got to keep coaching and we've got to get ready for Purdue. We cannot back off or slack off. We've got to get ready to get win number six.

On whether this was the offense he was imagining at beginning of season...

I came into the season knowing we were going to have to do some different things. We were going to have to have some change, have to have a little bit of an evolution and transition to these things. Sometimes, change takes some time. You have to be able to stay the course a little bit and understand some of the problems you're going to have, whether it's a young player or whatever the case. You just keep trying to push though. We've tried to stay positive with our guys and kept saying, `when it does turn, it's going to turn in a big way.' I think today was an indication of that. Are we a finished product? I don't think we're a finished product yet. There were too many penalties that were unforced. We get off the field on third down and we have a penalty. Too many penalties or unforced penalties, we have to clean those up. Our guys are going to play aggressive, but we can tolerate that; it will hurt us in the end.

On growing `swagger' of Connor Cook...

I think he's growing. Like I said, there's a big learning curve. There always is for a young player. But he can make plays. He's got a good arm. I think he's finding his receivers. He throws a very catchable ball. He's growing in confidence.

On winning games at home...

We talk about that. We had a lot of close games last year that went down to the end and we lost them at home, other than the Notre Dame game. But prior to that for two years, we hadn't lost. So the basic thought process is that we're going to win in this stadium. That wasn't ever taken away from us. Other than the Notre Dame game, I thought we ran out of time on those games last season. But a loss is a loss. You have to deal with it. We were resilient and we kept playing. The farther we go, the more our crowd comes, the more it becomes a community-type thing, and when I say community, I mean the state of Michigan, the better it is going to become. I was impressed with the crowd today and impressed with our students. I like the Iron Man song being played out there a little bit. Things went well.

On rhythm of Connor Cook..

I thought he had rhythm, but again, I always think you can get better. I think he can take his game to the next level. I really do believe he could be a 100-yard rusher. I really believe that. I believe he can run with the football when given the opportunity, he can create and can make some big ones. He's going to still grow in that area. I think he's got good touch. The one pass that was picked was off a tip and almost a great grab by Aaron Burbridge. But you have to deal with it. I thought he played pretty well. He hit the big plays, he hit the plays on third down and long. I think he took one sack. It was a great performance by him and a very solid winning performance by him. Is it a Big Ten Championship performance? We're going to see as we go.

On biggest improvements in running game...

My thoughts are that our offensive line is gelling. We've got good players there and we also have some depth there and are staying healthy. We've got some different types of runners. We've got the banger a little bit in Delton Williams. He had stepped in there for some tough yards and broke a couple. Then you have Jeremy Langford who is a little more of a slasher. Nick Hill is a very quick north-south runner when he has an opportunity. We just have different variances in there and they're getting more experience. Again, I talk about Le'Veon Bell who had 390 carries last year. These guys weren't playing much. So there is transition, there is opportunity now, but they've got to gain confidence as they go and this is a big confidence booster for these players.

On putting Delton Williams back into the game after the fumble...

I have confidence in our players and the worst thing you can do to a player when he has a problem is to take him out and yank him. If he does it over a period of time, you're going to have to change. But I have to stay with him and have confidence in your players because it's so important for them to have confidence. I asked Delton, `what's up?' He said something about a wrist band, he took it off and we got him back in there. He's a physical runner. He's got a little bit of Le'Veon Bell in the midst of the line vision, quick-cutting ability and that's something that we can use.

On the evolution of Tony Lippett over past few weeks...

Tony has had a great two weeks. He's playing much more confidently and I think the theme here is confidence. He's playing harder and tougher. I said earlier last week, instead of watching film on Monday, I sat down with players. Two weeks ago, I sat down with Tony; just listening to him. Not talking to him or at him, but just listening to him. He had some things he wanted to say and I think that after that, he just moved forward. He got some things off his chest and just moved forward with life. I think he's playing outstanding right now. He's got a lot of confidence. He's the guy that we thought he was going to be when we recruited him. He sat as a redshirt freshman. He made all kinds of plays. He was the guy as a redshirt freshman who started at corner for us. Now you see him starting to flourish again. I think that's so important. Confidence breeds success. We're starting to flourish and our offense is getting more confident and that becomes a team gain. It takes some pressure off the defense. Our special teams were solid today. So we just need to continue to move this progress forward.

On Bennie Fowler...

I'm not sure about Bennie's health, but I think he's playing much the same way and making plays. There are a lot of guys making plays out there and that's what you need. Swinging the ball around Macgarrett Kings last week, Fowler last two weeks, but guys are making plays. Lippett, Burbridge is playing well and A.J. Sims is making plays. R.J. Shelton is in there making plays on the run and pass. We've got some playmakers and we've got to use those guys. The exciting thing is that any one of them can take it the distance.

On the play to open up the second half...

It was called a smash-fade. He came off the x on the fade and came back to the tight end on the seam. Josiah caught it right in rhythm and ran it down to the four or three yard line. Josiah Price and Jamal Lyles both have great hands and are both young players, redshirt freshman, and are both a different type of tight end than Michael Dennis, Gleichert is a little bit of both. Dennis is a bigger guy. We use them all. When you've got a lot of people playing, your team is very healthy because there is a lot of input and a lot of enthusiasm.

On playing an offense like Indiana's...

Their first drive took a minute and one second. To be able to play against Indiana, you've got to be able to keep that ball, you've got to make first downs, you've got to take some clock because you're defense has to rest some because they're going to be going every single play very fast at great speed.

Indiana Head Coach Kevin Wilson

On his team's struggles today...

We've been pretty good throughout the year. There's always going to be a glitch or two along the way. You've got to be strong enough and mature enough to overcome it, and you've got to be deep to overcome it.

On facing the defensive pressure of Michigan State...

Those guys have a lot of pride in their defense, the way they attack and play. There was some times where we actually did some things against them that sometimes are maybe a little bit quicker than we want. But you're doing that so they can't get us multiple in their looks. They can be very complex in their ability to disguise where they're coming from - show you a blitz one way, come the other way - so that makes sense sometimes we will kind of take a stab at it and we'll go fast enough to help ourselves but sometimes it's fast enough to not be clean for your quarterbacks. It was competitive and tough, and that's what happens when you play against a pretty good defense. Those 28 points are the most they've given up in two years. 27 was the most they gave up last year. This team doesn't give up points. And again, you've got to beat this team as a team. We needed a pick six. We needed a blocked punt or a punt return, and we didn't. We needed a couple defense stops.

On the success of Michigan State's offense in today's game...

I do think they wrinkled up a few things formationally that got us misaligned a bit more than it needs to be, so it will be interesting to see how can we continue to clean up. But again, you do need to tackle. We missed some. They've got a couple strong backs with a good runners, but then again, they played pretty good today. You can't let them run it down your throat.

On the nature of today's game...

We had a few opportunities to what ended up being a 14-point game. You're sweating uphill but you had a few opportunities to get close, and when you're playing not a heavyweight but a pretty good prize-fighter, you can't go in there and spar and jab, you need to make some plays to connect and we just didn't connect enough to me.

On the Michigan State coaching staff...

They made their adjustments. The best thing about Coach Dantonio and Coach Narduzzi is they know their package and how to adjust it, and we need to get to that point on both sides of the ball. They are a program I respect , and as we build our team, they do a lot of things in building their `O' and `D' they we need to do. There are some things they do that that's why they're the second-winningest team in the Big Ten over the last six, seven years since they've been up here. So it's not an accident. So a lot of respect for them. Kind of battled toe to toe and came up a little bit short, but we're going to keep rolling.


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