Dantonio: We Let Our Guys Play

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio had the following comments following his teams first scrimmage of the spring season. (All quotes provided MSU Athletic Communications)

In Michigan State tradition, defense took the early lead earning the first green jersey of the spring.

Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio had several areas and players to praise from the first scrimmage of the spring. However, he also knows work is needed before the spring session ends with the annual Green-White game on April 25th.

Here are the comments provided to the media by MSU Athletic Communications.

"I was very impressed with our defense," said Dantonio. "It sort of picked up where we left off last year. Montae Nicholson had a big day with the two picks for touchdowns. Montae really made two outstanding plays and had impressive runs after the catch. He's a special player.

"The front seven played extremely well. Shilique Calhoun is always going to be great. LT (Lawrence Thomas) played very well and Malik McDowellplayed well in there. Riley Bullough was active, and Darien Harris had a good game defensively. It's tough to see sometimes from ground level, but it's a credit to the way we played defensively. We stopped the run and made it tough to pass because we pressured the quarterback. Basically, we did what we needed to do on the defensive side of the ball.

"The defense is always a little ahead of the offense at this time in the spring. When the adrenaline starts moving and you begin playing well on one side of the ball or the other, things sort of catapult and you begin to build momentum. Overall, it was a good first scrimmage. "Offensively, we had some drives down the field; however, two of the picks turned away drives. In addition to the three interception returns for scores, the defense came up with a stop on fourth-and-one that ultimately won the scrimmage.

"Connor Cook was crisp and played very effectively throughout most of the game, but he had two picks and didn't get the first team into the end zone and that's the bottom line at the end of the day. Damion Terry did a nice job moving the (second) team and Tyler O'Connor did as well.

"Our young backs need to continue to grow. They had some nice runs, but they've got to hit the holes because they're going to close very quickly.

"We (the coaches) stood back and let our guys play, so we have to correct the things we didn't do well. We have four practices next week, including another scrimmage. We got out of this (scrimmage) with no injuries, so that's a positive. We had Big Ten officials here and that's another positive. We'll put an emphasis on corrections and eliminating penalties next week."

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