Cook, a native of Hinckley, Ohio, knows he’ll have another chance to hurt the home state school from reaching their goal of repeating as Big Ten Champions. But will Cook even take the field after the pounding he took against Maryland?
“Shoulder is great, shoulder is good,” said Cook on a special teleconference Monday afternoon.
When pressed to talk about if his shoulder had received x-rays or iif he’s even thrown a football, Cook followed in the footsteps of his head coach, Mark Dantonio by refusing to even give the slightest hint about his health going into the game.
“Um, I’m not gonna answer that question,” he said.
But Cook was willing to talk about coming home and if playing the Buckeyes provides a little more incentive.
“It doesn’t really mean anything being my last game playing in the state of Ohio,” he said. “But playing against a team from Ohio, definitely means a lot more. Me being from Ohio playing against a team that I have grown up playing against guys that played for Ohio State in high school, that I have had the chance to know from all-star games and have relationships with.
“And then people that I went to high school with that attend the university. So it’s a big game for me. Homecoming game, being able to go back to my home state and play against guys that I know, just adds that much more motivation and it’s going to be just that more fun.”
As the face of the Spartans program the past three seasons, Cook and those around him know they’ve changed the perception of Michigan State football from those on the outside.
“I think without a doubt the success we’ve had has allowed us to have better recruiting classes, has allowed for us to get a new locker room over at the stadium and practice locker room,” explained Cook. “New facilities, the whole nine yards. Winning does that, winning championships does that, and it has most certainly helped us in the long run.
“Before 2010, I really can’t remember when Michigan State won a Big Ten Championship. It’s been awhile and then they won it in 2010 when I was a senior in high school. Then in 2011, my true freshman year here, when I redshirted, we made it to the Big Ten Championship game, won 11 games that year. Then in 2012 it was a down year and then 2013 and 2014 were both successful years.
“So I think people now definitely look at it differently over the last couple of years with the amount of success we’ve had and the championships we’ve won. The Cotton Bowl championship, the Rose Bowl championship game, the 2013 Big Ten title game, people look at us as an elite program and that is all just from winning.”