“Will be very exciting for us,” said Dantonio. “We’ve got to address our needs and concerns. Obviously you have certain concerns that are inherent to every football team, and in other areas you just have basic losses, guys who have graduated.”
As with every spring he’s been at the helm of the Spartans, Dantonio will look to tinker with his roster and the way his team plays.
“Experiment with position change, experiment with new concepts,” he stressed. “I mentioned our young players’ experience, give our young players experience. We’ve got seven new freshmen that are coming in the door. It’s going to be important for them to play and participate throughout spring, be 15 out of 15. So we’ll look forward to our guys completing 15 of 15 practices. That’s the goal, as well.”
With the loss of three year starter Connor Cook. Dantonio knows there will be lots of questions about the quarterback play and who could step forward. What are his expectations at the position?
“I think we have four quarterbacks,” he said. “Obviously we have two guys with more experience, Tyler O’Connor. O’Connor will go in as the leader at that situation. But that’s going to bear out over August camp and really over the first couple of games. We’ll see how everybody performs. But we’re going to give everybody opportunities. Messiah deWeaver is one of those rookies. Brian Lewerke is one of those guys who redshirted. I think you’ll see a much more experienced quarterback. Damion Terry is going into his fourth year, and then obviously Tyler O’Connor is going into his fifth year.”
As for those who ended last season watching from the sidelines due to injuries, Dantonio wouldn’t speak too much on the injured but expressed players are getting back.
“I think Ed Davis is working back in,” he said. “Dennis Finley, as well. Vayante (Copeland) looks pretty good. He’s gone through all of our winter conditioning program.”
Since last season and following the Cotton Bowl many have asked about the status of Montez Sweat and Craig Evans. In January, Dantonio spoke of Sweat as being in limbo. What is the status of both players?
“They’re both participating in spring practice,” he said.