All season long the team has held up the term "finish" as its mantra and battle cry, but after three straight losses in conference play, some are wondering whether the Spartans have what it takes to be "finishers."
Spartans head coach John L. Smith acknowledged that despite going through it a season ago, his MSU team is still learning how to fight through adversity and stay mentally tough.
``This is what football's about and this is gonna be what life's about. We tell them that," said Smith.
``There's going to be people in your life you're going to lose. There's going to be things in you're life you're going to lose. This is what building character is all about. This is why you play the game. It's a game of life too.
You're going to get knocked down. We're down. Our guys know that, but they have to put it behind them. They can't be dwelling on that. Forget about that and look ahead and we have to learn that. That's why we play this game."
Smith said that he believes that when the team gets down, they believe that somehow, they can rely on junior quarterback Drew Stanton to bail them out and that they've developed a false sense of security.
``We all, even the football team, kind of looks and says now, 'OK, Drew's going to pull a rabbit out of the hat here', Smith said. ``Well, that doesn't happen and it's not scheme, it's that we all have to make it happen. We all have to play together and do 'right' and then you don't have to worry about the rabbit coming out of the hat."
He commented that he thinks that his team played hard, but it was tough to recapture the great emotion the team brought to the field against rivals Michigan and Ohio State.
``We played with effort, but our emotion, was not good. You know some of the coaches and I were talking about that and said maybe it's hard to play with that emotion one, two, three weeks in a row. Because we had great emotion and effort the last couple of weeks, prior to this week. We had effort, but we didn't have emotion and this game is meant to be played with emotion. For us to do what we have to do, we have to play with emotion."
Smith says he thinks the Spartans will recapture some of that this weekend against Indiana. ``Well I hope so, I believe our character is better."