In a media briefing today, Coach Dantonio talked about his fourfold program designed to bring MSU's players up to speed on his philosophy on how Spartan football will be played under his tenure.
"We've got a mission that we're on and it's got to take small steps. Sometimes you're going to see things moving ahead, other times you're see is sort of staggered and taking a step backwards.
"Our goal is to very, very quickly "A", we want to build relationships and trust among our players. I think our attitude, we've tried to work on that, from a standpoint of getting to know our players, I think that's first and foremost what we had to accomplish in January."
"We've had eleven winter workouts, 5:45 this morning was the latest and I can tell you at 5:45 this morning everybody was back for spring practice and spring drills, spring classes and that was a commitment everybody made."
A second goal Dantonio outlined was implementing his system.
"We need to start at point "A" and build, the vocabulary, the entire vocabulary is changing. While there are still somethings that remain basic, so many of those vocabulary and terminology issues are going to be changed. So we have to start at a very basic clock and begin to build."
"The third thing is we need to evaluate player ability, character, work ethic. Certainly their ability as players is crucial. There will be no depth chart, per se, as we come into this. I said when I came in here everybody would have an opportunity and then we would begin to formulate who people are and what they can do based on what they do in spring drills, based on what they do off the field and all the other areas. We'll formulate who's on what depth chart as we go - who's first team, who's second team, etc."
Dantonio explained his philosophy on why he didn't want any kind of depth chart early on.
"It doesn't send the right message to our football team right now. Every position is up for grabs. Certainly there are some guys who have proven their worth, you've watched the game films and there are some guys that you know are going to be in the lineup, but there are other aspects of the program that are up in the air."
Then explaining the fourth and final aspect of his program, Dantonio explained, "the last thing we need to establish this spring is to find the impact player. What player can impact our football team and then feature these players.
"When I was here in '99, Julian Petersen was a guy who was an impact player. We began to figure out way to use him in our defensive scheme. Plaxico Burress was an impact player and we figured out how to use him."
We need to find out who those impact players are throughout spring practice and figure out ways to build our program from there," concluded the coach.
Michigan State will begin their spring practice on March 20 in pursuit of Coach Dantonio's four faceted program.