Bates Knows His Choice Was Right One

It's hard to believe that Aaron Bates replaced Brandon Fields back in 2007. The senior punter from New Concord (Ohio) came in knowing it was his job to lose, but after a solid freshman year, Bates has never looked back or over his shoulder in becoming one of Michigan State's top punters. Bates was rewarded by a trip to Big Ten Media Days and spoke with about his journey.

When Aaron Bates puts on his Spartan uniform for the last time he'll leave knowing he's accomplished a lot during his four year career. A starter since his freshman season, Bates has earned the respect of teammates and the Spartan coaching staff since arriving on campus. How does it feel knowing Monday starts the final leg of his journey?

"It's already hit when I think about having only 12 or 13 games left in my college career. I've played so many games but it doesn't really feel like it."

One of the major factors in Bates picking the Spartans out of high school was new head coach Mark Dantonio. Looking back did the Spartans head coach live up to his billing?

"Coach Dantonio's thing is he's not looking for any quick fixes just to win a lot of games. He's always looked for quality people and that has paid dividends. Right now we have the best team chemistry we've had since I've been here. I really feel this is going to pay major dividends this season."

Much was expected out of last year's team. But Aaron knows the Spartan program is on equal par with their Big Ten counterparts.

"We never played a game last season where a team had more talent than us. We made some costly mistakes and have learned from them."

Life of a college kicker can be a lonely one. How has Aaron handled the differences from high school to college?

"In high school I played quarterback and safety, so I was on the field a lot doing other things. Now I work on all areas of my game. You can't just go out and kick all day because you'll make your leg tired. But I work on my drops and spins. We do a lot of things like the running with the team, but it has been a different adjustment for me."

While Aaron received high praise from his head coach, he knows there are still things he's got to work on. What has helped him become a better player?

"Experience with failure and success has really helped me. Physically, I have no problem kicking a football. I practice all the time, but handling the mental part of failure and success is where I really feel I've improved my game the most."

With the light now showing at the end of his Spartan career, did Aaron Bates make the right choice back in 2007?

"Michigan State was the right choice. Coach Dantonio and I were talking about it just the other day. He asked me if I felt I made the right decision. I told him I definitely made the right choice. I'm a man of faith so I believed it really wasn't my choice to come to Michigan State. Now looking back at all the crazy things that happened to make you come here. I know Michigan State definitely was the right place for me and we're going to have a great year this season." will have lots of action involving Aaron Bates this season.

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