By making quarterbacks fair game in the practices leading up to the Spartans leaving for Arizona, Dantonio got the attention of his starting quarterback Andrew Maxwell.
"It's been good work and it's necessary work too," said Maxwell. "I think that's one of the things that I maybe wasn't as ready for as I could have been going into the season, was just really having a good feel for how much time you have back in the pocket.
"In practice when you get sacked, it's really just a tag off on the hip but to really have the pressure, to have the pocket coming in on you and have being hit by a reality that's good work for me and that's especially good work for these young guys who haven't that game experience."
Despite being live Maxwell feels he came away without any scratches as the offensive line provided him solid protection.
"The o-line did a good job protecting me in the team periods," said Maxwell. "So the team periods I was staying off my back really good."
One thing Maxwell and his teammates understand going into their battle with the Horned Frogs is a win means another winning season and some extra energy during those early winter workouts.
"It gives us that momentum going into the offseason," said Maxwell. "We were just talking about it the other day that we lived off that Outback Bowl win for eight or nine months going into the opener against Boise. So our season is really sitting on that fulcrum right now at six and six. A win can push us into good momentum and a loss can put us behind going into the offseason. You'd certainly like to have that momentum and carry it into the offseason."
No matter the outcome, Maxwell knows this team has taken steps forward despite the ups and downs experienced during what turned out to be a difficult season.
"Well I think that the biggest thing is you've got to keep pushing no matter what happens," said Maxwell. "Because over the course of a game, so many things can happen and it can be a roller coaster of emotion.
"But I think if you just stay stable, stay even keel, you'll find that it's going to yield the best results. Especially over the course of a season too, I think it's well documented all the shortcomings we've had and how close we were. I thought this team did a good job of staying resilient and staying consistent, getting those last couple of wins to get us to a bowl game. I think if you just stay a level head and even keel then you'll like the results."
When the Spartans take the field against TCU it will have been just over a month since their victory over Minnesota. Despite the layoff, Maxwell feels this team is just about to hit its stride and can carry over the success from their win over the Gophers.
"I really feel like every practice that we came out, we really built off the one we had the day before and every practice has been better than the last one," said Maxwell. "I really feel like we're hitting our stride now so these next couple days will be good to get our rest back, get our legs back, and go down to Arizona for the game.
"I think that the break we had after Minnesota kind of helped us because the season can get long and can be a grind. We had those couple weeks to get our legs back and get fresh mentally as well as physically. Going through this bowl practice, I feel like we've had a lot of time to knock the rust off. I mean really every day we've been getting in the groove of it and every practice has been better than the last one. I really do feel like we're hitting our stride now and we're ready to play."
As for what he's seen on film from the Horned Frogs, Maxwell knows he's in for a solid test.
"I think the first thing that jumps off the film at you is just how athletic they are," said Maxwell. "That starts up front with their d-line, extremely athletic guys, long and lanky but also strong and powerful men. Going back through their linebackers and their secondary, a lot of speed but guys who are also really tough and are going to come up and strike you. At every position on the field we're going to have a challenge waiting for us but that's what we're expecting and we're excited about.