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August 11, 2011

Dantonio: 'We are on track'

EAST LANSING - Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio met with reporters on Thursday evening to brief them on the first five days of training camp.

Dantonio confirmed the shoulder injury to prized freshman Lawrence Thomas, who is expected to miss between one and two weeks of training camp with what is being described as a shoulder contusion.

All-Big Ten corner Johnny Adams will miss three days of practice with a minor ankle sprain.

Mark Dantonio: First day in full pads from SpartanMag on Vimeo.


Dantonio Transcript



Opening Statement:

A lot of live work today. Guys looked good. I thought we ran the ball pretty effectively. I thought we ran well behind our pads. I thought Le'Veon Bell and Larry Caper both ran very well. I thought Nick Hill ran well. We held Edwin (Baker) out a little bit, just early in practice. I mean he can go but we held him out.

It was a physical practice, a lot of live work and guys played hard out there and there were some good things. Obviously you have to watch film to sort of evaluate everything. But we are on track.

On injuries to Johnny Adams and Lawrence Thomas:

Johnny Adams is out with an ankle right now, but he will be back probably after the weekend. LT (Lawrence Thomas) has a contusion on his shoulder. He is braced up right now and he will probably be back after a couple of weeks and we will have to work him back in easy.

With Thomas are you still hopeful that he will be able to come back during training camp?

Sure, you are hopeful. You just don't know when he is going to be able to hit on a sore shoulder. That remains to be seen. The positive thing is that there is no labrum tear or any separation whatsoever.

Johnny had a good spring, does this put him behind at all?

No, he has been having a good first three or four days, very competitive. He will just miss three days or so. He should be back probably by Monday. I don't know if he will scrimmage or not.

How is the focus?

Focus is very good, retention is very good I would say. But we've got a lot in and there are mistakes being made which is all part of it. There are a lot of moving pieces out there when you are trying to block things up front with different movements and different pressures. Then on the other side of the ball, defensively, there are a lot of formations which creates adjustments that you have to be able to make. And usually when there is a problem out there, you look for those two things. Mentally is it a blow or physically is it a blow?

But guys are playing hard, we look good physically as a football team. I think we look good physically out there. So we will keep working it.

What stood out on the offensive line in first day on pads?

It is tough to say until you watch the film. I thought we ran the ball effectively, so obviously some good things were happening up there. There is always break downs in protection or things like that as you install and are getting back to basics. Little things are going to create big problems when you are talking about the offensive line. It is about being a technician. We will have to go back and watch the film. We are in our fifth practice. But I thought things looked pretty good from layman's eyes.

How does Fou Fonoti look?

Fou looks good, works extremely hard. I think his retention is very good from what we have installed. You can tell that he has played college football before. You can tell that he has played against big people, athletic people, and you can tell that he can run. He is working as the No. 2 right tackle right now. It remains to be seen if he stays there. It depends on how everybody else around there works.

Coach (Mike) Tressel says that he likes how the freshmen linebackers look, how about the rest of the freshmen?

I think when you look at the freshmen you have some guys in the secondary. I think they play pretty well for freshmen. They fit the profile that we have, guys that run, guys that tackle well, they have good change of direction.

Our linebackers flow very well. They are big and they can run well.

Defensive line is probably a little bit farther behind because of the maturity level of playing against guys that are so strong and they are older. You can tell that a guy like Joel Heath is going to be a good player. Damon Knox has done some good things.

Offensive line-wise there has been a lot of installation. Those guys are always the last ones to pick up on things at the end of the day from a physical stature. (Donavon) Clark, (Fou) Fonoti, who is not a freshman, Jack Allen, those guys are going to be good players.

At wide receiver, Juwan Caesar is still banged up. But I think that A.J. Sims has done a nice job. You notice No. 21 out there. He runs good routes and he is tough, he is tough-minded.

Quarterback Connor CookI think throws the ball very effectively, a quick release. But he has a lot of things coming at him very quickly. If you can imagine one day install and the next day more install and the next day, it starts to pile up on you. Then you compound that with all of the different defenses that you are seeing, coverages, things start to roll up on you a little bit.

Isaiah Lewis was a guy that was able to get a role last year as a true freshman is (Roger) Williamson a guy who could potential do the same thing?

I think that it is too early. He has the physical ability, but I think that it is too early to say. It depends on a lot of things like how Kurtis Drummond plays, how fast Jairus Jones is able to come back, how is Mylan Hicks playing. Mylan is playing very fast so it remains to be seen. We are only one day into pads, but the bottom line is that you have to be able to get people on the ground in the secondary so there is a lot of work to do there to see where we are at with that.

Every year you have a certain number of freshmen play, is Darien Harris a kid that is in the mix?

Darien is very active and I think that he comes from a great program in DeMatha High School, so he has played at a high level in high school. But again, it is very early to see how these guys fit into the big scheme of things after one padded practice.

What stood out most after one padded practice?

I think retention. There was good retention and I think our guys were moving quickly. We have depth, we have some depth. With that being said, are we going to stay healthy and how are our ones going to play other people's ones? But we have some depth and the program is going in the right direction because of the depth.

When is your first live scrimmage?

Saturday will be our first live scrimmage. We will go live a little bit tomorrow. We went live some today. We went probably about 30 snaps live today.

How does (Joel) Foreman look as the leader of your offensive line?:

Again, Joel is a guy who has four years of experience so he knows what is going on and he does it at a rapid pace. He tweaked an ankle a little bit and sat out yesterday's practice but he looked good today.

Will it be a jersey scrimmage?

Yeah, it will be a jersey scrimmage on Saturday. A little bit more base defense.

Is Caesar out long term?

That remains to be seen. He hasn't practiced yet. He had an injury coming in.




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