At least one writer from the World Wide Leader isn’t buying into the Michigan State “hype” heading into the spring and beyond. And that’s not sitting well with the Spartans’ head coach.
Shortly after National Signing Day earlier this month, ESPN.com‘s Travis Henry wrote an article on teams that are trending downward post-signing day ($ link). MSU was, obviously, one of those teams.
Two weeks later, Mark Dantonio was asked about the opinion piece and, not so unexpectedly, dismissed such talk.
“I don’t put much stock in a lot of that, usually,” the coach said.
“I think that was one guy, one abstract thing that somebody had to say on one day, because I don’t really see that very often. I haven’t seen a lot of people saying that, and I don’t see us declining. I see us moving forward.”
Arguably the only dents to Dantonio’s football program this offseason has been losing long-time defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi to the head-coaching job at Pittsburgh and replacing 1,500-yard rusher Jeremy Langford. Aside from that, you could make the argument that the Spartans are trending up, not down.
They’re coming off 24 wins the past two seasons, the last of which was a big win over then-No. 5 Baylor in the Cotton Bowl. They’re middle of the pack in returning starters in the Big Ten with 13, which includes seven from a defense that is one of the best in the country. Their starting quarterback, Connor Cook, will enter 2015 as one of the better players at his position in the conference, perhaps behind just Ohio State’s three-headed quarterback.
You could see why, with the loss of Narduzzi, someone might see some slippage in East Lansing on the horizon, but it’s also easy to hear Dantonio say he “sees us moving forward” and nod your head in agreement.
Now, if moving forward means getting past Ohio State? That’s another matter entirely.