Tuesday's Take Two - CMU Edition
For the first time in the Mark Dantonio era player availability to the media has been cut off. And yes, all of us in the media have been speculating (a lot of complaining too) about the reason over the last 24 hours. However, at today’s press conference, we received some answers…I think.
“I feel like I don't want them in a compromising situation this week,” said Dantonio. “We've got a lot of players from Ohio, we've got guys with pressure on them, and they don't need the additional pressure.”
This article on Marcus Rush from George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press might’ve been one of the reasons. (In case you missed it)
Dantonio went on to say: “I think there's pressure on a lot of points in our program. I think our quarterback gets asked a lot of questions. (He's) constantly, constantly talking to the media, and he needs to play well and he needs to get away from that. He needs to relax.”
So there you have it. Take it or leave it. For this week, we in the media will have to take it. But some may not leave it alone. I for one, will.
INFORMATION THAT ACTUALLY MATTERS
-It sounds like Bennie Fowler is still status quo for the week. He’s practiced once each of the last couple of weeks.
“If he gets foot pain, then we back him off,” Dantonio said. “So if the foot pain is gone, then he's going to go. But it's really a day to day thing with him.”
Bennie’s injury has allowed redshirt freshman Tony Lippett to get some more playing time as well. On Saturday, he played 38 snaps (3 rec., 29 yds) according to Dantonio and is an athlete that you they have to use.
“Because of Bennie Fowler's injury, I felt like he needs to be a guy that has to move in that direction, and in order for a guy to get better, especially when he's a young player, he has to play on game day on one side or the other, so what we say is use him or lose him on either side of the ball because I do think he's a talented player, but he's got to gain confidence as he plays.”
Defensive End Tyler Hoover appears to be a little further away from returning to the field due to a fractured rib. Dantonio said that there is a chance the junior will be back for the Michigan game.
Also, Keshawn Martin left the CMU game early and did not return. He is scheduled to practice today and play on Saturday.
-In the first two games Kirk Cousins completed over 80 percent of his passes (34-42) with zero interceptions. The last two weeks have changed however, with Kirk completing 61 percent in the last two games (47-76) with 2 interceptions.
No doubt the pressure he has received is a major factor. Over the past two games he’s been sacked just twice, but against Notre Dame he was pressured on multiple occasions. I don’t think there is any question that has been the main culprit in his errant passes of late.
“We have to protect our quarterback; that'll give him the time to throw the football,” said Dantonio. “If we do that, if we can protect our quarterback, good things are going to happen. There's no doubt in my mind that that is the case. He's got too much experience, too many good throws, he's got a great arm, all the things he needs to have.”
-To help Cousins in that regard this week, the offensive line will need to build more continuity…something that comes with game reps. A bright spot from the CMU game was Micajah Reynolds, who helped move the football when he entered the game for Dan France at left tackle.
“I was impressed with Micajah and his play. Physical, big, he's athletic, and we're going to continue to make strides with him hopefully.”
For MSU’s sake, they’ll need that type of play from the left tackle position. There’s no doubt that if Micajah can build on that performance, he’ll be an upgrade from what we’ve seen so far.
On the other side of that coin, Dantonio likes France’s size and athleticism, but he says it’s simply a lack of composure at times that gets the best of him.
“When you're playing in that type of environment, this environment (home), whatever the environment we play in, there's a lot going on out there for him, so he needs to just stay composed as a football player, and I think he's going to grow into that.
**To hear Coach Dantonio’s full press conference, click HERE.**