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December 8, 2013

Mark Dantonio

David Shaw

THE MODERATOR:  Welcome to the BCS conference call for the 100th Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio.  We will introduce our participating head coaches, each of whom will make a brief opening statement.  Following their statements we will open it up to questions from the media.  I'd like to introduce head coach for the Michigan State Spartans and Big 10 champions Mark Dantonio.
MARK DANTONIO:  Thanks very much.  We're very excited about coming to the 100th Rose Bowl.  Our football team has showed a tremendous amount of resilience throughout the past number of years but especially this year, a big win last night against Ohio State, and I don't think we've really come down to earth yet.  We'll have to do that in the next couple days.  But it's an exciting time for us.  Stanford is a tremendously talented football team.  I believe they do things right.  I think that Coach Shaw and his staff have a tremendous relationship with their players.  You can see that when you watch games on TV.  So it's going to be a tremendous challenge for us.  We look forward to the opportunity to come out to the Rose Bowl.  I know that we'll bring a lot of Spartans out there, and it's going to be a very exciting time.
I had the opportunity to go there last May just to take a look around, so it's almost surreal we're going there as the champions of the Big 10.
THE MODERATOR:¬† I'd like to introduce head coach for the Stanford Cardinals and Pac‑12 champions David Shaw.¬† Welcome back to Pasadena.
DAVID SHAW:  Thank you very much.  We too are also very excited about this trip to Pasadena.  Our guys have fond memories of it, but they've already started to say it, last year was last year, and we have to prepare this year completely different.  We're playing a different team.  Michigan State has been on a phenomenal run, nine straight games, tough competition, and has come to play every week, and we know it's going to be a great game.  There's been a lot of talk around about the kind of bookending the 100 years being in the first Rose Bowl Game as Stanford University and then coming back in the 100th has been really exciting for our fans and for our alumni.  We're really excited to get down there and be a part of a great Rose Bowl Game.

Q.  This question is for Coach Dantonio.  Can you please talk about where getting to the Rose Bowl was on your list of goals when you took over this program?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Well, it was primary when we were hired on November 26, 2006.¬† At that point in time I was‑‑ I remember the press conference, and it was the primary statement.¬† As with most competitors, you're trying to reach the ultimate, and for us the ultimate at this point in time was getting to the Rose Bowl, something that has not been done here in 26 years, since 1988.
It was something that was a dream.  It was a process, and that came to fruition last night.

Q.¬† David, I know Michigan State plays much the same kind of football you guys do, the kind you like.¬† You don't get a whole lot of that in the Pac‑12.¬† How much fun does that make games like that for you?
DAVID SHAW:  Well, I think people that appreciate real football are going to love this game.  It's going to be blocking and tackling and running the ball and making big passes down the field and playing great defense and playing special teams and playing field position.  You're going to talk about probably two of the better coached teams as far as fundamentals and as far as doing things right and doing things well in the nation.  I think you're going to see strategy.  I think you're going to see some young men that are excited to play the game of football and play it with passion.
I'm talking about it right now like it's next week because I know we're excited about it and Michigan State is excited about it.  I think it's going to be a heck of a football game.

Q.  For Coach Dantonio, you've said the Rose Bowl has been your goal since you got there.  It may seem hard to believe, but how much do you think that one game last night, that one win and what it's achieved for you can mean for a program?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Well, we've been in the championship game before in 2011, but lost a close one to Wisconsin.¬† We've been there, so when we had an opportunity to come back this time, we wanted to take another step, and we were able to do that last night.¬† You know, I just look at it as a check‑off on goals.¬† You put your hands in with a group of 120 people, you put your hands up and say, Big 10 champs on 1.¬† I can't tell you how many times we've said that in the last seven years, and that dream became a reality yesterday, and I would agree with David, Coach Shaw, that our guys will be very excited about playing in this football game.¬† We're excited about playing Stanford, as well.
They're extremely well coached, fundamental team, and they parallel a lot of the things that I think we believe in as an offensive and defensive football team.  So there's a similarity in philosophy.

Q.  Mark, when you took over in East Lansing, how high on your priority list was getting to a BCS bowl?  And there's been a couple years that maybe your program should have gone to a BCS bowl but was left out, and now you finally get a BCS bid in the last year of the BCS.  How great does that make you feel?
MARK DANTONIO:  Well, getting to a BCS bowl game, it's always one of our major goals.  We've been able to attain that goal here in the seventh year.  We've been close before, very close before, but there's some things you can control, there's other things you can't, so we just play the game.
But I would say doing it this last year in terms of the last year relative to the BCS is of no consequence.  I believe that the best football teams play in the BCS Championship series.  Next year it'll be the playoff series, etcetera.  So they're still going to try and determine that.  But just to be one of these teams I think puts an asterisk beside this team, this 2013 team for our program.  We're very excited about it, but also understand that there's three goals that we had.  We wanted to be in this championship game that we were in last night.  We wanted to win it.  And then the last one we wanted to finish and finish our bowl game, so we'll be very motivated to play well in this game, as well.

Q.  Coach Shaw, this is for you.  Can you talk about some of the ups and downs of the season or maybe the dramatics that kind of came toward the end, the beating of Oregon and then losing to USC a little more than a week later, and then getting that chance, though, to get that game against Arizona State and win and get yourself in?  Can you talk about sort of the ups and downs of the season?
DAVID SHAW:¬† I would say it like this.¬† I think the Michigan State‑Ohio State game says it all, which is it is hard to go undefeated.¬† It is so hard.¬† You play tough competitions, you go road games, home games, road games, home games, you go on a stretch where you play some tough games in a row, and it's hard not to‑‑ it's hard to win them all, and then when you don't win one, the next challenge for the coaches, and I say the coaches and the seniors on every team, is to come back that next week and not let one loss become two losses in a row.¬† You know, we had two losses this year, and both those losses were followed up by great performances, and to come back and win, I think it shows the character of the team that you have.
We talked a lot about it in the off‑season because I don't think you can do it during the season.¬† You have to talk about it in the off‑season, as far as having our own expectations and setting those expectations and putting those expectations on our effort and our execution.¬† So when we don't reach our goal one week and the entire world turns you off and turns their back on you, you've got enough senior leadership to say, hey, you know what, we're going back to work.¬† Our goals are still out there for us.¬† We can still achieve some great things this year.
And because of the fact that we stuck to it, because of the fact that we came back to fight every single time, we kept ourselves in a position that if somebody broke our way, we were going to have a chance to get back in the conference championship game, and that's what happened.¬† Arizona beats Oregon, next thing you know we're back in the Pac‑12 Championship Game, and yesterday our guys made it a point to take advantage of that, and they did.

Q.¬† David, can you talk about how this defense of yours ranks with some of the others you've had, and also how it will be challenged?¬† Talk a little bit about the Michigan State offense and how you see that match‑up.
DAVID SHAW:¬† You know, every year is so different, and this year in particular we have more than our fair share of fifth‑year seniors that have played a lot of football, fourth and fifth‑year guys.¬† I talked about that leadership before, and I would say more than anything that's probably the difference between this defensive team and other‑‑ we've been good on defense for the last couple years.¬† This team, they're so wily as veterans that as coaches we lean on them as much as they lean on us, and going into a game now, we're going to be challenged, we're going to be challenged by a team that's played great competition, a team that comes every single week, a team that finds ways to win, whether it's run or throw, they'll do whatever it takes to try to win a football game.¬† The teams that are balanced like that are the teams that are toughest to prepare for because you can't think about taking one thing away.¬† You have to play great team defense in order to have a chance to win.

Q.  Mark, how much has Shilique Calhoun mattered to your defense this year and how much of a factor do you think he's going to be in this game?  How big is he for your defense?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Shilique Calhoun plays a very important part in our defense obviously.¬† I would echo what Coach Shaw said.¬† We have a lot of seniors on our team, guys that have been playing for three and four years, and they really are like coaches.¬† It gives us a great opportunity to make adjustments very quickly mid‑stream in games.¬† Shilique is an outstanding defensive end and he's a red‑shirt sophomore.¬† He played a little bit for us last year as a red‑shirt freshman, but very athletic, very active, and I think the most important thing he does, he brings emotion.¬† He's extremely enthusiastic player that plays with a high level of intensity, and he's been a big play guy for us.¬† He's one of those guys when the ball pops out he seems to be there, or when the ball gets flipped up in the air, he seems to be there.
He's extremely athletic and can run extremely well.  Our defense runs well, but we're going to be challenged.  We'll have a great challenge waiting for us.

Q.¬† David, anything in particular you've learned the last few years about managing the time lapse, the four‑week break in terms of either making sure the guys are fresh but not overworked physically, not overloaded in terms of information, how you keep the timing and rhythm together over that stretch?
DAVID SHAW:¬† I think the thing that I've learned‑‑ a couple things actually kind of linked together.¬† Number one is to not be afraid to give them time off at the beginning of the break and get them away from the coaches and get them away from each other and get them away from us for a few days so you can kind of get the season out of your system to a certain degree and get back fresh, and then the next thing in conjunction with that is when you get back, I think we are trained, coaches and players, in kind of three‑day cycles, so we kind of do a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and then back off, and then a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and do that ramp up just because that's kind of how our progression as far as the installation goes and as far as our practice workweek goes, and we'll do that a couple of times and we'll do it again as we get back into game week.¬† That rhythm of preparation, that rhythm of practice, it's psychological, but it's also physical.¬† I think that helps us get ready to play.

Q.  But you won't give them, your guys, as much Michigan State stuff to work with starting whenever you get back as you would during a normal game week, right?
DAVID SHAW:  Definitely not.  We'll mostly work against ourselves the first week for sure.  The second week we'll split time between working against some Michigan State looks but then also working the young guys and letting the young guys run our stuff against each other and getting those extra practices in for guys that we're going to count on to play for us in the future.  But I think that helps us prepare those guys, but it also helps our guys that have played a lot of football and taken a lot of hits and covered a lot of mileage over the last couple of months get their legs back because they'll still go against some Michigan State looks, but then also they'll be able to sit back and watch the younger guys get after it.
So really the second week will be like that, and the third week will be, of course, completely Michigan State.

Q.  This question is for Coach Dantonio.  Coach, Darqueze Denard stands a good chance to pick up some individual hardware between now and the bowl game.  Can you talk about what he's meant to your team and this defense being where it is nationally and the prowess that it brings to the table if you could talk about his impact on this team?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Darqueze has been a player for us the last four years.¬† He came in here and played on and off as a freshman and then became a full‑time starter for the last three.¬† He's been an outstanding leader for us.¬† He's one of our elected captains.¬† He's an extremely competitive young man.
But just a worker.  He's a guy that wasn't a highly recruited guy, but extremely quick, and he's got great presence on the football field, great ball skills, great presence, and he brings that to the table, and he brings his confidence to the table.
He's electric out there for us, and obviously there's a domino effect.  If you're not very good on the edges, then it's going to fall, and you've got to take care of the edges another way.  There's a domino effect.  We've put a lot of responsibility on he and our other corner, Trae Waynes, and they've lived up to their billing.  Very excited for him.  This week will be an opportunity for him to go down to Orlando, being recognized as one of the top three, the Jim Thorpe Award and the Nagurski Award tomorrow, one of the top five there.  It's a great achievement for the young man.  He's a special person, very special person.

Q.  David, you mentioned about an opportunity to bookend the Rose Bowl history here.  You probably know that the first time the Rose Bowl was played it was considered so uncompetitive that after that they started doing chair yacht races and playing polo.  Do you think that that's a possibility here, or do you think it will be a little more competitive this time?
DAVID SHAW:¬† I don't know that polo is on the table (laughing), but I think it's going to be incredibly competitive.¬† I think it's going to be very physical.¬† You're talking about‑‑ and I say‑‑ I'm not a stats guy.¬† I hate statistics when they're used to justify things.¬† I'm into film, and when you put the film on, you're going to see two of the better defensive teams in the nation that play fast, that play physical, that you see 11 guys run to the ball, you see them play as a unit, and that's what you're going to see.¬† You're going to see‑‑ I don't believe this is going to be one of those 52‑51 shootouts.¬† This is going to be physical, this is going to be tough sledding.¬† It's going to go all the way down to the end.

Q.  Do you care to say what sort of score it would be?
DAVID SHAW:  No, I'm not that good at predicting.

Q.  But not in the 50s?
DAVID SHAW:  I would doubt it.  I would doubt it.

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