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December 29, 2013
Q.¬† Stanford was in this game last year.¬† Nobody from your team has played in the Rose Bowl.¬† How do you think they'll mitigate their experience?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Well, I think that's one of the biggest things that we have to be able to conquer as a football team.¬† They're a football team that has been in BCS games.¬† This is the first opportunity and challenge in such an event like this, especially at the Rose Bowl.¬† We just keep talking about handling success.¬† We've been successful thus far but we've sort of been a football team that has sort of had to scratch and climb our way into this really all the way from September.¬† Throughout the process we've had to be able to play the next game, handle the success that we've had, and I think that's the key thing that we have to do here.
Q.¬† How big or how different is the Rose Bowl from some other bowls?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Well, I think the Rose Bowl, we've been to some great bowl games, New Year's Day bowl games and things of that nature, but I think the Rose Bowl, obviously, you have a little bit more media attention, maybe national attention, certainly being out in California for the first time in a bowl game is a little bit of a travel for us, so that's different for us and new ground.¬† But bowl games are special.¬† They're a place that I think when we played Georgia in the Outback Bowl, we played Alabama in the Capital One, Georgia in the Capital One, so we've been in big games before.¬† But when you come and you represent the Big Ten Conference because we're representing not just ourselves but an entire group of people, I think there's a statement that has to be made.
Q.¬† (No microphone.)
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Well, when I look at Stanford, I look at the amount of success that Coach Harbaugh had there, he sort of turned it, and then Coach Shaw has been able to follow him and a lot of things have remained the same because he was promoted from within so a lot of the things that‑‑ the ground floor, the foundation had been built, and I think that he's tweaked those things and he's moved it forward.
They've had tremendous success the past couple of years and the past number of years really, and I think a lot of that is due to how they run their program.¬† They build it on toughness.¬† They build it on what's perceived maybe as two‑back offenses and things of that nature, old school, much like what we try to do, but at the same time there's a cutting edge to what they do, and that's the thing you don't really realize when you're looking at things.¬† It may be a two‑back football team, the guy on the field, the coach in the box, they see a cutting edge in terms of how they do things in terms of what they're trying to accomplish.¬† I think the players play with a great deal of toughness, and they've got a system in place and they use their system.¬† They're very, very good, offensively, defensively and special teams.¬† They have excellent players.
Q.¬† Could you elaborate a little bit on cutting edge?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Yeah, you know, what they do with the different offensive line sets, the big tight ends, how they move their people, what they do when they run what we would term their Mike pull guy.¬† Things of that nature, when they pull the guard and wrap them around.¬† There's different things that they do structurally that you don't see people do all the time.¬† You see it sometimes but you don't see everybody do it all the time.¬† I think that's what's interesting to me.
They're going to always exploit what you do and try and attack that.¬† They're an excellent football team, extremely well coached, and that's what you see.
Q.¬† What does this game mean to the program at Michigan State?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Well, you know, when we were‑‑ when we came here seven years ago, I think it was November 27, 2006, entering into the 2007 season, we made a statement this is where we wanted to come.¬† Throughout the time, I can't tell you how many times I've said this before, we stuck our hand in the middle of that circle with 105 other hands or so and called it up on one, Big Ten champs.¬† We're here now.¬† We've accomplished that goal.¬† Now we need to figure out do we belong, and that's another opportunity, statement, challenge.¬† One of our goals was to get here, the other is to win here.
But if you want to play at this level, if you want to compete at this level, then you need to be prepared to take those steps.¬† I've always asked our players to dream big, think outside the box, and I think we've been able to do that, and we've accomplished some things, but this is the biggest check on the list in terms of our accomplishments thus far.
Q.¬† (No microphone.)
MARK DANTONIO:¬† I was telling Coach Barnett yesterday, he's an excellent running back, and I think the thing that we have to do is not let him spit out.¬† That's what I see.¬† He has a way of staying vertical.¬† His shoulders are square to the line of scrimmage, and he's just a very, very patient runner.¬† He's going to break tackles, obviously, like every great tailback, but he's a very patient runner.¬† He's going to slide to the right or the left and he's going to find an open crease and hit it.¬† That's what you see on film.¬† Things may be jammed up every now and then, he's going to slide, he's not going to turn his shoulders and take a lot of negative yardage plays, and I think they lead the country maybe in that capacity.¬† Not a lot of negative‑yardage plays, plays that are going to get vertical, and I think he does an excellent job at it.
Q.¬† The Minnesota loss, the Michigan loss last night, how much extra pressure does that put on you representing the Big Ten to keep up the Big Ten name?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Yeah, you know, we've always talked about pressure.¬† We've talked to our players about pressure.¬† Pressure is good.¬† Pressure is not a bad thing.¬† Stress is a bad thing.¬† We're not going to stress about somebody else's problems or how they played in that particular game.¬† We're going to concentrate on what we have to do.¬† There's going to be pressure to play well in the Rose Bowl, and we play against a great football team.¬† Here we go.
Q.¬† With the playoffs starting next year, there's a lot of talk about that.¬† Talk about the Rose Bowl and the importance of it?.
MARK DANTONIO:¬† In terms of how it's going to be structured next year or now?
Q.¬† This year and next year both.
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Well, as I said earlier, the Rose Bowl to me is the goal every year.¬† I think you want to try and play in the National Championship Game, and that's always the back, behind‑the‑scenes goal, but the only thing we can't control is we can't control if we get to the Rose Bowl because we could win the Big Ten championship and they go to the Rose Bowl.¬† That's what we can control.¬† The other things are a little bit out of our control because of bowls, etcetera.¬† So to me this is the epitome of our goals right now.¬† To win this takes us to new places.¬† To be here we're in a new place right now that we haven't been in 26 years.¬† That's a positive.¬† You want to win the National Championship, you need some help on that aspect.
The new format with the Rose Bowl being part of that setup gives you an opportunity if you win this football game, you move to the next level, and I think that's very, very exciting for our conference, the fact that we may have one or two teams playing in that playoff system next year is very, very exciting.¬† I think it gives you a feeling of the Big Ten Championship game.¬† I was on the National Championship team at Ohio State in 2002, and those are the only‑‑ and then the 2011 game that we played in, the championship game, those are the three biggest games electricity wise that I have felt as a coach because after this game the season is over.¬† You put it away, win or lose, and you move to the next thing. ¬†After those games, sort of winner‑take‑all type of environment, and it's very, very exciting.¬† You feel it.¬† You feel it with your football team.
Q.¬† You're looking forward to the playoffs?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Absolutely.¬† I think it's a great thing, and I think it's something that will help sort out the issues, I guess, that everybody has.
Q.¬† Why do you think statistically (inaudible)?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† I think there's a number of reasons that we're in that capacity, that we fit in that capacity.¬† Number one, we've got continuity on our staff, so Coach Narduzzi has been with us for 10 years, I'm a defensive coach by trade.¬† Two of our other assistants have been with us for 10 years, as well.¬† We've been able to tweak what we've done, learn from our mistakes and constantly bring a better product forward conceptually.
Number two is our players have experience.¬† They've been in the same system.¬† We've not had a lot of turnover because of the continuity so you have the same teacher in the classroom not just teaching those concepts but learning how that player operates as a person and as an individual, what are the buttons to push, what are not to push, how to handle that individual.
And then the third thing is we've got good players that can run and tackle and play the ball, and we've taken a lot of time to select, okay, what type of player do we recruit as a corner, what type do we recruit as the boundary safety.¬† So we recruit a specific player for a specific position a lot and ask them to do the things that we teach.¬† We ask them to play within the concepts that we hold to be true, and I think those are the reasons, and then confidence breeds success, so we've been a good football team defensively really‑‑ I would really say pretty good all throughout the time but really good probably 2011, '12 and '13, really good.¬† Pretty good in 2010.
So we're a confident football team, and they can adjust.¬† The last thing I would say is our players, because of their experience, they can adjust mid‑stream within a game and change based on what's happening.¬† Now, you can't change you've got to make tackles, but conceptually we can take away a concept that we have not seen, we can adjust to it and we can transition to be successful.
Q.¬† With Max not here, what kind of (inaudible)?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† We've got great senior leadership.¬† I've always said we've won because of chemistry here.¬† So you close ranks.¬† There's an opportunity for somebody else to lead.¬† That's what we've done.¬† Coaches need to lead a little bit more.¬† I need to.¬† Our seniors need to.¬† Our juniors who are going to be seniors next year, they need to take an active role in this, as well.¬† We just sort of closed ranks and kept moving, and that's what we have to do.¬† There's no other options.
Q.¬† (No microphone.)
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Well, no, I mean, we've always tried to empower or football team here, so there's no particular example.¬† Max is no more, no less than some of our other guys.¬† We have a great‑‑ like I said, we have a great outstanding group of senior leadership, individuals.¬† We have what we call our Eagles group, which is voted on by our team over the course of time like six or seven times during the year to establish who are those leaders, who are the true leaders, not just the popular leaders and for the media but who are the true leaders, and they've done a great job in terms of handling adversity.
Q.¬† (No microphone.)
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Yeah, he's one of our Eagles.
Q.¬† (No microphone.)
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Well, we needed a junior college offensive lineman.¬† Well, we needed a guy that could come and play immediately in the 2011 season, and so Mark Staten was the guy, our offensive line coach, was the guy that came out to California and sort of went through all the junior colleges, and Fou is a guy that had connections to Michigan State because of Tupe Peko and Domata Peko, both who played at Michigan State, and they are sort of distant‑‑ not distant, but cousins, and they share the same sort of grandfather, godfather type person within their family.
There was a Michigan State tie, and then after that we got to know him, and he became a green thing.¬† Every time I would see him, he would say it was a green thing, it was a sign that he was supposed to be a Spartan.¬† It's really worked out well because in 2011 had a great football team, he was a starter for us, and last year he broke his leg.¬† It was a tough year for him, very tough year, broken on the Thursday before the Notre Dame game, so a difficult situation.¬† Back and forth last year, we ended up 7‑6, and now this football season here we are at 12‑1.¬† He really would be considered one of our captains.¬† Very, very highly thought of person within our program.
Q.¬† Did it encourage you to head out to California any more often?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Yeah, you know, we've always taken JC players when there's been a need at the position, and we've got one committed this year from out here.¬† I can't speak about who it is, but that individual is a great young man, as well, and we have recruited high school players out here, as well, but it's just a long way to go.¬† It's a long way to come and go and there's a lot of colleges between us.¬† But if somebody has a Michigan State tie or that type of thing, we're going to be involved with that individual.
Q.¬† How do you separate living the dream out here from the focus and getting ready for a game you want to win?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† I think that's the part that I keep talking about.¬† You've got to be able to handle success.¬† Handle adversity, certainly, when things don't go quite as well as you want, but you also have to be able to handle the success that you've had, be able to keep it in check, regather yourself every day and go out and practice.¬† You've got to focus, have great team meetings and unit meetings and individual meetings, and then you've got to be fresh.¬† I think you've got to be fresh to play in this football team.
Q.¬† (No microphone.)
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Practice has been very, very well.¬† We've gone Thursday, Friday, Saturday.¬† We'll have another one this afternoon.¬† We've got two more practices and then we go.¬† It'll be a lighter practice today and kind of just finish it up.
Q.¬† It's been busy for you.¬† Has it been harder to avoid the coaching distractions than any other bowl game you've been in?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† No, it's been pretty clean.¬† We get up, and we're on California time so we're up pretty early and we do our thing and go to practice.¬† There's an event, and tonight there's no event so that'll be nice and families are coming in.¬† Just like everybody else, a lot of Spartans are coming into town, a lot of players have family coming.¬† I think it's a time of celebration, savor the moment, make it a life moment for us, but at the same time we know we've got a job to do Wednesday at 2:00.
Q.¬† Do you sense your players are really getting a kick out of this?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Our players are having a good time.¬† Whenever we've gotten to a bowl game we've always had a good experience, and the people at the bowl games make that experience unique for all of our guys.¬† But the Rose Bowl is special because you're at the top of the heap really, at the top.¬† As I said earlier we didn't come in the back door here, we walked in the front.¬† We won the Big Ten championship, so we walked in the door with that behind us, so that's a positive.
Q.¬† Andrew just said this season isn't about me being a starting quarterback, this is about me getting to the Rose Bowl, and that's what we did.¬† What does that say about him?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Well, he's part of the story here.¬† I said that yesterday when I was talking to an analyst.¬† We could not have gotten to where we've gotten without Andrew Maxwell handling things the way he's handling it.¬† You have a starting quarterback for 13 games last year, he's a senior going into his fifth year.¬† He's a very popular person, a great person, and he handled it.¬† He was extremely unselfish in the process, and competed for the position.¬† Came out and practiced hard every day, was very positive in the meetings and very positive around everybody.¬† You can't get here without everybody pulling in the same direction, and I think that's a lesson for everybody out there going through their struggles on teams.¬† Maybe they're not starting at point guard this week.¬† Maybe they used to start and they're not starting.¬† It's a point of emphasis, there's no question about that, on this football team, and I think you gain a greater appreciation and a greater respect for him as an individual.
Q.¬† What has Jairus meant to the team?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Jarius Jones?¬† Just another storyline, you know a guy that switched positions, was a safety, blew his Achilles out a couple years ago, couldn't play in the championship game.¬† Here he is this year having a great year.¬† He's a great football player, a big‑time year.¬† Then he has a knee injury.¬† But again, another guy who's remained positive, thought he was going to be able to come back from it and play in the later part of the season but just hasn't been able to do it.¬† But positive guy.
We took him‑‑ I'll tell you what he means to us.¬† We took him on every away game this year even though we knew he wasn't going to play because he's got a sense about him in terms of what type of person he is, and he impacts other individuals and other people.¬† We carried him on our active travel man roster even though he was not going to play.
Q.¬† (No microphone.)
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Yeah, you know, we've had guys do that.¬† We've had a guy like Le'Veon Bell last year, he was a two‑star player and he came at mid‑year. ¬†It was a MAC program and us.¬† One MAC program and us, and he came in and played immediately.¬† Darqueze is another example of that.¬† Came here as a true freshman, started a couple games as a true freshman.¬† Jim Thorpe Award winner, I think he was seven‑time consensus All‑American, seven different first‑team All‑American teams that were selected.¬† A tremendous individual, competitive.¬† He's a giver, very smart football player, very quick, but in answer to your question, it just speaks to you recruit to the position, you make decisions based on what you see and experience, not based on what you hear, and it's just like all information out there.
There's just so much information sometimes it's misinformation.¬† There's so much information on a person, a lot of times the individuals at colleges are making decisions on 30 plays that they see on a highlight film.¬† That doesn't tell the whole story on an individual.¬† When you watch him play, which we watched him play, we knew that there was something special about him, and so we started recruiting him.
You know, really, I think we were the first place to offer him.¬† I think Tulsa jumped in after us.¬† There you go.
Q.¬† (No microphone.)
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Yeah, I do.¬† He came straight to me.¬† I watched the game film.¬† Darqueze was a punt returner, he played wide receiver, he played corner, played free safety, could tackle.¬† He did all the things, and then immediately I got with Coach Barnett, Coach Narduzzi, and they watched him, and then also we had him up for a game.¬† I think we had him up for a game.¬† We had him in January.¬† The season was over.
And then we had Harlon, Coach Barnett watched him run some track down there, but we had already made the offer, and it was just about closing.¬† He's been an outstanding young man.
You know, I've been a defensive back coach for my entire career basically, defensive coordinator or head coach, and I always joke with our guys about being on my all‑teams when they get on the bus, and I introduced them to Renaldo Hill yesterday who's on that bus.¬† I only put 10 guys on my bus, and he's sitting in that front seat now, so it's quite an accomplishment.¬† There's some great players on there that have played a long time in the NFL and he'll be one of those guys that follow.
Q.¬† What do you think you need to do to win this game?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† I think first thing we have to do is play through the storm.¬† I think Stanford is a fast‑starting football team.¬† We've got to play through the storm a little bit.¬† Obviously the team that executes the best and doesn't beat themselves has the best chance to win, so I think that's a given that there's certain things that are critical to winning, especially turnovers and sacks and things of that nature that can affect you and put you behind the 8‑ball.
But I would say we've got to be balanced, we've got to win the line of scrimmage, which is tough.¬† Against Stanford that's going to be a tough situation because that's where they're extremely strong.
But I think it starts up front, especially this game.¬† Basically when you play like we do both teams, you've got to win the line of scrimmage and then we've got to come up with some explosive plays.
Q.¬† (No microphone.)
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Yeah, you know, I think in the Midwest, this is a destination for college football, a college football team.¬† Most of our players are from the Midwest.¬† I grew up in the Midwest.¬† You grow up hearing and reading about the Rose Bowl.¬† You have to get on a plane and you have to fly five hours to get here, so there's a sense of travel and there's a sense of‑‑ when we talk about you've got to move the rock.¬† The rock is our program.¬† You've got to be able to move the rock.¬† You've got to get that thing moving and rolling.¬† We had to move the rock from East Lansing to Pasadena in a 14‑week period, and we were able to do that.¬† So there's a sense of accomplishment from our football program.
As I said earlier, I don't know if you were here, but when you stick your hand in that group setting as we do in winter workouts, spring ball, summer conditioning, summer camp, during the season, put our hands in there, and we say on one Big Ten champs, you're dreaming big.¬† I think you have to do that.
Q.¬† (Inaudible) sort of retain it's luster in the BCS era.¬† Do you expect that might change at all as it goes to playoffs where it'll be a semifinal or‑‑
MARK DANTONIO:¬† No, I think it's going to keep its luster.¬† I think it's going to keep it because it's so steeped in tradition that you're going to find that the teams that come here are going to be champions.¬† They're going to be championship format teams and that's going to be exciting.¬† As I said earlier, the thing that's exciting is the next step.¬† If we were playing this game to see who was going to go play in the finals in the National Championship Game, I think it would still have its luster.¬† I think it would still be covered as greatly, and there will probably be even more excitement.¬† Pageantry is going to be there.¬† It's just going to be there.¬† But I think there's going to still be a lot of excitement.
Q.¬† (No microphone.)
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Yeah, I think when you come out here you represent a conference.¬† You're representing a lot of people.¬† As Big Ten champion you come out and that's part of the deal.¬† First and foremost you want to represent yourself, how you play, because our players are going to be sitting there at the end of the game winning or losing.¬† For a lot of our seniors it's going to be their last football game, or some of them, college for sure.¬† They're going to have to take off that jersey after the game, and it's tough.¬† When you lose at the end, it's tough.¬† I still remember my last football game.¬† I sat there and you have to peel that jersey off, it's tough.
I think we understand what we're playing for.¬† We play for the people in our little bubble, but there are a lot of people that are touching that bubble right now that we play for, as well.
Q.¬† (Inaudible) he's gregarious, outgoing.¬† Is he the perfect temperament that you want in a football player and a teammate?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Yeah, Shilique is one of our Eagles, which signifies being one of the 12 leaders on our football team.¬† He's a popular person.¬† He's a sophomore.¬† He's enthusiastic.¬† He has fun in practice.¬† What you see right now you see on‑‑ you'll see this afternoon, joking around, playing hard, though, and he's just a doer.¬† He's a doer.¬† Great football player.
Q.¬† Did you guys always see him as a defensive end when you were recruiting him?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Well, we saw him as a guy that could play‑‑ he wasn't playing linebacker, he was going to be a tight end, defensive end, but once we got him on campus the first couple practices, he was going to be a defensive end.¬† He's another guy ‑‑ he's 210, now he weighs 255.¬† He's grown about two inches.¬† So he's about 6'5" right now, 255, he measures up, but he's a another guy that I don't know how it happened, I guess we're blessed a little bit, but we have some guys coming like Darqueze Dennard or a Le'Veon Bell or Shilique Calhoun or I can go on and on about some of our guys and they've matured and become outstanding football players.
Q.¬† How does Shilique continue to progress coming back next year?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† I think he just needs to take his game to the next level every step of the way and be a dominant defensive football player.¬† He's very quick.¬† He can still get stronger.¬† He's going to get bigger, stronger and faster as he goes because he's a worker.¬† This is really his first year being a starter.¬† Last year he was a part‑time player.¬† We had three guys last year that went out as juniors.¬† Gholston was here, Marcus Rush was an excellent football player, they were our two starters and Shilique was a red‑shirt freshman.¬† He's grown, but he still is a relatively inexperienced experience.¬† 13 games now.¬† This will be his 14th game as a starter.¬† But he still has two years left to play hopefully.¬† Hopefully.
Q.¬† (No microphone.)
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Yeah, they have a standard that they play to, and I think confidence gives them that, their past success has allowed them to move forward.¬† They have a standard that they have high expectations.¬† It doesn't mean that they don't have bad things happen to us.¬† We've had some hit on us, a couple, but not many.¬† The biggest thing I can say about our football team is we have a good feeling about each other and we're able to adjust in mid stream.¬† So we can fix something.¬† When it does get broken, we can fix it.¬† The game is blocking and tackling and playing the ball in the deep part of the field.¬† Those things you have to be able to play through.¬† But the conceptual things they can adjust.
Q.¬† (Question regarding Coach Narduzzi)?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Yeah, I think you have to be able to play in the moment, so you've got to be able to handle adversity, you've got to be able to handle success, too.¬† Good things happen, you've got to come back and play vert well.¬† When bad things happen, you've got to forget about it, learn from it, forget about it, make your adjustment and play through it.¬† Coach Narduzzi does a great job with that, but I also think our players are a mature group of individuals who have been able to adjust.
Q.¬† We're sitting here talking about this being your first trip to the Rose Bowl as a head coach.¬† You've been here with Ohio State as a graduate assistant.¬† Tell us the difference from that trip to this one.
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Well, I wasn't being interviewed then.¬† I do remember, though, that I was standing there talking to Archie Griffin, so I'm talking to Archie who I had gotten to know, and Woody Hayes walks up.¬† I'm standing there talking to Archie, and then Earle Bruce walks up and starts talking to Woody, and I'm standing there in that circle being a guy from Ohio, so I sort of backed out of that circle.¬† I just sort of stood there.¬† I remember that aspect.¬† I remember the game itself, walking out before the game.¬† It was a moment.
Q.¬† What does it mean, the culmination?¬† Obviously you've got a job to do, but have you ever taken the time to think about what it means to be here?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† You know, no.¬† I think after we won the championship game, about 4:30 that night it sort of hit me a little bit about we'd accomplished a goal.¬† I really didn't think too much about the Rose Bowl as I did about being Big Ten champions.¬† And I think these type of things, you need to play in the moment sometimes, and I think we'll go through the moment and make it a light moment for our football players, but we'll probably feel that afterwards.
Q.¬† (No microphone.)
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Yeah, it's been part of the plan since day one.¬† You know, I had an opportunity to come out here last May to a donor event, took about an hour‑and‑a‑half trip up from Dana Point to come up here and walk around at the Rose Bowl, and I did a little video for our guys.¬† You know, it was sort of surreal to look at that video now and listen to what I have to say.
But we've had this direction.¬† We've been close before, 2011 we were one play away from being here, so our players could understand it and taste it, and when we got to Lucas Oil we got the championship game a couple weeks ago, it wasn't good enough just to be in the game.¬† We needed to win that football game, and there was a sense of urgency there.
Q.¬† One of the things that we've talked about, too, is the process.¬† This isn't just an overnight situation.¬† How important was the journey?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Well, we've always said that people see the product.¬† You see people sitting up here talking right now, but you see the product, but you really don't see the process.¬† The process is long.¬† There's setbacks.¬† We've handled our setbacks and we've always tried to come back, stick our foot in the ground and drive forward.¬† After every disappointing event we've regathered ourselves and restructured things and moved forward.¬† We've gotten great staff continuity right now, and I think that's a big thing for us, that's a big issue in our success, and then I think we've got a football team that believes.¬† We've got a football team that's stayed the course, too.
On game day it's business.¬† I'm there to do a job, and nobody likes to lose, and you've got to focus on the task at hand, and I guess that's just the way I do it.
Q.¬† Have there been any surprises?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Well, we've got to get to Venice Beach and we'll let you know on that one.
Q.¬† At least you know where to take the guys.¬† You want to see some sights, Venice Beach is a good place to go.
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Yeah, I'm going to look for that guy that juggles the chain saws.
Q.¬† What was your thought process on how you managed the difficulty coming here.¬† What was your model for managing that so well?
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Well, we've had things that have disappointed us in the past, we rally and we move forward, we close ranks and we move forward.¬† We're going to protect our people in every sense of the way.¬† We're going to protect our people that are here, we're going to protect the people that aren't here.¬† We've got a very close team.¬† We've always had great chemistry, and we've won because of chemistry.¬† We have good players and we do things conceptually, but at the same time we win because of chemistry.
Q.¬† (No microphone.)
MARK DANTONIO:¬† Very, very good, very energetic, a sense of urgency, a sense of accomplishment, but also we're having fun doing it, as well.¬† Guys are having fun with each other.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports