Michigan State football: Dantonio won't use injuries as an excuse
Mark Dantonio has never been one to make excuses during his dozen years at Michigan State. He’s played the cards he’s been dealt, year after year.
This year is no different. Michigan State is the most banged-up team in the Big Ten — and it’s not even close — but the Spartans coach is still taking the high road. They are 3-1 overall, finding a way to win games even when it’s not always pretty, and they’re hoping to continue to do so, without making any excuses.
“It would be easier not having to deal with (all the injuries),” he said Sunday night. “But you know, I’ve never gone and made excuses. Sometimes when new guys get an opportunity to play — and I’ve said this over and over — that increases the overall strength of our team.”
The injury list is long, and it’s been especially painful with certain position groups, most notably the offensive line, the wide receiver corps and the secondary.
How bad is it? At one point in Saturday’s game, four of Michigan State’s top five receivers were not available. Losing wide receiver Cody White to a broken hand during the game really hurt because he had been playing great all season. He has 20 catches for 300 yards and two receiving touchdowns, all team highs.
“He’s having a great year for us. I think he’s got big-play potential,” Dantonio said. “He made a big play on Saturday on the first touchdown (drive), catching a vertical route. But we’ll have to pick it up and get somebody else in there. It’s a tough situation for him, but he’s a resilient young man. He’s always handled things, and he’ll handle this as well. We’ll get him back.”
Michigan State hosts Northwestern on Saturday, and the Wildcats are a team that won’t have any sympathy for the Spartans and their injury woes. They’ve been dealing with injuries all season, too. The game is at Noon ET on Saturday (TV: FoxSports1).
Dantonio hopes they’ll be a bit healthier at receiver by Saturday.
“We’ll get those guys back. They’re not season-ending injuries. A lot of them are back this week,” Dantonio said. “We were missing three wide receivers. And then when Cody went out, we were missing four of our top six wide receivers. You know, that’s a problem as you can imagine. But it gave an opportunity for a couple other guys.”