As the Michigan State Spartans football team contiunes to decline, Mark Dantonio must stay

Embed from Getty Images As the Michigan State Spartans football team suffered an epic fourth quarter meltdown at home to Illinois, head coach Mark Dantonio  needs to stay at Michigan State. In my opinion, it would be a mistake to leave a program, his program like this. A shell of what it once was.

Usually when a football coach takes over a college program it is because it is at or near the bottom of the conference it is part of. There is the rare times that a head coach simply moves on.

For the Michigan State football program and for it’s head coach, this is how Dantonio found the program when he arrived in East Lansing, bumbling near the bottom of the Big Ten. Dantonio surely would not walk away as proud a man as he is. He and his program deserve better.

It is not the fact the Spartans have lost three games in a row. Teams have losing streaks, even Ohio State will soon see it’s run come to and end. But two blowouts in a row then followed by a home loss for the ages has left the Spartans football team in disarray.

The Spartans must now try to rally and head to Ann Arbor to face not only there must hated and heated rival, but a Michigan Wolverines football team that since eliminating turnovers have played some very good football.

Walking off the field after yesterday’s loss the Spartans football players looked in despair. Had they won, there could have been some hope. Albeit slim, with Maryland and Rutgers as the last two football games, those are no longer guaranteed, slam dunk wins. Not for this Michigan State team anyways.

If the Spartans should win two more games they could get an invite to the Quicken Loans Bowl, December 26, at Ford Field in Detroit Michigan. This is where Dantonio’s football program is right now.

When asked after the game what would he tell the students, the alums many who are unhappy with the direction of Spartans football and what the future will look like, Mark Dantonio replied “Next question.”

One problem, the “next question” is Saturday against the Michigan Wolverines.

Is this the end of Mark Dantonio at Michigan State?

Embed from Getty Images After the 38-0 merciless beat down at the hand of the Wisconsin Badgers, Michigan State Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio said “We’re not there, we should be. We’ve got some very good players, but we’re not there.” It is time for the Michigan State administration to take a deep look and decide if they are okay with that.

13 seasons into his Michigan State coaching job, Dantonio should not be talking about what is missing. It is clear what is missing. Last week the loss to Ohio State gave way to a much worse beat down at Wisconsin.

Offense. The Michigan State Spartans offense is no better than they were last season in which the Spartans were near the bottom of the Big Ten in nearly every offensive category.

The Michigan State offensive line has woefully under preformed to this part of the season. No wide receiver  has stepped up as a game-breaking threat. The Spartans passing game does not scare anyone.

In what is Dantonio’s biggest failure is the failed attempt to switch coach’s around, has lead to coach’s not having any clue how to mask the offensive units deficiencies. The Michigan State  team looks undisciplined on the whole.

With the Spartans next three games against Michigan, Iowa and Penn State the task now seems grueling. Even a much improved Maryland football team looks much better then the Spartans.

This is all on one person. Mark Dantonio. The coach must now look in the mirror and decide if he has it in him or even wants to try to rally the football program, or walk away. There would be no shame if he does walk away. In 13 season Dantonio is the winningest Michigan State head coach ever. He has three Big Ten titles, a Rose Bowl win and a College Football Playoff appearance under his belt.

If he does intend to stay. He must take a good hard look at his program and be willing to bring in new coach’s. He needs to lay down friendships for the sake of his job and the success of the Spartans football program.

Time is ticking. On the Spartans season and the coach who leads them.

After a lackluster performance the Michigan State Spartans football is left with questions

Embed from Getty Images Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio blamed game officials, the Spartan fan base joined the football teams head coach in blaming the officials. Both head coach and fans need a healthy dose of reality. The Michigan State offense is once again a train wreck. That is where Saturday’s home loss to Arizona State stemmed from.

I stand by my statement that simply moving coach’s around instead of firing coach’s and bringing in new ones very rarely works. That was on full display Saturday afternoon in East Lansing. I will be the first to say the Spartans defense is flat out nasty. A fantastic group. The offense is the polar opposite.

Through the early part of the season the Michigan State offensive line has found something it lacked last season. Consistency. Albeit, the offensive line is consistently getting shoved back. So not quite the consistency coach’s were looking for.

Make no mistake about it. Saturday’s loss is squarely on the shoulders of head coach Mark Dantonio. It should have never come down to a last second field goal. Moving coach’s around has lead to Michigan State scoring a single touchdown for the second time in three weeks. Go ahead blame the officials.

Michigan State’s offense is nearly unwatchable. It is certainly frustrating for fans and football fans in general. Dantonio is not one to blame others, yet after the schools loss he stood at the podium and did just that. Pointed the finger at officials while making excuses.

This week brings Northwestern. It is not too early to call this a make-or-break game for the Spartans. Because that is exactly what it is. Northwestern can score in bunches. Something Michigan State can not. Michigan State’s defense is beyond good enough to keep the Spartans in the game. Yet, if the offense struggles again and the defense is on the field often, they will begin to wear down.

No one from Michigan State is saying it right now, but you have to imagine the seat under Mark Dantonio is starting to warm up. Blame the officials.

Is Mark Dantonio on the hot seat at Michigan State

Embed from Getty Images Sports are all about win now and what have you done for me lately. Michigan State’s football team is coming off back-to-back sup-par seasons. Michigan State football has never been a national powerhouse consistently. Head coach Mark Dantonio has had good seasons. What comes next?

Dantonio, started off with a bang when he arrived in East Lansing. Three Big Ten championships, five bowl game wins, a Rose Bowl victory, a College Football Playoff appearance not to mention three Spartans selected in the first round of the NFL draft over the last 10 seasons. Not bad at all.

But then,  two of the past three saw a sharp decline in wins , 2016 and 2018, t have not been so kind to Spartan football team or it’s fan base. What really hurt the Spartans last season was the offense showed little to no improvement at all. In fact in rushing yards and years from the line of scrimmage the Spartans actually regressed.

It was so bad on the offensive side of the ball last season that Michigan State saw their points per game dropped below 19. What is a tough pill for the Spartan faithful to swallow is  Dave Warner is still on the coaching staff. Yes, he has been demoted from offensive coordinator, but the  fact that Dantonio either can not or does not want to recognize his team is struggling with Warner is enough to frustrate Spartan fans. Reshuffling the coaching staff will not help.

There have been whispers on the Michigan State campus and around East Lansing, how much longer will Dantonio have to prove his coaching method works? One thing the coach has going for him is defense wins championships. Michigan State has a top 10 defense. But points still need to be scored.

I believe Dantonio needs a good season to continue to be the head football coach. He needs to show he can make a change or two in his program because if he does not, he might not be the guy making decisions anymore.

Michigan State football says the offense has it’s swagger back

Embed from Getty Images After one of the worst offensive season in the history of Michigan State, All eyes have been and are on the Spartans offense this spring. The new offense will be on showcase this Saturday during Michigan State’s spring game.

Brad Salam will show off his new offense this coming weekend in the Green and White game. All eyes and every media microscope will be fixed squarely on the offensive unit, they simply can not be as deplorable as last seasons. At least that is the hope coming from East Lansing.

While spring games are usually dialed back in terms of plays, expect the Spartans to drop hints  of what they have been working on to improve over last seasons woeful bunch. Head Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said “we are not going to bag everything from last season.” That may be good, but it may be bad as well.

Brad Salam said he understands the pull back. That teams do not show everything April 13, but wait until the season kickoff to start showing how far the team has come. One interesting thing is that Salam said he liked plays from last seasons playbook and has made a few tweaks.

One can presume because Dantiono did not bring in fresh coaches that Michigan State will be more of the same. Given Salam’s comments, it will be interesting to see what changes have been made. After the disappointment of last season the Spartan fan base was not thrilled to hear the playbook had bee tweaked. They were hoping for a complete overhaul.

Coaches talk, players play, writers write. Coaches talk is only confirmed by action. Michigan State must show that they have grown since last season. That shuffling coaches and hoping for a different result is not a grasp at straws. It will be hard to hind come April 13, what the Green and White spring game takes place.

Michigan State must show enough that they have changed or else.

Mark Dantonio, says Michigan State needs to make plays in the fourth quarter

Embed from Getty Images It seems just about certain the Michigan State Spartans football team will enter the season with a top-five defense. A defense that returns nearly every starter from last seasons disappointment. Yet, the defense does not need fixed.

The Michigan State offense was woefully bad, awful at times. The Spartans offense finished in the bottom-10 in almost every statistical category in 2018. Michigan State ranked eighth nationally on defense, allowing 17.2 points per-game. The Spartans offense however, ranked 125 out of 129, scoring 18.7 points per-game.

In Tuesday’s media meet and greet Dantonio was blunt, “we left some plays on the field, that is the difference between 13-1 and 7-6.”  He is correct. “We were in games in the fourth quarter, but we did not score, we need to score more points.”

During the 2018 season the Michigan State Spartans were outscored 104-49 in the fourth quarter of their 13 games. In contrast, the Spartans scored 194 points the first three quarters, while holding opponents to 119 points during the same three quarters.

While the fourth quarter scoring stats do not paint the whole picture it gives glimpse of what went wrong for the Spartans last season.  A quarterback playing with an injured shoulder as well as an offensive line that had injuries and caused inconsistent play also was a factor.

The offensive line issues lead to a poor run game as well. Injuries are part of every sport. What seemed to be exposed was Michigan State’s lack of quality depth. That is at the heart of the offensive woes.

Mark Dantonio for whatever reason shuffled his coaching staff instead of infusing new blood into his program. That will not hide the depth issue for the Spartans at left tackle, right guard and running back.

This is what the focus for the Spartans coaches and players will be during spring practice.

Michigan State head football coach Mark Dantonio’s big bet

Embed from Getty Images Michigan Wolverines head football coach Jim Harbaugh heard the rumblings and chose to change. Harbaugh went outside his comfort zone and hired an offensive coordinator. From Alabama. The Spartans Mark Dantonio is and was not as bold.


Change is good. Change in sports can push a team or program forward. Lack of change can smoother and impede progress. New blood in coaching and to a staff breathes fresh life. Mark Dantonio chose to stay in house and shuffle his coaching staff.


Brad Salem, who was the Spartans quarterbacks coach was promoted to offensive coordinator. While co-offensive coordinators Dave Warner and Jim Bollman were reassigned to quarterbacks coach and offensive line coach respectfully.


Mark Dantonio called it his most significant change in his 12 years in East Lansing. Michigan State fans and alumni are not happy. They say that rival Jim Harbaugh was willing to go big and he hit a home run. Dantonio simply reshuffled his coaches. Which seldom works in a positive way.


From a distance Dantonio has not evolved. Nor has he adapted to the modern college football landscape. With only 10 points in their last two games (7 against Nebraska, 3 against Oregon) more than a switch was and still is needed.


Dantonio stated loyalty when asked why he stayed in house and did not bring in new blood. There in lies the problem. Dantonio is unwilling to change. He is unwilling to move his program forward.


Losing recruits to Jim Harbaugh is killing the Michigan State football program. The fact that everyone but the head football coach sees it is alarming.


Dantonio said “I believe in digging in when things get tough with people I know.” That is a bold statement to make. Because sticking with the same coaching staff for 12 years is not working the way it once did.


That is good and all. Unless he and his buddies are digging their own grave.