September 11, 2012

Overachievers a permanent part of Dantonio's blueprint

EAST LANSING - Michigan State has not gone into the Notre Dame game with a Top 10 ranking since 1979, and expectations outside the program for the Spartans as high as they've been in decades.

But the principles on which Mark Dantonio has built his program are unchanged.

"We must overachieve," Dantonio said. "There's no question. It starts with me. It's got to move through our entire program. We have to be better than what we were before. If you come in as a four star recruit, it really doesn't serve any purpose. We have four star recruits that aren't starting for us, we have two stars that are. You have to overachieve and reach higher. If you can't do that, inevitably you're going to fail. That's some of the things we're constantly talking to our football team about, what can we do to get better. We need to be better."

Michigan State's sixth-year head coach expects every player in his program to overachieve, including stars like junior captain Max Bullough, an All-Big Ten linebacker.

"As hard a worker as he is, there are things he can do to try and get better," said Dantonio. "It's just the way that we have to be made here. I really feel like that. But I would be saying that regardless of where I was at. I think that's the way you continue to push yourself forward."

Rivalry games have received heavy emphasis during Dantonio's tenure. Saturday will mark the 76th time Michigan State and Notre Dame have met on the football field. The 115-year old rivalry between the Spartans and Fighting Irish carries great importance for the Spartan coach.

"The Notre Dame game to me is a game built on tradition," Dantonio said. "Very humbled to be a part of that game. It's a game that I think has sort of stood the test of time at Michigan State, all the way back to '66 and probably even before. Very excited about being a part of that, having it in Spartan Stadium again this next Saturday night should be a very interactive atmosphere for our fans and for our players alike."



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