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Michigan State’s 2010 Football Program is in Critical Need of a Course Correction Immediately
When Mark Dantonio took over as the head coach of the Michigan State University football program 3 years ago, no one was more excited and applauded than the former Michigan State athlete and graduate. It was easy to see why.
In his last two seasons watching the Spartans as a student-athlete, the Michigan State players and their coach, Duffy Daugherty, won both major championships and national championships in 1965 and 1966. After graduating in 1966, it took George Perles 21 long years. He returned MSU to some kind of glory when the Spartans went 9-2-1 and won the Big Ten title and the Rose Bowl in 1987.
The arrival of Mark Dantonio, after years of losses to our arch rival Michigan as well as Ohio State, has shown hope to a struggling program. Dantonio was the defensive coordinator on Ohio State’s 2002 National Championship team and built a reputation as a winner to be reckoned with.
In his first season, Dantonio went 7-5 and led Michigan State to the bowl game for the first time in 4 years – and all 5 of his losses were by 7 points or less. Last year, he continued his march to glory, going 9-4 and going to a second consecutive bowl game.
This year has turned into a nightmare before it has barely begun. In their second game of the season against Central Michigan at home, the Spartans really worked to find a way to lose, 29-27. The fact that Central Michigan was a middle school and would eventually finish the season at 12-2 was irrelevant – it was the way Michigan State responded to the challenge that was troubling.
MSU then went on the road and lost a close game to another rival, Notre Dame, 33-30, and followed that up with another loss to Wisconsin, 38-30.
The Spartans were able to defeat archrival Michigan 26-20 in overtime and also beat Illinois and Northwestern to be 4-3. Not content with any success, they promptly lost at home to Iowa and on the road at Minnesota, dropping to 4-5. Fortunately, after being blown out by Penn State 42-14, they beat Western Michigan and Purdue to start at 6-6.
What happened next was a sign of trouble ahead for the Michigan Spartans. A total of 14 Spartans players were suspended pending an investigation into the November dormitory brawl. The players in question did not make it to the Alamo Bowl to face the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
Dubbed the “Confusion Bowl” by the media due to the firing of Warriors coach Mike Leach before the game, the Raiders won 41-31, leaving Michigan State with a 6-7 season losing record.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Michigan’s 3rd season under Dantonio was a disappointment. There is a big difference between 9-4 in 2008 and 6-7 in 2009. It’s not just about the wins and losses – as bad as that – it’s also about the apparent lack of team chemistry, the apparent disinterest of some players. , and the obvious non-performance of some of the “hot shot” newcomers.
The problem was, as the great college football coach Lou Holtz says, “When all was said and done, more was said than done.”
If anyone is wondering what happened to the Michigan State Spartans this year, the signs are clear – 14 players have been suspended for their involvement in a dormitory brawl. When did Michigan City get the reputation of a school that recruits players interested in “cheating” and “cheating” to score perceived points?
The story is very familiar today. Connecticut’s players won the Papajohns.com Bowl without cornerback Jasper Howard, who was stabbed to death in October in a fight outside a school-sponsored dance.
Dozens of college football players have been suspended or kicked from their teams this year for violent or criminal behavior. Oregon running back LaGarrette Blount hit a Boise State player at midfield after the Broncos upset the Ducks 19-8 in both teams’ opener this year. Other players on other teams have been accused of anything from robbery to rape.
You have to ask yourself, “What is going on with these talented and privileged athletes?” Some of them leave after the first season because they are too lazy, undisciplined or too stupid to get good grades in classes. Some run around as if it’s God’s gift to football, they “talk” and act like an illiterate person – in some cases they can’t write a complete sentence and have trouble communicating with someone they don’t come from. Often they bring nothing material to the area they occupy.
Life is not that complicated for someone who pays attention. By the time athletes even reach a college campus, they must understand right from wrong, they must have some basic manners and respect for everyone they come in contact with, and they must have enough self-control to rob their roommate. do not rape or molest a girl. engage in collective violence.
Yoga taught me “impulse control,” the ability to feel the urge and delay in action.
Violent and criminal behavior should not be tolerated under any circumstances. We all face challenges in life. We all suffer from failure, rejection, and ridicule from adults. Life is not a place to relax; is a test site. We all face challenges every day in our lives. We either learn how to deal with these problems or fall victim to them.
What about today’s youth is that they solve their problem by going home, getting a gun, and going back and killing someone because their feelings are hurt, or they face rejection and ridicule. Learning to deal with your problems is part of growing up. People who kill other people indiscriminately do not value their own lives and therefore do not value the lives of those they kill.
The values of respect, tolerance, acceptance, compromise and love among others should be taught and learned. If there is no one around, then you have to follow and learn these values yourself.
The excuse that you are lazy or stupid enough to learn these values on your own is not acceptable if you plan to live on this planet with other people. If you don’t learn to behave in a civilized society, then we will lock you out, that is, unless you are killed by someone else first.
The 14 suspended Michigan State players — if convicted as suspected — lack maturity, lack of good judgment, lack of character and lack of integrity. No one behaves as foolishly as it seems, without being more self-centered than others.
Let there be no doubt about the value of character and integrity. I don’t believe you can build a championship team without a significant dose of both.
And let there be no doubt about how character develops. Just as we learn from our mistakes, we can learn from our disappointments. Also understand that adversity does not build character, it only reveals it. In the case of suspended athletes, the perceived inconvenience revealed their shortcomings.
Integrity is what you do in the dark when no one is watching, and that’s especially true if you’re enjoying what you’re doing for personal gain. Integrity is making decisions with the right mindset and the right intentions. You cannot have integrity and be self-centered, full of yourself, greedy, dishonest, jealous, stupid, a bully, a bully, walking around like a stupid cow following other stupid cows.
All of which means that Mark Dantonio needs to do some serious house cleaning. Dantonio needs to figure out who is ready to succeed. Who not only wants to play football, but loves the game and needs to play football. Who is the winner who wants to face the challenges and win. And who appreciates the opportunity to wear a Michigan Spartan uniform.
You can’t win with losers, and apparently there are some losers on the MSU football team who shouldn’t be on the team. If the rest of the players can’t help Michigan State take the next step forward, then Dantonio needs to find some character players who can and convince them of the value of being a true Spartan.
Copyright © 2010 Ed Bagley
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