Dantonio: 'Just because you like someone doesn't mean you like the family'
Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday October 29, 2013
Is a coach allowed to say he likes an opposing coach during rivalry week?
A few weeks ago, Oregon’s Mark Helfrich credited Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox and added, “Can I say I really like and respect him on game week? It’s probably out of line.”
Michigan State hosts Michigan this week, and Mark Dantonio has no problem admitting he respects Brady Hoke. But that’s about as far as his kind words for the Wolverines will go.
“That’s accurate,” Dantonio said at his press conference. “But I will say this, so you guys can print all this: Just because you like somebody in the family doesn’t mean you like the whole family. I have a great deal of respect for Brady and his coaching abilities. I’m very close with his brother back in the day. Good man.”
After Dantonio’s first game against the Wolverines as head coach in 2007, he responded to a Michigan player calling MSU “little brother,” by saying “Pride comes before the fall.” Since then, Dantonio has always tried to be careful with his words, but the media know it’s hard for him to hold back when it comes back to the Wolverines.
Dantonio noticed that on Tuesday.
“I can tell everybody’s not sure. ‘Should I ask that question or shouldn’t I?’ It’s sort of quiet here today,” he said, drawing some chuckles from reporters.
So, of course, Dantonio was asked about Michigan paying to have a plane write “Go Blue” in the sky over Spartan Stadium.
“I did see they had paid for it,” he said. “What can you say? Why you want to get me started? You know the drill, guys.”
On Monday, Hoke and Michigan players talked about needing to be physical, and one player said the Wolverines were “bullied” in 2011, when the Spartans won 28-14, but also committed 13 penalties, including several personal fouls. Dantonio was asked about those comments, but wouldn’t bite, though he did make a subtle comment about officiating.
“I stand away from those things,” he said. “I’m going to worry about our football team right now. That game in 2011 was a tough football game, a lot of emotion. Sometimes, things maybe spun out of control a little bit at times, as well. I think it was a great football game. My main focus is to get our players playing hard. We always have. We’re going to play tough. We’re going to play within the rules. The refs have to control the football game. I think that’s very important, because it goes on both ends. That’s where I’m at with that.”