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September 28, 2010

Mark Dantonio is back

On the way back, anyway. As detailed here, Dantonio came to MSU's presser today and expects to be in the coaching box for Saturday's game against Wisconsin.

    This is big news for the Spartans, though not terribly surprising. His visit to the team Friday and appearance at daughter Kristen's homecoming crowning Saturday indicated good physical recovery. Don Treadwell is expected to be on the sidelines again if Dantonio is in the box.

    Dantonio will no doubt ease into things this week, but as mentioned here, his presence for game prep is an asset for MSU. Some head coaches are primarily "face men" for their programs. They seal the deal on the recruiting trail, they handle media and booster obligations, they deliver the speeches and give final stamp of approval on things, but the assistants handle most of the football nitty gritty. Dantonio delegates and empowers but also likes to get his hands dirty. I recall a couple years ago in his office, watching him pull out files on Penn State from the mid-90s when Dantonio was at MSU as a Nick Saban assistant. He combs through those things to try to find an edge each week. He adds ingredients to each game plan (although his contributions likely will be scaled back to some extent this week).

    And the Spartans will obviously be fired up to have him back, although they'd be inspired to play for him in any scenario.


    From Dantonio on the Big Ten teleconference:

    "This is a program, this is not just one person, and I think that's important to remember."

    On how he's feeling:

    "I feel good, I feel very good and you know, I'll ease back into this just like any injured player would. ... I guess you'd say I'm day to day, so that's how I'm gonna take it and I'll let the people around me evaluate my progress. I'm moving forward but there are certain restrictions, obviously at this point, but I look forward to a full recovery."

    Asked about watching the last game on TV, Dantonio said the experience was "surreal" but also that the different perspective may have been a "healthy perspective."

    Asked if he had to talk his doctors into allowing him to return:

    "No, I'm following doctors' orders. That's the No. 1 thing I'm going to do, I'm going to be a good patient."

    Is he a changed man?

    "Well, I guess time will tell. Hopefully when you go through something like this you become a little bit wiser, become a little bit more compassionate toward people or whatever. But I can't answer that question right now. It's difficult to answer and I'm probably not the one to answer that question, it's the people around me that can answer that question better."







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Joe Rexrode
MSU Sports Reporter

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