Dantonio Praises Ohio State, but Has Plenty of Confidence in His Own Team

By Jason Priestas on December 1, 2013 at 3:53p
Dantonio is not thinking about losing Saturday's Big Ten Championship game

Saturday's Big Ten Championship game pitting No. 2 Ohio State against No. 9 Michigan State is the first time two top-10 ranked teams will meet in the game as well as the only time the game will feature a clash between two teams unbeaten in Big Ten play. Ohio State enters the game as nearly a touchdown favorite, but don't take that nonsense to Mark Dantonio.

“I don't know. I'm not thinking about losing,” was Dantonio's reply when asked if he thought his team was a lock for the Rose Bowl regardless of the outcome.

Dantonio spoke at length about the growth of his team, saying his team wasn't a top-25 team coming into the season, but they've become a very good team, with wide receivers stepping up to make catches, a reliable backfield option in 1,000-yard man Jeremy Langford, a steady quarterback in Connor Cook and an offensive line that's improved as the season has progressed.

Asked about where his team finds itself in the rankings, Dantonio said, “We are where we are and that speaks to the maturity of our football team and how they handle things.”

Michigan State has the Big Ten's best defense and what many would consider to be the nation's best unit. Dantonio said it's certainly the best defense he's had since arriving in East Lansing in 2007.

“There's a feeling among our football team that regardless of who we play, we're going to be able to compete.”

It's going to be a war.

Although he's confident in his own team, Dantonio heaped plenty of praise Ohio State's way. Cornerback Bradley Roby has “outstanding ball skills,” linebacker Ryan Shazier “runs extremely well and has explosive power,” and Carlos Hyde “can break it and go the distance at any time.”

He was even more effusive when discussing Braxton Miller and Kenny Guiton.

“The quarterback – really, I should say quarterbacks – is a game-breaker.”

Dantonio said he voted Ohio State No. 1 on his Coaches Poll ballot – without being asked. “They have great players, have a great scheme and they're a very confident team, so it's going to be a great challenge.”

Saturday's game may well be the biggest of Dantonio's career. He would only say it's “right up there,” and his staff is at work putting a plan together to stop the nation's No. 2 rushing attack.


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00Buck's picture

For whom:   The Bell Tolls !  On the other hand, I think a Cook(out) is in the future

Upon this Rock, I build my house....and Let no man put asunder

igo43's picture

This game has me very worried. Great defenses will beat great offenses a majority of the time, and the Bucks defense concerns me for the next 2 games they have in front of them. I'm hoping they improve a lot in a week.

"The minute I think I'm getting mellow, I'm retiring. Who ever heard of a mellow winner?" - WWH

Hoody Wayes's picture

One Silver Bullet-worthy moment from The Game 2013 = The GAMEsaver. So, our D can make big plays.

dubjayfootball90's picture

scUM had a great rush defense, they only allowed roughly 116 ypg on the ground prior to OSU. How many did the bucks gain? We probably won't gain 400, although I wish we would, but we will get our yards on the ground. That is for sure. It will need to be surgical passing by Miller to keep the Spartans at bay

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

BorderBuckeye's picture

Please please please shore up the defense against the short passes!! Those lateral passes kill us but when we do a big blitz and they toss it to where our linebackers were, we are in big trouble. Play tighter coverage if possible. And I really hope for a huge day for our defensive ends getting to Cook and stopping short passes and getting tackles for loss on runs and passes. And of course a huge day for our receivers and Miller so they spread that vaunted defense out and frustrate them. Asking a lot, yes. Hey, I love the Buckeyes!!

penguinpower's picture

I totally agree and we have been spoiled with Tressel and Dantonio defenses that have won us many games. The way I see it is that a defense can provide 3 things to a football team. They can prevent a team from scoring, they can give the ball back to your offense, or they can score for your offense. The defense is capable of being offense. On offense 4 things can happen and e of them are bad. You can score, you can play keep away, but you can also turn the ball over or not. Move the ball at all.

Tressel had those great defenses because that is where he put his best players. I like our new offense, but it is difficult to get used to giving up 40 points per game. Ouch!

gumtape's picture

Dantonio is the best coach in the country not named Urban Meyer.
Dude Hates M*chigan.
Dude knows when to blitz and how to coach D.
Dude never smiles.
His trick plays always seem to work out.
Dude gave the best halftime interview in the history of the world.

High and tight boo boo

popeurban's picture

Gum, I could not agree more.  Dantonio is so ridiculously awesome!  His defenses alone make me love him.  Great additional points.... 

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Dantonio is the best coach in the country not named Urban Meyer.

Did Saban retire?

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

gumtape's picture

I am allowing for some hyperbole when it comes to my man crush... The guy who called for a jailhouse blitz against miami on 4th down and the crystal football on the line.
I don't consider saban a coach, he is a recruiter that does some coaching 13 days a year.

High and tight boo boo

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

A recruiter that has 4 nc.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

gumtape's picture

He is a really good recruiter.

High and tight boo boo

741's picture

I love this guy.

Hovenaut's picture

Expecting another war come Saturday, hopefully with less yardage. 

buckguyfan1's picture

Prepare for Battle...

aabuckeye's picture

Class act. Can't underestimate him.

Bradyhokescholesterol's picture

Dude is a class act. Can't wait for Saturday night.

hit_the_couch's picture

The only thing that sits back in my mind about this is that MSU has ruined a couple good Buckeye seasons, but only when tOSU was ranked #1.
I'm convinced tOSU will win by 3 scores.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

buckeyedude's picture

After Saturday, I am not predicting any blowouts. This is going to be a close game.



hit_the_couch's picture

Saturday was also The Game, which is usually close no matter how good or bad either team is.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

BuckeyeLurker0509's picture

I like our chances.

Seattle Linga's picture

I 2nd that Lurker...............What's up with the handle Lurker?

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

This is a huge challenge for the Bucks!  I think we've got the team to win it, but man, we've just got to play better on D.  The O has really been clicking so hopefully they will be able to get some points on MSU's D, which is very good.  Dantonio is a great coach, so it will be very interesting to see him vs Meyer in coaching. 
Go Bucks!! Win the B1G Championship. 

Kevdaddy8's picture

Simple analysis: Our O is better than their D and Our D is usually better than their O.  Go Bucks!

Ardyb's picture

It's hard to hate dantonio. If we had to lose i'd rather it be to his team. Heres to hoping the streak stays alive.

Go Bucks!

popeurban's picture

He has a special place in my heart.  His defense won the 2002 championship IMO.

harleymanjax's picture

A Sparty fan came up to me yesterday when THE GAME was close and said you guys better win this, we want to be able to go to the Rose Bowl after you guys beat us next week!

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

buckeyedude's picture

He would say only that his staff is at work putting a plan  together to stop the nation's #2 rushing attack.  

Lemme guess: Stack the box with 8 or 9 defenders and blitz an LB every friggin play.



BorderBuckeye's picture

If they do that, I hope we are ready with quick passes across the middle to our tight ends and some other short passes.

ODEEZ330's picture

Love that he voted tosu #1. #buckeye

stark county football

DannyBeane's picture

Sparty is my second favorite team in all of college football. Dantonio is a great coach that was key to our 2002 Championship. Sparty hates ScUM just as much as we hate them. And no matter how well Sparty is doing, they never seem to get any respect, always playing second fiddle to older sister. Well now they are a legit team with a rock solid defense. Its going to be a hell of a game thats for sure.

MN Buckeye's picture

While everyone seems to be focusing on the NC, I am sure that Urban will let others do the talking and speculating, including us, since Saturday should be a great game. We cannot have a letdown against sparty.

ltrane's picture

Maybe the Michigan game is a blessing in disguise.  With the struggles they had, now Meyer and his staff can humble this team and create a greater sense of urgency rather than having them overconfident and complacent had this past weekend's game been a blowout

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Respect for Dantonio for sure ... which is 1% of my thought process, the other 99% is an overwhelming desire for the Bucks to beat Sparty.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

angelique's picture

here's a play for you.     When we got the ball, well, remember the Purdue game in 2012 for the extra point to tie the game.    You know, everybody go right and then throw back to the tight end who releases late from the line.     I think Michigan did that during our last game with them.     If I am not mistaken they did it to us something like 50 times.     And their last time was as successful as their first time.      Maybe Michigan State can be fooled 50 times too.


TraptnMI's picture

I feel your frustration. Linebackers are our Achilles heel, minus DAMN. If the coaches see potential in Perry, then they see it. It's a cryin shame about Mr. Perkins. Heres hoping for Raekwon. Hubbard will be a stud LB, but for this week in practice, I'm hoping Trey J. gets more reps. Trey's good in space. GO BUCKS! Kick the baby shit green out of those uni's.

" It's real good whatcha done Anthony, real good ! "

eb314's picture

Dantonio is definitely my 2nd favorite coach in the B1G.  His NW halftime comments (and overall lack of smiling), and now voting OSU #1 in the coaches poll...love this guy.

BoFuquel's picture

I don't give a damn for the whole state up north. We must not let up in our hate. I remember 1998,: but most of these players were in preschool then. The intensity must continue without any letdown after "The Game". You can't win'em all, if you don't win this one. We don't win this game, no BCS bowl game for TOSU, and that's a huge loss on payday. YOU HEAR ME BUCKEYES. GO BUCKS! 

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.