MSU coach Dantonio wants youngsters to get experience

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

East Lansing — Following Michigan State's loss to Oregon, defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi suggested it wasn't a good idea his starters saw only limited playing time in the opener against Jacksonville State.

After allowing 46 points to the Ducks and suffering several breakdowns, Narduzzi wondered if the starters would have benefited from a little more seasoning in Michigan State's 45-7 victory over Jacksonville State.

His boss doesn't necessarily see it that way.

"I disagree with that," coach Mark Dantonio said Tuesday. "(It's) 38-0, we get our younger players playing."

Michigan State made wholesale changes in the second half against Jacksonville State. But Dantonio wouldn't go back and change it if he had the chance, even with the six players being replaced from last year's defense that finished No. 2 in the nation.

"We are going to play to win," Dantonio said. "After that is accomplished, in any game, we're going to try to get our younger players playing and develop experience and depth on this football team. And that's how we play it here."

Narduzzi said there would be changes in the depth chart this week, but there were no moves made Tuesday.

More players, however, will get a chance to play Saturday against Eastern Michigan.

"I think the younger players are going to play," Dantonio said. "I'm not sure that they are going to be in the starting positions, but they are going to have opportunities to play more often.

"But I anticipate younger players playing, some of our redshirt freshmen, some of our freshmen guys playing, especially on the defensive side of the ball."

That likely will include defensive tackles Malik McDowell and Craig Evans, as well as defensive end Montez Sweat. Dantonio said all three true freshmen will keep playing while defensive tackles Enoch Smith and David Beedle likely will redshirt.

Safety Montae Nicholson and linebacker Chris Frey could also continue to see action after playing primarily on special teams in the first two games.

On offense, Dantonio hasn't made any decisions on whether to play freshman running back Madre London.

"I don't know that we won't (take the redshirt off)," Dantonio said.

"It just depends on how everybody else is playing, and injuries, and those type of things."

Timeout 'happened'

Dantonio was asked about running the score up in an era when the selection committee for the College Football Playoff might be looking at margin of victory.

"I'm not interested in taking a timeout before the end of the game to get another seven points," he said.

"I'm interested in playing the game the way it's supposed to be played and letting it go."

That seemed to be a shot at Oregon, which called timeout in the final minutes before tacking on one final touchdown in its victory over Michigan State.

Dantonio, however, said he doesn't harbor any ill will toward the Ducks.

"I think they called a timeout because they decided to go for it on fourth-and-2," he said.

"It just sort of happened they scored the touchdown. It happened. We've got to deal with it."

Extra point

Dantonio said defensive tackles James Kittredge and Damon Knox should return soon after missing time with undisclosed injuries.