Rivalry with UM is 'daily' business for Dantonio, MSU

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
Mark Dantonio

Mark Dantonio was asked about plenty of issues during Thursday's Big Ten teleconference, including moving on after the departure of former defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi and the battle to replace Trae Waynes at cornerback.

But it didn't take long for the Michigan State coach to be asked about his feelings regarding the Michigan rivalry and how it might change with the presence of Jim Harbaugh and the competitive East Division of the Big Ten.

"It is as it is," Dantonio said. "It always has been and it always will be. It just didn't start today or a couple months ago, it's been an ongoing thing, so we approach it like that daily."

Dantonio was then asked about his feelings about the Spartan statue being painted in maize and blue overnight and whether that comes into play with his team.

"There's always little things that get to you one way or the other, either way," he said. "I would imagine most people … I usually say everybody's got a story. Whether it was the Rose Bowl when we played there or whether it's talking about a rivalry game and a certain situation that went down. So we all have our issues, I guess, to deal with.

"As I said earlier, we didn't start this. This (rivalry) has been in existence for a long time. It just didn't start when Mark Dantonio came to Michigan State. I felt it from the first time I was here and I'm sure it's always been like that."

Dantonio got his first taste of the rivalry as an assistant under Nick Saban in 1995 but has taken control of the series over the last seven years with six wins in that time. The only loss for the Spartans came on a late field goal in Ann Arbor in 2012.

Michigan State continues its spring practices Thursday with the annual Green and White game scheduled for 2 p.m. on April 25.