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MSU's Connor Cook: 'Coach D ... makes us laugh'

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Connor Cook has graduated from Michigan State and is preparing to play in what might be his last game as a Spartan — the last two at the very most.

So, the fifth-year senior quarterback just might fall on the sword. He might be the player to ask coach Mark Dantonio about Sports Illustrated calling him "Mike" Dantonio on a recent cover.

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio

"Maybe I'll bring it up in Dallas and see how it goes," said Cook in his appearance on "The Dan Patrick Show" on Wednesday. "I'll be the guinea pig to test it out."

Cook, of course, was responding to a question from Patrick, who was referencing the mistake in the magazine's special College Football Playoff edition. It was just the latest of several slights directed at the Michigan State coach.

And Cook figured not too many would be willing to mention it to the Spartans coach as No. 3 Michigan State prepares to face No. 2 Alabama in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 31.

"Well, I don't think any of us would try and bring it up to him," Cook said. "I'm sure he'd laugh about it, but I'm sure the guys are too afraid to bring it up to him. … Nobody has really brought it up. Maybe the coaches have and I'm sure he's laughed about it."

It's the good-natured side of Dantonio most people rarely see that Cook wanted to highlight.

"He is an intense guy when it comes to playing on Saturday or in press conferences or interviews," Cook said. "But he laughs and has a good sense of humor. Pretty much every meeting we have he tries to crack a joke and guys look around and wonder if he was being funny or what. We laugh about it.

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"Coach D is a funny guy and makes us laugh and tries to keep us fresh, too, whether it's a funny video before practice or having Santa Claus out at practice right before we left to go home. He's always thinking of something to make us laugh, make us smile and keep us fresh."

Cook spoke to Patrick from his family's home in Ohio as the Spartans get a few days off for the holiday. They'll head to Dallas on Christmas Day and begin practice at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas the day after.

He hit a few other topics in the short segment with Patrick.

*On playing the semifinal games on New Year's Eve:

"I think it's gonna be awesome. All the other games that I played, the past two years we've played on New Year's Day, so we've never really been able to celebrate. Ever since I've been a freshman at Michigan State we've never been able to celebrate New Year's, so this will be the first time in my career there where we can hopefully go out and win a football game and then celebrate the new year."

*On Patrick's idea of allowing the top-seeded team in the playoff to choose its first-round opponent:

"I think that would be cool. It might cause a little bit of controversy with whoever the No. 1 team decides to face, maybe they would take a little bit, or they'd think that was kind of disrespectful thinking they're the weakest link. But I think it be cool, I think it would be pretty interesting."

*How would MSU react to Alabama picking the Spartans:

"We'd embrace it. We like it. If they're calling us out, I think it would provide a little extra motivation for us to go out there and be like, 'They want to play us.' We'll do everything to take you guys down."

*On the last time he watched Michigan State's 22-play drive to win the Big Ten championship:

Probably like two days after, I was watching and going over the game itself and looking at all the corrections and things and all the things we need to do to get better. Then actually the next day we were just hanging out and they were just playing the TV copy on the big screen in the team meeting room.

Got to watch it there and it's just crazy watching it and seeing how we kind of struggled the entire game offensively and finally when we needed the drive to chew up some clock and have the longest drive off the year … for that to finally come on the last drive of the game to end our Big Ten season on that in the championship game, win it and end as champions is almost like you draw it up that way."

mcharboneau@detroitnews.com

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