East Lansing – Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said his defense for 2016 has a chance to be “excellent,” and on Saturday during the second scrimmage of spring practice, that unit did not disappoint.
With the help of an interception on the final series, the defense defeated the offense in a 121-play controlled scrimmage at Spartan Stadium.
“It’s amazing, I don’t create those, they just sort of happen,” Dantonio said of the late-game interception. “But 30-30 at the end, and the defense won in overtime. We made it so (the offense) had to score a touchdown in overtime to win. So it was good.”
It was the 12th of 15 spring workouts that culminates with the annual spring game next Saturday, April 23.
“It was a great day,” Dantonio said. “I thought our guys again were physical. I thought we ran around well, I thought we tackled well, and I thought our offensive line protected pretty well. Not nearly as many penalties (as in the first scrimmage), so that was a big positive, especially unforced ones. You saw some good things out there.”
Dantonio singled out junior linebacker Jon Reschke and was impressed by quarterbacks Tyler O’Connor and Damion Terry.
“I thought O’Connor was pretty sharp, especially early on in the practice,” Dantonio said. “But we tried to give everybody reps with the ones and spread it around. I thought Damion Terry had a good scrimmage. That’s just me standing on the field here.
“Reschke made a lot of plays today. He’s a very good football player. Our linebacker group is solid. We’ve got a lot of moving part there, so that’s a positive.”
Michigan State capped off the day with the eighth annual women’s clinic, hosted by Dantonio and his wife Becky. It was held in conjunction with the program’s first-ever leadership clinic.
The Spartans have practices scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday before next weekend’s Green-White intrasquad game that kicks off at 3 p.m. in Spartan Stadium. The spring game will be televised live nationally by the Big Ten Network.