September 7, 2013

Dantonio level of concern? '8 on a scale of 10'

EAST LANSING - Michigan State has a championship defense, but the team's struggles on offense remain a major concern.

"On a scale of one to 10, I would say it's about eight," said Dantonio. "I'm concerned. We need explosive plays in our offense. We got a chance to go down the field. We got the ball too many times in possessions that I would consider a sudden change and we're not generating points."

Michigan State played three quarterbacks against South Florida. Connor Cook was 6 of 11 for 32 yards with a fumble in his first career start. Redshirt freshman Tyler O'Connor was 2 of 4 for 22 yards in his debut. Andrew Maxwell was 4 of 9 for 40 yards.

"I don't think it's any clearer," said Dantonio when asked about the quarterback situation. "We scored one touchdown today. I can come in here and be politically correct, or I can tell it how it is. I think more people would want me to tell it how it is. We need to generate points when we have opportunities. We're trying work it. We beat ourselves a couple of times. We should've scored on the drive when we got down to the three or four yard line. We've got to get the ball up inside on the option, not on the outside. I don't know if it was called wrong or what was happening there. We should score or get it inside there and have an opportunity to go for it. It is what it is."

Maxwell started the second half, but was later replaced by Cook who finished the game.

"We went to Maxwell because I believed he gave us the best chance to put the ball down the field because he knows the most about our offense," said Dantonio. "If our fullback locks a defensive end, he's got a chance to throw the football. Some things just aren't in his control. The fullback has got to get himself up underneath that defensive end and make the block, pure and simple. We've got to block more effectively at certain times, not just the offensive lineman, whether it's the tight end or the back or whatever and give him time to throw it. Quite frankly, he didn't have enough time to throw it a couple of times. On the other end of the spectrum, you've got to make things happen. I don't know any other way to say it."

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