Mark Dantonio Shows Respect for Rivalry with Michigan, Responds to Player Tweets

Zach DirlamSenior Analyst IISeptember 5, 2012

Mark Dantonio did not mince words when addressing his players shots at rival quarterback Denard Robinson.
Mark Dantonio did not mince words when addressing his players shots at rival quarterback Denard Robinson.Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Michigan State University football head coach Mark Dantonio sent a strong message to his team in his weekly press conference in response to a question about three Spartans that chose to ridicule and trash talk Michigan Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson via Twitter last Saturday night. In addition, he addressed the lack of respect that those players had for their in-state rival. 

"Our guys need to keep their mouths shut. Is that blunt enough?" Dantonio said Tuesday afternoon according to Jim Comparoni of "Especially those that aren't even playing." 

Robinson, who is 0-3 against the Spartans in his career at Michigan, was harassed constantly and shut down by the Alabama Crimson Tide defense all night long. The senior dual-threat quarterback finished 11-of-26 for 200 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Robinson was also held to a mere 27 yards and one touchdown on the ground. 

The struggles of Michigan's Heisman Trophy candidate prompted starting linebacker Denicos Allen to post, "Is this guy really a QB I'll say my mans @TommyVento16 is a better QB lol." 

Vento is a walk-on quarterback and is entering his first season of eligibility after redshirting for the Spartans last year. 

The tweets did not stop there though. Walk-on safety Kyle Artinian, who did not dress in Michigan State's opener against Boise State last Friday, chimed in with this post: "DENARD IS SOOOO BAD! And it makes me feel so good." 

Third-string running back Nick Hill was the third player to tweet about Michigan's struggles against Alabama.  

"Even a blind squirrel can get a nut ever once in a while," Hill tweeted after Robinson completed a 71-yard touchdown pass to redshirt junior wide receiver Jeremy Gallon. 

The statements made by the players were not vicious by any means, however they were unnecessary and unwarranted in Dantonio's opinion, given the 49-7 beating that Michigan State took at the hands of the Crimson Tide in the 2010 Capital One Bowl. 

"The credit goes to the person in the arena," Dantonio said. "Michigan has a storied tradition. I didn't see much different when we played the University of Alabama a couple of years ago. It is tough." 

It is clear that Dantonio does not like much about the maize and blue, nor should he considering how Michigan fans discounted the importance of the in-state rivalry during their run of six straight victories over the Spartans.  

However, Dantonio is now in his sixth season at Michigan State and expects his team to respect its rival even though it has every reason to brag, given its current four-game winning streak against the Wolverines. 

"I think it is disrespectful," Dantonio said of his players' tweets. "I don't think that is something we should be doing. I will deal with that on my end." 

Meanwhile, Robinson answered questions about the subject on Wednesday as well and said that he is "not even worried about that right now," according to Chantel Jennings of  

All that being said, fans of both programs should be in for one heck of a battle on Oct. 20 at the Big House in Ann Arbor when Michigan and Michigan State finally get to end the trash talk and let their play on the field decide which is the better team in the state in this season.

Zach Dirlam is the former Lead Editor of the College Basketball section as well as a Big Ten columnist for the FOX Sports/MSN/YardBarker affiliate website Sports at Work.

Follow Zach on Twitter.