My favorite coach when I was still playing baseball once said, “Teams take on the personality of their coach.”
Here on campus, it seems like the same can be true of MSU fans taking on the attitude of head football coach Mark Dantonio.
Dantonio is a classic football coach—he doesn’t smile, he’s seemingly tough as nails and has proven to be incredibly resilient.
Dantonio is starting to inspire the same quiet confidence in MSU fans, a fan base that has been historically less-than-confident in its teams, that he has in his players.
The change may well have came during the near-collapse against Michigan.
While a lot of Spartan fans were pushing out the thoughts of “Not again, not again, please God not again,” Dantonio told his team that they were going to snatch the game back.
And they did.
Following up that watershed moment with an injury-filled win over Illinois, the mood in East Lansing is confident. Despite having a bipolar recent history against Northwestern, memories of the upset in Spartan Stadium two years ago are overshadowed by the belief that the Spartans will beat a team they’re supposed to beat.
Spartan fans aren’t blinded by faith. Not by any means. The humbling start to the season exposed too many flaws to think this team will be as good as they were hyped up to be. In the last week, mounting injuries have become more and more of a concern.
But Dantonio’s resolve is the reference point on why those concerns shouldn’t bother us too much.
It’s comforting to know that whether Michigan State is up by 20 or down by 20, coach D will be on the sidelines looking pissed off.
His desire to be better is something all Spartan fans can learn from. Nothing is ever going to be good enough for Dantonio. He’s going to keep improving his team.
Knowing that, it’s easy to feel confident watching MSU and knowing they won’t take Northwestern for granted with a night game against Iowa looming next week.
It’s a mistake that past Spartan teams would have made, but something that Dantonio is slowly but surely wiping out of the program’s DNA.