Good Behavior: Why Michigan State Spartans Are over 2009 Distractions

Nick MordowanecCorrespondent IJune 21, 2010

SOUTH BEND, IN - SETPEMBER 19: Larry Caper #22 of the Michigan State Spartans scores a touchdown against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on September 19, 2009 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Michigan State 33-30. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images


The Michigan State Spartans started off their 2009 football campaign on the wrong note, falling to 1-3 amid high expectations from their coaches and fans. The season became a near monstrosity right before the Spartans’ partaking in the Alamo Bowl.

That was because eight players—including three starters—were arrested and not allowed to play in the team’s bowl game.

It was a crushing blow to a team poised to win its first bowl game under head coach Mark Dantonio, not to mention the image of the university. Dantonio worked hard to for his program in sustaining through the thick and thin, had failed to succeed according to his own lofty expectations.

The Spartans ended up losing the Alamo Bowl, although the game could have ended much worse than it did. The players seemed to rally around their coach—and each other—in the quest to finish the season on a high note.

Like many things in life, the Spartans get another chance to redeem themselves in the 2010 season. With a touted recruiting class mixed in with veterans on the roster, Michigan State can be quite formidable if the players focus on what is most important: winning.

And if Dantonio’s attitude during his tenure in East Lansing has showed people anything, it’s that he wants discipline and intelligence to be the catalysts for a successful team. He does not stand for disobedience and intolerance, especially when it affects the entire team and, as last year showed, the season.

For one to believe an incident like last season’s would happen in the same capacity this time around is a bet that is not likely to be won. If another incident occurred, especially on Michigan State soil, Dantonio would be the first to stand up and take blame.

These incidents are few and far between, though. The incident last season was the first major incident Dantonio encountered in his time at Michigan State, and everything else has been pretty calm for the hard-nosed coach (other than the Glenn Winston fiasco).

The future is bright for the Michigan State Spartans, not only in terms of personnel but also regarding its players. Young talent has provided a boost to a great mix of locker room stalwarts, which is the formula for success. These players want to win as much as Dantonio, if not more.

After everything the team went through last season, the page seems to have been turned and the past is firmly in the rear-view mirror.