MSU coach praises Dowagiac man for work on offensive line

Published 9:32 am Friday, July 31, 2015

CHICAGO — One of the strengths of the Michigan State football team this season will be its offensive line.

Head coach Mark Dantonio talked about both lines at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago Thursday.

Dantonio gave credit to Mark Staten, of Dowagiac, for the work he has done in creating one of the best offensive lines in college football.

“Coach Staten, our offensive line coach, has done an outstanding job with those guys,” Dantonio said. “We have built this from the ground up as we’ve moved forward. Guys like Jack Allen, Jack Conklin, Donavon Clark, they’re now third-year starters. Some of them are maybe a fourth-year coming in the future. Brian Allen, Kodi Kieler, those are the five guys. We’ve got other guys that are making their move.

“I anticipate us playing eight guys again much like we have. We’ve got depth in the offensive line position, which is huge in college football. And I believe that you win up front.”

Dantonio also stressed how important it is to win up front.

“I think Mark Staten has done a remarkable job with our guys,” he said. “They believe in him. They believe in the structure there. It’s built on toughness. And if you know football, winning and losing, it all starts up front and it’s going to start with our offensive line.”

Jack Allen, the Spartans’ senior center, is also impressed with what Staten brings to the table.

“He is a great O-line coach,” he said. “He has us do that rotation that not many people do and I think that has helped us. All-around I think he is a great coach. He is a coach that really cares about his guys and the guys in the room. He is not just looking at us as just players. He’s a coach who cares for you almost like a father.”

Allen says with the talent on the offensive side of the football, looking good is a lot easier.

“We take a lot of pride in it, but having guys like Connor Cook and Tony Lippett makes us look a lot better,” he said.

Michigan State will open the 2015 season Friday, Sept. 4 in Kalamazoo when it takes on Western Michigan University.