Mark Dantonio: ‘If I can’t control myself, how can my team?’

The Michigan State Spartans suffered a heart-breaking loss to the Nebraska Cornhuskers last weekend. Rather than placing blame on the officials in the game or any of his team’s mistakes late in the game, head coach Mark Dantonio shouldered a lot of the blame.

Dantonio sent a clear message that the Spartans win and lose as a team and that everyone needs to take responsibility for the loss, beginning with him.

“I need to be able to control myself. If I can’t control myself, how can I ask our football team to control themselves?” Dantonio said, via “That’s No. 1. No. 2, you’re always talking about life lessons to our football team that go beyond football. I look how I react to that, how our team reacts to that.

“You’re not going to win all the time. We haven’t lost here in a year. Most people have lost in that time period at some point in time. For a year, we’ve avoided that aspect of losing. Don’t like it. … That’s one play. There were other opportunities to create seconds used. There were other opportunities we didn’t make a play. We all have to take responsibility in this. The people on the field, the people officiating, the coaches, everybody takes responsibility in winning and losing.”

It’s a very mature response from Dantonio and one that his team can learn from.

You aren’t going to win every game, so it is important to keep your composure and focus on the ultimate goal so that you can learn from your mistakes and work on getting better in the future.

While the loss was a big blow to Michigan State’s national championship hopes, they still have an opportunity to make noise as the season ends.

“Continue to talk to our players about handling their situations, playing well, reasserting themselves as leaders,” he added. “Life’s not always going to go like this. You’re going to have some down times. As I told them on Sunday, if they thought that was a bad situation and tough deal, they should have been here in 2011 at the Big Ten championship game. That was a tough one. We went to a banquet the next day.”

If Dantonio’s message resonates with his team, we could see a Spartans squad more motivated than ever come out on Saturday against Maryland before trying to play the spoiler role against Ohio State.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports

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