Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio has always been one thing about all others: Defensively-minded.
On Tuesday, Dantonio decided to address the growing number of outrageous penalties incurred in large part by his defensive players during recent match ups.
And it isn't the usual false start or offsides calls that have Dantonio fired up, but rather, the more costly flags that are bogging down his team in crucial situations. For instance, during last Saturday's 42-28 win over Indiana, Michigan State was whistled 10 times for 100 penalty yards - many of which Dantonio considers "disgusting" mistakes.
Overall this season, the Spartans have 45 penalty calls for 473 yards, which puts MSU at the top of the Big Ten for infractions.
To many, those are just "dumb flags".
“There’s certain things that we can control, and there’s certain things we can't control in terms of penalties,” Dantonio said to reporters. “... But you’ve got to know when to pull off on a guy and not dump him out of bounds. You’ve got to know when not to be offsides on a kickoff. You’ve got to know that you can’t hit a guy out of bounds from the backside, where we had a clip over there on the sidelines.”
Michigan State may have one of the top defenses in the nation, but they're also becoming known country-wide for a much more distressing reason. Their 78.8 penalty yards per game have them ranked for the fourth most in the NCAA, something that Dantonio knows has to end if the Spartans hope to find their way to a Rose Bowl.
You can follow MSU writer, Michael Ferro, at twitter.com/MichaelFerro.