Dear Mark Dantanio, How Did You Do It and Can You Do It Again?

Javier ZavaletaContributor IJuly 4, 2011

EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 23: Head coach Mark Dantonio of the Michigan State Spartans returned to the sidelines for a game against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field on October 23, 2010 in Evanston, Illinois. Michigan State defeated Northwestern 35-27. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Dear Coach Dantonio,

Two years ago your team came off a tough loss in the Alamo Bowl against the Mike Leach-less Texas Tech.

Texas Tech didn't look as impressive as they did the year before. The were amidst the debate between Sheffield or Potts at quarterback. Yet, Lincoln Riley who was only the inside receiver's coach made offensive coordinator managed to make short work of your defense.

The next year Michigan State was returning only two offensive linemen. The good news though was that most of the defense was coming back including first team All-American inside linebacker Greg Jones.

The first two wins against Western Michigan and Florida Atlantic were not shockers. The first real game was against Notre Dame in Spartan Stadium. One of the best games I've ever seen. It had everything from good offense, descent defense and an overtime fake field goal to end the game.

After the game ESPN reported that you suffered from a heart attack. Next week, I saw your team rally to crush Northern Colorado, hold down Wisconsin's juggernaut offense, made Denard Robinson look human rather than Heisman, all while you were not able to be on the field.

From there, despite a loss to Iowa your team won the conference.

My question to you coach is, "How did you do it?" You only had about half of your starters returning.

I don't give recruiting databases much credence, I've never seen Michigan State finish the year at the top 25 (on ESPN's at least). How did you take some small-time athletes like D.J. Young, Kirk Cousins, Joel Foreman, Trenton Robinson and possible first-round pick Jerel Worthy and turn them into All-Big Ten when none of them came out of high school with accolades such as All-American and four- and five-stars.

Coach, this year you only have two returning starters on the offensive line. You've lost five guys on defense, all of whom were All-Big Ten Honorable Mention or better.

You did something similar last year. Can you do it again this year?