Overdone: Shedding light on the Dantonio interrupts U-M assistant nonsense

People really need to chill out.

As most fans of Michigan State and Michigan will know by now, Mark Dantonio ever so “rudely” interrupted Michigan’s wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Jeff Hecklinski in the middle of a speech that wasn’t supposed to happen today at a coaches clinic.

The Michigan High School Football Coaches Winners Circle Clinic is about helping high school coaches, it is very much not about how Michigan or Michigan State operate.

Dantonio was scheduled to speak today about “issues facing high school football and recruiting.” Hold on, read that again. Yes, Dantonio was scheduled to speak on those matters. He was leading a panel to talk about those topics.

Now, back to this morning, the clinic began with Dantonio giving introductory remarks and speaking positively of the Michigan football program.

Hecklinski, filling in for Brady Hoke who was in Houston last night for an awards ceremony, also gave introductory remarks and also had nice things to say about the MSU program.

No problem there.

But, Hecklinski reportedly then began going into a detailed speech about Michigan’s recruiting process. This displeased Dantonio, as it was not the understanding he had of the way the forum was operating.

Although it is “interpreted” by the experts that are message board trolls as Dantonio hating Michigan and being jealous of the success Hoke had in recruiting the state of Michigan since his arrival.

What tomfoolery.

MLive.com’s report had these quotes which explain the situation.

“I really didn’t know how this would work in this forum; it was the first time we’ve ever done this and I just didn’t know how this would work,” Dantonio said. “I didn’t want it to be a recruiting (speech for only Michigan).”

“Look, I understand my place,” said Hecklinski, who thought he had a 15-minute window to speak about his program. “What took place, took place and it is what it is. There is no reason to rehash it. At the end of the day, it’s about helping the kids,” he said. “It’s about getting them opportunities no matter where they are. That’s the purpose of the format and at the end, my job was to make sure I did not interrupt or take away from that process or take away from what the podium was for.”

There is no reason to rehash it. That’s good wisdom. Not rehashing a misunderstanding sounds perfectly logical.

To reiterate, this clinic is about helping the high school coaches — it is not about Michigan or Michigan State. Their coaches are featured speakers, yes.

Yesterday, Michigan’s coordinators Greg Mattison and Al Borges spoke on their philosophies. They were joined by MSU offensive coordinator Dan Roushar. Today, Pat Narduzzi was among the coaches who spoke. Hoke is expected to speak tomorrow. No harm, no foul.

Instead of focusing on the purpose of what was at hand — and being smart enough to understand this was nothing more than a slight misunderstanding — fans on both sides are blowing up over what amounts to something as significant as one snowflake sitting in my backyard.

Dantonio now is being portrayed as evil and bitter, and the photo from the Kalamazoo Gazette makes him look like Hitler — good work.

All while Hecklisnki is depicted as a victim in an outburst from an envious MSU coach who hates losing out on recruits in the state of Michigan.

Blah. Blah. Blah.

The real victim in this is anyone who actually bought into this huge hoopla created by the media about nothing. The best report on the event itself with information beyond this interruption business is from the Detroit Free Press. This is the only thing worth reading from any media about this as it clarifies the misunderstanding and explains that truly nothing beyond that occurred.

The Free Press story explains Dantonio brought all the college coaches to the panel to speak — not focusing back on himself. He merely provided a chance to say this is not about one college or university, it’s about the high school coaches. He even asked the high school coaches in attendance if anyone has a kid going to the Big Ten, one or two hands were raised — serving the point the discussion on Big Ten (or just U-M’s alone) practices of recruiting were not of utmost importance to the audience.

But, as sports fans, few people will rationalize that and it only serves as fuel added to the fire of this rivalry and given the actual game is nine months away (Oct. 20), it just makes things more heated leading up to that.

As an MSU alum and fan, this doesn’t make me sit and laugh and heckle Michigan because Dantonio “owned” them again. If the situation was reversed, no, I wouldn’t be happy about it, but at the same time, anyone with any sense of objectivity can read the ridiculous news from any source and come to the easy conclusion: There is no real story and nothing of any importance.

On a REAL news note: If you are going to the basketball game against Purdue tomorrow, there is a food drive taking place. Read this on Green Thoughts for more information.


Posted on January 20, 2012, in Football and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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