Sunday was difficult enough as Michigan State tried to regroup after Saturday’s loss to Wisconsin.
Then the Spartans found out former player Mylan Hicks was shot and killed in Calgary.
Speaking to the media Sunday evening, Dantonio said he found out about Hicks’ death around 9 a.m. Dantonio compared Hicks’ personality to that of former punter Mike Sadler, who died in a July car accident.
“Before we start questions, I just guess I wanted to say we’re deeply saddened here. Our entire football program – coaches, staff and players – are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Mylan Hicks. We will miss him deeply,” said Dantonio. “You know, he went 100 miles an hour. Number 6 was a beautiful person. Like Mike Sadler in a lot of ways, he just lit a room up when he walked in. He established himself as a leader on our football team in his last year, and this is just tragic. It’s sort of rocked our Spartan football community.”
— Spartan Football (@MSU_Football) September 25, 2016
When asked about the team as it prepares for the game at Indiana, Dantonio said agreed that this is a big test for Tyler O’Connor as Michigan State’s starting quarterback. When asked about the quarterback situation, Dantonio said there is no quarterback controversy but that there doesn’t mean there can’t be one.
O’Connor was 18-for-38 for 224 yards and three interceptions in the 30-6 loss to Wisconsin. It was the first loss by the Spartans in the four games O’Connor has started in his career.
Redshirt freshman Brian Lewerke came in and was 2-for-4 for 26 yards on the final drive of the game as the Spartans got down to the Wisconsin 9.
Dantonio was also asked about his post-game response to some of his players holding a silent protest during the national anthem by raising a fist during the song. He reiterated that it is a subject he, the coaching staff and players have been discussing for the past three-to-four weeks.
“I felt like I was asked a question and I needed to respond,” said Dantonio. “I responded as a patriot.”