EAST LANSING, Mich. Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio did his best to create a truce with arch-rival Michigan at his Tuesday press conference.
However, the Twitter denigration of Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson by several Spartans will go down as the first shots fired in anticipation of the Oct. 20 clash between the two schools on Oct. 20 in Ann Arbor.
Several of his Spartans issued critical tweets over the weekend in regard to Michigans 41-14 drubbing by Alabama Saturday night. Dantonio said his players need to keep their mouths shut in regard to such public commentary.
Ill address that with the football team, Dantonio said. I think it's disrespectful. I don't think that's something that we should be doing, so I'll deal with that on my end.
"But the credit goes to the person in the arena. That's the way I look at things. Michigan has a tremendous football storied tradition. I didn't see much different when we played the University of Alabama a couple years ago; it's tough.
The Crimson Tide rolled on the Spartans, 49-7, in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1, 2011 in Orlando, Fla. MSU had minus-48 yards rushing in that game.
Our guys need to keep their mouths shut, Dantonio said. Is that blunt enough? OK, I'm sure that will make headline news, especially (coming from) those that aren't even playing.
A sampling of the MSU player tweets:
Starting linebacker Denicos Allen: Is this guy (Robinson) really a QB. Ill say my mans @TommyVento16 is a better QB lol.
Vento is a walk-on quarterback from Farmington Hills Harrison.
Returner and reserve running back Nick Hill on Robinsons 71-yard pass to Jeremy Gallon: Even a blind squirrel can get a nut ever(y) once in awhile
Reserve linebacker Jamal Lyles: I can play quarterback for the school in blue.
Safety Kyle Artinian: Bama why are you such a bully!? Let them get maybe a yard
Dantonio was asked if he could tell his players to shut off their Twitter accounts.
Shut your account off? Dantonio said, rhetorically. I didn't know there was such a thing. Is there a shut-your-account-off that I can just throw a switch? I don't think there is. It's America. But there are consequences that go along with that. I'm not going to say there's not free speech in our program, but I think that I'll say what I've said all along: You can't be prideful. You need to approach this game with humility.
When it becomes personal, that crosses the line. So, again, shouldn't have to be talking about this. So there will be another message.
Spartans quarterback Andrew Maxwell, who has a Twitter account but did not partake in the Wolverine bashing, said Dantonio has addressed the topic with the team before.
But we had a couple of instances of poor judgment, Maxwell said. "We have to exercise a little better judgment.
Maxwell said he uses Twitter to communicate with friends but isnt much for using it for commentary.
I can never think of anything good to say, he said.
Dantonio probably wishes several of Maxwells teammates would have followed his example.
However, the cats out of the bag and the bulletin board quotes are sure to get plenty of play in Ann Arbor.