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Mark Dantonio Says He Turned Down HBO's 'Hard Knocks' - 'I Want Us To Be Us'

By Ashley Scoby

It's probably safe to say a program has made it when it can turn down the attention of HBO.

According to Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio, HBO's "Hard Knocks" offered to film an all-access show about Spartans football this season. The NFL version of Hard Knocks follows a particular team for the entire preseason and gives behind-the-scenes access to meetings, practices and conversations that casual NFL fans aren't privy to. Teams that have been featured on the show include the Cowboys, Bengals, Ravens and this year's Texans.

But having trucks of cameras land in East Lansing wasn't what Dantonio wanted during a season where Michigan State – currently ranked No. 2 in the country – has a solid chance to make the college football playoff.

"I sort of passed on that because I didn't really want to put ourselves in that situation," he said. "I think it's a good show. I've watched it and I think it's well done. But we just passed on it right now because I want our players to concentrate on what we have to do here and not on a camera, and I want us to be us."

ESPN has done all-access type shows for college teams before, including for Ohio State football and Kentucky basketball. The shows could be considered a delicate balancing act between a recruiting tool and a distraction.

"Maybe in the future," Dantonio said of the possibility of allowing all-access cameras into the program. "But I just didn't feel like that was something that we should do right now. Our success we've had here recently warranted that opportunity, but that's what we decided to do because basically, we get enough press, I felt."

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