by Steve Grinczel | Commentary
Monday August 04, 2008, 5:57 PM
EAST LANSING -- The first day of Michigan State football practice Monday provided the opportunity to get an unofficial sneak peak at the new Spartan football headquarters, which can be described in one word -- dazzling.

There is still a lot of fit and finish work to be completed before the major donors who made it possible -- such as Bob and Julie Skandalaris and the Demmer family of Lansing -- get a formal private tour prior to the facility being officially unveiled Aug. 21.

But, the mobile homes that serves as coaches' offices have been removed from the end zone from the indoor practice facility.

"We're in the new facility and it's outstanding," head coach Mark Dantonio said before the afternoon practice. "The Skandarlaris center is amazing. We got in there as a football team (Sunday) night. It's a special place. Very nice."

There's plenty for a enterprising snoop to see from a distance to make that the understatement of the football season, so far.

The wall featuring full-size, half-replicas of all 32 NFL teams, with every Spartan who ever played for each team listed, is stunning, as is the detail work. The floor is laid out in 5-yard segments with inlaid white marble tile depicting each yard line. And, there are inlaid hashmarks for every yard -- but don't ask me how many yards the floor runs, yet.

The outside wall of the elevator shaft is shaped like a football and there's a meeting room that the entire team can fit into, only to have a wall magically appearing down center to separate defense from offense for unit meetings.

Large replicas of the ancient Spartan helmet silhouette, which appears on each side of each MSU football helmet, hang above the corridor that is bathed in light from the expansive glass roof. That trademarked symbol is saying Michigan State more and more, just as the burnt orange longhorn shouts "University of Texas" with nary a word or letter.

That's about all I got from my glimpse; there's much more to see and talk about.