Mel Tucker focused on moving forward with fall sports season postponed


Mel Tucker/Photo: MSU Athletic Communications

Brian Goldsmith, General Assignment Reporter

EAST LANSING- Michigan State Football Coach Mel Tucker held a press conference Friday to address the concerns of the upcoming fall football season which was canceled by the Big Ten on Tuesday. 

Despite having more time on his hands this fall, Tucker said he’ll have plenty of business to take care of this fall,  including  Zoom press conferences and recruiting. The pandemic has provided Tucker and company the opportunity to engage in some special projects both on the recruiting trail and inside the weight room. According to Tucker, it will be vital to focus quite hard on recruiting, especially considering that some high schools may not have football at all this season. 

Even though Tucker joined the Spartans in February, he’s had very little face-to-face time with the team. Since the coronavirus pandemic exploded across the country, Coach Tucker said “a lot of our time has been spent on zoom.” 

“We used the opportunity during the stay-at-home order to work on our culture and talk about our process and connect with our players, said Tucker.” “Even though we weren’t able to see them face to face as much as we would have liked, we’ve still been able to connect and build the culture. 

Tucker and the Michigan State coaching staff saw that the Zoom meetings provided the opportunity for the players to really get an in-depth understanding of the new system that is being installed on both sides of the ball. According to Tucker, since on-field instruction time has been quite limited, the coaching staff had the opportunity to slow down and really explain the minute details from a schematics standpoint.  When the Spartans finally got the chance to engage in some on-field instruction, minimal time was spent rehashing details over the playbook. 

Prior to voluntary team workouts being postponed due to a staff member testing positive on July 22, the team was practicing in helmets and shorts.  The 14-day isolation period was lifted on Aug., 5. 

“Football’s a contact and collision sport. So those are some things we’ll have to evaluate about our players and our team. However, there certainly are some things the team will need to implement when putting on the pads, most notably “our level of physicality. When it’s safe and when the time is right, we’ll put the pads back on, and we’ll be able to find out, said Tucker.”

An important focus in the fall for the Spartans will be focused on building a culture of accountability and respect.

“There’s a lot of different ways, and I talked to our players about that during the practices that we had, said Tucker. Technique and fundamentals, all those things are part of how we operate day-to-day. When we’re at the cafeteria, saying yes, please, and thank you, that’s all part of the culture. And how we study tape, how we take notes in meetings, how we walk through, attention to detail, organization, sense of urgency those are all things that can be worked on a day-to-day basis, and we’re doing that.