EAST LANSING- Michigan State coach Mel Tucker is confident in the chances that MSU will travel to Maryland and take on the Terrapins this weekend. Maryland has had to shut down all football activities for the past week and was unable to play last weekend against Ohio State due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the Terrapins’ football team.
“From everything that I have been told, they are trying to play so we are preparing to play,” Tucker said. “I know they want to play, I talked to (Maryland coach Mike Locksley) this morning and we had a long talk, and I know they want to play so we are prepared to play.”
In a press release on Monday, the Maryland athletic department stated that Maryland will not make a decision about the status of Saturday’s game until the results of the final tests this week are returned and show no further spread of COVID-19 within the team.
Tucker said that the constant changes and updates to the season have not caught him or the team by surprise, and they are prepared for any outcome that may arise due to the pandemic. Tucker said that he was able to recognize the challenges presented by the virus to the football season and his team, and he did the best to prepare the team for the unique challenge of navigating the season with the ongoing pandemic.
“There (haven’t) been any real surprises,” Tucker said, “they are just challenges. We have to adjust, we have to adapt and we have to do what we can do within the parameters and the protocols that we have. I really don’t believe in making excuses for things, I can’t go there.”
Tucker was quick to rule out the lack of practice with the team in the preseason as a reason for the team’s struggles through the first four games of 2020. Tucker said that he believes that the team has the ability to play turnover-free and complimentary football, and that the team needs to execute better to get the best results on the field.
“We need to work on our technique and fundamentals, and play more physically,” Tucker said, “and if we do that, I believe we will have more success. That’s with all of the COVID, no spring ball, no offseason conditioning program and playing young guys in mind. With all that being said, I still expect us to play better.”
The uncertainty of Saturday’s game in Maryland is yet another hurdle for MSU and Mel Tucker during a tumultuous first season for the new coach. Tucker said that the team will be prepared to play and is not fazed by another potential setback to the season, but no one will know how the team responds until they are able to take the field again, whether it’s this weekend against Maryland or the following week against Northwestern.
Jared Ramsey is a football beat reporter for WDBM Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @jared_ramsey22.