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Michigan State head football coach Mel Tucker is taking a mentality of accountability and repetition into his second season. According to Tucker, winning football is no different than success in any endeavor: learn what works, learn why it works, and then repeat it over and over. He said the team is looking forward to building on 2020’s lackluster 2-5 COVID-riddled performance.
“We’ve never made any excuses, ever,” Tucker said. “No excuses and no explanations for what happened last season. We evaluated it, and then we owned it, and then we moved forward. What we have to become is consciously competent. That’s how we want to get the consistency and performance that we need to be successful. And what that means is that we execute behaviors that lead to positive outcomes and then understand the why.”
Tucker continued, “a year ago, we would have some success, but quite frankly, I don’t think we understood the ‘why’ as to what was happening, and so it was not repeatable. Once you understand that, you can repeat it.”
Tucker made it clear that he thinks repeatable success begins with leadership in the locker room—players holding each other accountable, as well as themselves. He said he only wants players on the team who are willing to compete an raise the level of performance for everyone involved.
“You’re only as strong as your weakest link and we want to develop our roster from the bottom up. We need as many guys to get ready to play as possible. We feel like overall we have a more talented and a deeper and more competitive roster.”
The Spartans certainly have a lot of new faces (34 in total from last season), many of which came via the transfer portal. Tucker said he set up Michigan State’s personnel department much like an NFL front office, with staffers constantly monitoring all avenues of acquiring talent; though he admitted Michigan-based high school recruiting is the long-term goal.
For now, Sparty will keep rebuilding with what they have, however they managed to get it, as the coaches try to fundamentally change a culture that had started to slip as of late. Tucker said he is excited about his ragtag collection of guys coming together so quickly as a unit.
“At this point, I feel like we have a team. It’s not just a collection of players, but it’s a team that is united, are ready to prove themselves and get it done in fall camp. Only time will tell how good we’ll be. But our goal is to be the best versions of ourselves.”