Mel Tucker On Michigan vs Michigan State Rivalry
Mel Tucker spoke out on the Michigan vs Michigan State rivalry recently.
Just days after leaving Colorado to take over for Mark Dantonio as coach of the Spartans, Tucker was asked about the Wolverines.
As someone who has had a lot of experience with Michigan State over the last few decades, Tucker was well equipped to give the matter the thoughtful response it deserved.
“It’s different,” he said.
“The Michigan game is not just another game. That’s something we embrace. I don’t believe in down-playing expectations. That’s useless. Michigan State-Michigan is different.”
Michigan State hired away Tucker this past Wednesday after Dantonio abruptly quit last week.
The timing of Dantonio’s decision was very suspect.
In January, he received a massive payment from the school simply for still being employed that month. Shortly after getting that payment, he skipped town.
For what it is worth, Dantonio believes that Tucker is a great hire for the Spartans.
“I first came in contact with Mel when he was the graduate assistant here at Michigan State for Coach Saban,” he said.
“He did an outstanding job with the defensive backs. When I went to Ohio State to work for Coach Tressel, he asked me who should coach the secondary, and I immediately thought of Mel.
“He was a part of the national championship staff and has gone on to coach at the highest levels of football,” he continued.
“I first came in contact with Mel when he was the graduate assistant here at Michigan State for Coach Saban. He did an outstanding job with the defensive backs.
“When I went to Ohio State to work for Coach Tressel, he asked me who should coach the secondary, and I immediately thought of Mel. He was a part of the national championship staff and has gone on to coach at the highest levels of football.”
While Tucker was no doubt thrilled to have Dantonio’s stamp of approval, it did not persuade him to retain any of the old head coach’s staff.
According to multiple reports, Tucker has no plans to retain the members of Dantonio’s previous coaching staff.
Among the coaches getting the boot are: Defensive coordinator Mike Tressel, Defensive backs coach Paul Haynes, Defensive ends coach Chuck Bullough, Offensive coordinator Brad Salem, Quarterbacks coach Dave Warner, Offensive line coach Jim Bollman, Wide receivers coach Don Treadwell, and Tight ends coach Mark Staten.
Dantonio officially became Michigan State’s winningest coach back in September of last year. Over the course of his time with the program he amassed a record of 114-57 and three conference totals.
Tucker is fresh off a one-year stint with Colorado that saw him go 5-7, the same record his predecessor put up in his final year.
It remains to be seen what sort impact Tucker will have on Michigan State, but clearly he is excited to shape the program in his vision.
“It is a blessing and honor to return to Michigan State University where I began my coaching career with Nick Saban,” Tucker said in the statement after being hired.
“Returning home to Michigan State is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me and my family but it created the toughest decision of my life, to leave Colorado.”
Colorado has yet to announce who they will ultimately hire to fill the vacancy left behind by Tucker.
Former USC head coach Steve Sarkisian has been suggested as a potential candidate, but it remains to be seen how viable he truly is.
A final decision on who will be the next Colorado coach is expected within the next few weeks.