Michigan State Football: Mel Tucker gives thoughts on Michigan rivalry

Mel Tucker, Michigan State football coach (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Mel Tucker, Michigan State football coach (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

New Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker was asked to speak about the Michigan rivalry and his answer is just what Spartan fans want to hear.

Michigan State fans knew this day would come. Mark Dantonio has retired as head coach, handing the keys to the program to a first-year head coach and there has been some worry about the future of the program, especially pertaining to the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry.

Dantonio took the rivalry very seriously. He didn’t treat it like any other game and quotes even came out from current and former players who admitted Dantonio was a different animal during Hate Week and found a way to fire his guys up — that led to an 8-5 record vs. his top rival.

So how would Mel Tucker treat the rivalry despite not being at Michigan State since he was a grad assistant in 1997-98? His take on the rivalry should put MSU fans at ease.

This quote is exactly why faith has been restored in the football program after a couple of years of letdowns. Tucker knows what it takes to win over the fanbase and he’s done so rapidly.

Tucker brings with him an intense attitude and he’s openly admitting that Michigan vs. Michigan State is not just another game. He doesn’t believe in down-playing expectations, calling that useless, and the fact that he says Michigan State vs. Michigan is just different is exactly what fans need to hear. They don’t want to hear coach-speak about the rivalry being just another game and one that the program will treat the same as the rest. No, this was the perfect answer.

Does Tucker bring some of that hatred of Michigan over from his time as an Ohio State assistant coach or Michigan State grad assistant or even a Wisconsin player? It’s very possible, but whatever has instilled that mindset deserves all the credit.

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No more worry about the Michigan game being treated lightly post-Dantonio because Tucker seems to have that same fire and intensity that the Michigan State job requires to beat the Wolverines.