Michigan State Football: What to expect from Mel Tucker’s first season

Mel Tucker, Michigan State football (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Mel Tucker, Michigan State football (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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Michigan State football
Mel Tucker, Michigan State football (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

A new coaching staff, a new look

Under Mark Dantonio, the Spartans’ identity was a rough-and-tough, slug-it-out football team. They wore down opponents and made them play at their pace. Needless to say, as other teams in the Big Ten changed their game plans, Dantonio didn’t, and it cost him quite a few wins in his last few seasons.

Mel Tucker understands that a conservative offensive style doesn’t win in today’s college football. It’s going to be a long road ahead, but he and the offensive staff are going to update and modernize the Spartans’ offense.

Offensive coordinator Jay Johnson has stated that he wants to run a multiple offense, which is a far cry from a Big 12 spread offense, but it should be progress from what Dantonio ran. Expect fewer runs on first and second down, and potentially a higher usage of a tight end, especially in the red zone, a weak point of the Spartans’ offense recently.

The run game isn’t going away completely, that would be unrealistic and Elijah Collins is too good of a running back to minimize his role. However, the days of bell-cow backs are coming to an end, especially in East Lansing Don’t expect run game coordinator Chris Kapilovic to get Collins 40 touches a game, but instead implement a zone blocking scheme and involve him more in the passing game. Also it wouldn’t be surprising to see speed back Anthony Williams Jr. get more involved in the offense this season.

We don’t know what the offense will look like, but it should look different from what we had to sit through in the last three seasons.


Mel Tucker has not had enough time to put together the team he would have liked amid COVID-19 concerns and a tumultuous postponement process. It doesn’t look likely that Tucker’s first year is going to be pretty, and it definitely won’t be successful record-wise. But as long as his new system shows flashes of working, there should be optimism that it will work in the future when things are much more normal.

Tucker has an exciting 2021 recruiting class coming in, and once those guys get situated as Spartans, we could possibly see the rebirth of Michigan State football as we knew it from 2010-15, with the potential to be even better.

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