It’s not often that the media gets to speak to the most criticized non-head coach on the team after a demoralizing loss, but the weekly rotation just made it work out that way for Michigan State football.
Scottie Hazelton was due up to talk to the media on Tuesday after Jay Johnson spoke a week ago after the Washington loss.
After a second straight loss in which Hazelton’s side of the ball looked inept, he was grilled by the media and his answers actually leave more questions than I would have hoped for.
Let’s dive into some of the answers to his media availability questions.
Michigan State football’s defense ‘not super far away’?
One of the quotes that really had me scratching my head was this one:
How can he possibly think that the defense isn’t that far away after giving up back-to-back monster games offensively to Washington and Minnesota? The defense was torched each game for 500-plus yards and Tanner Morgan had one of the best games of his career through the air — same actually goes for Michael Penix Jr.
Not that far away would mean that the defense showed some flashes in those games but it didn’t force a single punt against Minnesota. That’s not exactly what I’d call a defense that’s not ‘super far away’ from fixing things. This defense has shown very little promise.
And the injuries aren’t helping with Khris Bogle, Jacob Slade, Simeon Barrow, Jeff Pietrowski, Xavier Henderson, and Darius Snow all going down this year.
So despite Mel Tucker saying there needed to be some personnel changes this year, Hazelton doesn’t believe personnel is an issue? There’s some sort of disconnect or miscommunication happening.
Even more confusing.
This I can understand and I do agree with. Henderson was the leader of the defense and not having him to kind of quarterback things out there is tough on the unit as a whole. But we can’t use this as an excuse as to why the entire unit looks lost.
Hazelton should use the rest of the season as an opportunity to prove he’s the right guy for the job but if we keep seeing teams pass for 300-plus yards because players say they weren’t expecting a pass-heavy attack, he has to go.
I don’t believe in making these move mid-year, but the rest of the season should be an audition, of sorts, for him.