I think Mel Tucker would be very disappointed in a lot of Michigan State football fans this week. He came to Michigan State in 2020 with catch phrases like “relentless” and “it takes what it takes” and my personal favorite, “keep choppin.'” It might be cheesy on surface, especially making the chopping motion down 23 points in the first half. But what it means to me has been a constant reminder of what one can achieve if you don’t give up.
Yes, the Michigan State football team faced some adversity on Sunday, and all I hear is that the season is over. It’s April. Does it sting that we lost our best receiver? Yes. But last I checked, he wasn’t a Biletnikoff Award winner. Jordan Addison was when he left Pittsburgh. The Panthers also lost a Heisman finalist quarterback in Kenny Pickett. Did Pat Narduzzi do the “awe shucks” routine and fold up the program? They went 9-4 last year. No excuses. Keep choppin’.
At first sight, the news was shocking. While we all wanted Payton Thorne to transfer at the end of last season, we all thought it would be to go play at Western with his father, not a high-end SEC school.
The Keon Coleman news was the one that blindsided everyone, including some players. But should it really come as a surprise that the best player on a 5-7 team has his own self-interests in mind? He’s given this program some good memories, but there were clearly chemistry issues with Thorne early last season and that’s after the team had to pony up the dough to convince him to stay.
I like that there isn’t a whole lot of bashing Coleman’s character on social media, but to act like a third-team (media) All-Big Ten selection’s absence is going to account for four more wins is extremely disrespectful for the other 100 kids on this team working towards the same goal. Coleman may have been the best receiver on the team, but like coach Herb Brooks said in Miracle, “I’m not looking for the best players, I’m looking for the right ones.”
I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong.
We all know the story of Connor Cook going up to Mark Dantonio in 2015 and saying, “My shoulder is too injured to help this team beat OSU in Columbus.” Then Dantonio telling the whole squad, “Sorry guys, one player can’t be on the field so there’s no point in playing this game. They have all the best players including five first-round NFL draft picks. I know this is the first time anyone has ever faced adversity so we can play this game if you want to, but the most important thing today is that everyone has fun.” Plot twist: that didn’t happen.
The right players made the right plays and beat arguably Urban Meyer’s most talented team with two back up quarterbacks. They made no excuses. They kept choppin’.
My focus will not be on who isn’t on this roster. There is only one person that decides where Keon Coleman ultimately plays, and it is Keon Coleman.
There are plenty of other receivers itching to get a chance to shock the world and it wouldn’t be the first time unless someone can provide evidence that they predicted that Tony Lippett and Aaron Burbridge would win back-to-back Big Ten Receiver of the Year awards.
The Spartans do their best work as underdogs so kept doubting them, keep telling them that Tucker has “lost control of the program” (even though he’s bringing in MSU’s best recruiting class by star average since peak Dantonio) and keep spewing hot takes on the cesspool that is Twitter. Mel and the Spartans aren’t going to make excuses, they’ll keep choppin’.