Go Inside Spartan Football Internet Meetings with Scottie Hazelton

Hondo S. Carpenter

East Lansing, MI—Michigan State defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton has had to navigate through many things in his illustrious career. But none like the COVID-19 safety protocols. Hazelton discussed running his defense and meeting with coaches and players over the internet. His answer was a rare but fantastic glimpse into how this pandemic has impacted college sports.

“Right now, it’s a little bit of each. Antjuan Simmons, I FaceTimed with him and when we talked about his dog and his life and where he comes from and all those kind of things. Or you get on a phone call with Shak (Shakur Brown) or X (Xavier Henderson), you’re just getting to know them, and I think for us as a defense right now, that’s as valuable as anything, just building a relationship where I can say a joke about somebody in a unit meeting, and it makes sense. Or you can get to know who people are, and hopefully, when this calms down, you can start to have them over to your house more and get them to know your family. Because I think that’s important for them to see where you come from, and you want to be able to figure out where they come from. So, that would be some of the one-on-ones.”


He elaborated, “I mean we’ve done unit meetings where we’ve had, you know, 56 people all on the same video deal and that’s more overview. Hey, here’s the defense we’re installing today, here are the strengths to it, here’s why we call it, here are the weaknesses to it, this is the issues with it.”


He concluded by saying, “And when you jump into things we’re jumping into a position meeting, then it’s a little bit of both, you’re jumping in, and sometimes coaches are doing the same thing. Just kind of talking through like, Hey, what are your goals, what are you looking for, how’s the weightlifting going during this time, do you have a place to work out, are you eating. I like to be in those too, just to be able to get to know the guys a little bit better, like you’re spying on them a little bit, you kind of feel like you’re not the same room, but you’re learning the guy. And then it goes to teaching X’s and O’s, watching tape, watching technique, watching the scheme and trying to get them to learn it, really some of those end up being like a phase one OTA in the NFL, where you can’t go on the field. Still, you can install a scheme and talk technique and talk what assignments are and things like that, and the guys are learning that. And we just got to keep reviewing it, keep watching tape, because that’s the basis of all the football and communication, the techniques that you use. But right now, this is what we’re doing, and it’s been, like I said, it’s been pretty positive for us.”

The Spartans kick off the season on September 5, 2020. They will be hosting in the Northwestern Wildcats with a rare, season-opening Big Ten game.

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