Michigan State Football Defensive Coordinator Scottie Hazelton Talks Spartans
Hondo S. Carpenter
East Lansing, MI— When Mel Tucker hired Scottie Hazelton away from Kansas State to be his new defensive coordinator, it may have had some in the Spartan Nation asking, “Who?” But I can assure you to those knowledgeable of the game of football around the nation; it got immediate attention.
There has not been a hotter name of a rising star on the defensive side of the ball since Pat Narduzzi was at Michigan State, and Texas A&M rolled up with a Brinks truck to try to hire him away from the Spartans.
Spartan Nation is well aware of when Mark Dantonio’s team would get stale mid-season, he would say that you can’t make significant changes mid-season. Well, Hazelton has. In big games.
Last year when the Wildcats took on a heavily favored Oklahoma Sooners, Hazelton during the game week made massive structural changes to his scheme and personally helped the Wildcats garner the upset. I asked him about his unusual, aggressive, and quick-adjust style.
He told me, “I think that that’s something that you have to build into the philosophy of your defense as you go through and build the defense. Really it’s about finding out what things are going to work in the league for you and as you go through and are having your film study. Having one or two things that you can depend on and then if you need to change some things, you do that during the season to make things fit, and really, really that came about, a little bit because of the match-ups that we faced, with corners versus their receivers, so we had to kind of change some things, just try to slow the game down as best we could.”
Mel Tucker has made all of the right moves since coming to East Lansing, and Hazelton could be the biggest. By bringing in a rising star, Tucker showed the nation he isn’t about ego, he is about winning. If Hazelton’s resume is any indicator? He feels the same.
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