East Lansing, MI— Mel Tucker has earned every penny he has been paid in his new contract with Michigan State since arriving.
Recruiting is on fire, and the program has a buzz around the state that is resonating across the nation. Once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, and the Spartans can travel the country, it will take off.
One area that isn't getting a lot of attention is how diverse Tucker was in hiring staff. He brought in a team of coaches with backgrounds tied to some of the biggest giants in college football history. Men like Jim Tressel and Nick Saban have branches of their coaching tree sprouting in East Lansing.
Harlon Barnett discussed having a mutual background with Tucker, whose roots extend to Nick Saban and how it is has helped him adapt to Mel Tucker quickly. "I think it helps a lot because a lot of us speak the same language, have the same type of work ethic. Scottie hasn't been under that tree, and that was a little, I think, I don't want to get in Coach Tucker's head, but on purpose, a little bit is that just learning another way to do things. Scottie comes from under that Gus Bradley deal, Monte Kiffin deal defense. We were all interested in learning that scheme anyway; the legion of boom stuff. Kind of learning that along with what Coach Tucker brings to the table and what he's done and his past. We've got a lot of defensive minds on the staff, and hopefully, it will translate onto the field; it will, and our guys are going to play fast, physical and aggressive."
The diverse coaching backgrounds of the staff aren't just limited to Jim Tressel and Nick Saban. William Peagler is the Spartans running back coach, and he comes from the Dabo Swinney tree at Clemson. I asked him about what he learned from Swinney that he could use here in East Lansing.
"I got to witness the transition from Coach Bowden to Coach Swinney. My last year was Coach Swinney's first year as the head football coach. He was the receivers coach, and I knew him obviously in that role. Probably the number one thing I learned from Coach Swinney is to be true to who you are. You watch him publicly; what you see is truly what you get. A lot of coaches, I feel like, kind of try to put out a facade of something that they are not. But he's very truthful and when he says family he means it. I mean, I think he coached his kids' little league team when I was there. Two of his kids are playing football there now. But the best thing I learned from Coach Swinney is to be true to who you are and to get to know the people involved at all levels. People talk about relationships, but you have to build a relationship. It starts even in the recruiting process; a lot of times, once kids sign with you, the relationships stop, and it shouldn't. That's whenever you should expand the relationship even more. Probably again, going back to Coach Swinney, the thing I've learned the most is relationships matter and be true to who you are."
Tell us what you think about the Spartans' diverse coaching backgrounds in the comment section below.
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