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Michigan State is looking to improve off an 11-2 season in 2021, with the in-house expectations set at being 1-0 every week and winning championships.

While the Spartans return five starters on offense and eight on defense, they lost a lot of production from the 2021 squad. However, the lost production doesn’t concern head coach Mel Tucker. One of his largest priorities this offseason was leadership, and returning starting quarterback Payton Thorne has answered the bell.

“This year, we feel like we have a very good team again,” Thorne said. “we’re taking the next step with our intensity, with our attention to detail, with our consistency.

“11-2, for many people on the outside, they think that’s a good year. But, for us, and the standard we want to hold ourselves to and where we want to get as a program – that’s not good enough. Our goal is to win every game on our schedule, and then get to Indianapolis, win that and then play for the national championship.”

Thorne’s teammates have taken notice of the added emphasis their quarterback has placed on leadership.

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“Payton was already a confident person, but now it’s even higher,” said wide receiver Tre Mosley. “Which is good because as the quarterback you need to be a vocal leader, you need to lead by example and your teammates need to believe everything you say.”

Michigan State fans know the chemistry between Payton Thorne and wide receiver Jayden Reed, who played with each other in high school and before reuniting at Michigan State. But what has become apparent so far in camp is the chemistry between Thorne and the other Spartan receivers, such as Mosley, Keon Coleman and transfer tight end Daniel Barker.

Coleman has also been talked about highly in fall camp, and deservingly so. His pure speed paired with his wide frame will be a mismatch for most Big Ten cornerbacks. Coleman’s talent and athleticism will help Thorne in situations that other receivers couldn’t last season. True freshman wide-out Germie Bernard has caught the eye of Tucker and other prominent players as well.

The connection between Thorne and Mosley was solid last season, but wasn’t noticed as much until late in the year when Michigan State was without Jalen Nailor. This year, that Thorne-Mosley connection should be on full display, and the passing game should improve as a whole.

“Knowing that your leader of the team is someone who is going to do everything they can for the team to win, and is going to put guys before him, goes a long way,” Mosley added, referring to Thorne.

While the loss of Nailor to the NFL was significant, the Spartans have the weapons at receiver to be even more potent in their passing attack than in 2021.