Mike Tressel, Harlon Barnett the Michigan State Secondary

Hondo S. Carpenter

East Lansing, Mich—Harlon Barnett, and Mike Tressel both came to Michigan State Spartan football with Mark Dantonio as position coaches. They both ascended to being defensive coordinators in East Lansing as well. But now that Mel Tucker is here, Barnett will coach cornerbacks and Tressel safties, and Tressel broke down the dynamic of that for us.

“Well, I really think there’s a huge difference in terms of focus on technique, focus on the details. There’s no doubt when one person’s running four different people, four different positions, regardless if it’s defensive backs or whether it’s the linebackers, there’s times when certain guys are just sitting there listening, trying to stay locked in. They’re focused on another position,” Tressel says. “Now, we’re able to stay focused a lot more, there’s a lot more attention, a lot more detail to each guy. Really though, we are one unit, so the biggest thing is going to be the strategy of when we’re together when we’re apart, making sure our guys still communicate. 

“I know the ‘No Fly Zone’ wants to put themselves as one position group still, and that’s how Harlon (Barnett) and I want them to look at themselves too. They’re still one position group, but we have the opportunity for them to focus on their craft a little bit more.”

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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