East Lansing, MI – Michigan State football is in a rebuild; it shouldn't come as a surprise considering where the team ended up in Mark Dantonio's final two years.
And being shutout at home for the first time since 1985 while scoring seven points in two contests screams something isn't right.
However, Mel Tucker has been here quite a few times in his 23-year coaching career.
"I think this might be the ninth time that I've been a part of a first-year staff; first-year of a program going back to high school … there's a lot of similarities. So, I know what to expect, and there's a process in place," Tucker told reporters during a videoconference. "I don't accept it, but I understand what's happening."
He's not surprised by much; the 25th head football coach in MSU history realizes how difficult year-one can be; not to mention hard to accept.
"There's going to be some very, very disappointing times. There's going to be some frustrating times. There's going to be some times when you are totally outraged. But there's going to be times when you can see things are taking hold," said Tucker. "You are always looking for the small victories … that everyone else doesn't see. Those are things we're working to build upon."
Oddly enough, he enjoys the process because there's no better feeling than seeing your team turn the corner and become successful.
"Everyone doesn't have the stomach for it," he said. "I happen to have the stomach for it … I do see the bright spots. In my world, there's nothing worse than losing a football game. Those things are unacceptable to me even though I understand what goes into winning and losing."
Winning takes time and loads of "consistency in performance;" it doesn't happen overnight – Tucker intends on recruiting and implementing a culture shift that allows his team to progress, but with that comes little wiggle room.
"The goal is not to be able to just win some games and beat mediocre teams. The goal is to build a program where you can beat really good teams, which gives you an opportunity to win your conference and get into the playoffs ... that's part of the process," said Tucker. "It is painful at times, but it's also very gratifying at times. This is what we're built for; this is what we're built to do."
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