East Lansing, MI – Twenty-five years ago, Nick Saban walked into Spartan Stadium for his head coaching debut and got blown out by Nebraska, 50-10.
Granted, the Cornhuskers weren't Rutgers.
Nebraska, a perennial powerhouse in 1995, finished No. 1 in the AP and Coaches polls, went undefeated, and was named national champs – unlike the Scarlet Knights who came to East Lansing having lost 21-straight conference games.
Still, Saban knows how Mel Tucker is feeling following the 38-27 home-opening loss.
Naturally, the fanbase wasn't happy, and with Michigan up next, he needs to find a way to right the ship.
Saban believes Tucker will do just that.
"Mel is a very capable guy," said Saban. "He did an outstanding job for us when he was with us, and I think has done a really good job, wherever he's been, in whatever his responsibility has been."
Tucker's no stranger to competing against the Wolverines; as a defensive back for Wisconsin, he walked out of Ann Arbor with a victory in 1994 and finished 3-1 during his tenure as an assistant coach for Ohio State.
However, neither Spartan team he helped coach (1997-98) defeated their rival.
And on Saturday, he'll attempt to do what his old mentor did; beat Michigan in his first try; becoming the second coach ever to do so.
But it's all a process.
"We'll learn from it. We've got a young football team that's bought in and is eager, that's motivated and wants to do well. We've done some good things," Tucker said. "And this is a week to get some things cleaned up and improve. I believe that you typically make your most improvement from Game 1 to Game 2, and that's really where our focus is."
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