East Lansing, MI – Redshirt junior Shakur Brown is enjoying the new defensive system implemented by Scottie Hazelton – and didn't have a problem with switching positions.
"The nickel spot, it's for an elite playmaker. I really love the nickel, but I'll fill in the role wherever I'm needed," Brown told reporters last week.
He would do just that on Saturday vs. Indiana, playing without Chris Jackson (for the second straight week), Kalon Gervin, and Tre Person; the Spartans weren't completely healthy.
With a good chunk of its secondary missing, Brown moved to corner alongside Dominique Long.
At the same time, Angelo Grose managed the nickel spot with Xavier Henderson and Michael Dowell, bringing up the rear.
It wasn't an ideal situation for Michigan State, who prepared to face Michael Penix Jr., a top quarterback in the Big Ten.
Even in a shutout, Brown was a bright spot for the MSU secondary, finishing with six tackles (five solo, one assisted), two interceptions, and majority of the time looked good in coverage.
"He's a talented young man," Mel Tucker said during the postgame presser. "There are things that he needs to do to get better to improve. We've been working on those things. He's been working on those things. His approach to the game – when you do that, and you improve … at that position, you are going to get an opportunity to make plays."
But while Brown played better than most in a 24-0 loss, he wasn't without mistakes. He and many other defenders allowed a routine wide receiver screen to go for a touchdown because of weak arm tackles.
And later on, he allowed IU wideout Ty Fryfogle to get behind him, resulting in a 65-yard score for the Hoosiers.
His new head coach eluded to those mistakes when asked about Brown's performance.
"You have to be very, very efficient because at a corner position especially, or the safety position you might only be at the point of attack seven or eight times in a game – when it really matters," said Tucker. "If you give up a play, is that a winning performance or not? Has he made strides? Yes. Does he need to continue to make strides in technique and fundamentals? Yes."
Tell us what you think in the comment section below.
Want the latest breaking MSU news delivered straight to your email for FREE? Sign up for the DAILY Spartan Nation newsletter when you CLICK THE MAGAZINE ICON at the top left of the page or the FOLLOW button back on the main page. Don't miss any of the latest up to the second updates on Michigan State Sports when you follow on Twitter @HondoCarpenter @McLainGrant1