East Lansing, MI – Michigan State will kick off its 124th season of football and usher in the Mel Tucker era against Rutgers on Saturday, October 24, at noon.
However, they will do so without 75,005 MSU fans.
To counteract playing a game devoid of people, Tucker took his team inside Spartan Stadium to scrimmage twice and host a mock game.
"We've used noise at the levels which the Big Ten is going to allow, and we've also played music," Tucker said.
He spoke about self-motivation and creating momentum as a team, but Michigan State isn't interested in using props or a turnover chain as a means of getting players pumped up.
The Spartans plan on keeping it simple, senior linebacker Antjuan Simmons said as much.
He was quick to say no before chuckling and following it up with "meat and potatoes."
"No extra stuff," Simmons said. "None of the glitz and glamour. None of that. We just want to show up, play, and leave with wins. That's the goal. That's what Coach Tuck wants this program to be.
"None of the lights, camera-flash stuff. None of that."
In the words of the 6-foot-0, 225-pound linebacker, it's something Michigan State prides itself on.
"Coaches have been talking to us about what has been going on so far with games throughout the country. You'll see teams come out in the first half, and they might play really good," said Simmons. "Then in the second half, they come out flat, and that team is able to claw their way back into it."
By staying locked in, focusing on the details, being physically and mentally tough, sticking to the fundamentals, and ridding themselves of all distractions – turnover chains included, the Spartans increase their chances of winning and lower the possibility of mistakes.
"If you aren't fully locked into the game, you can get relaxed and start saying 'Oh we got this' and then you blink and it's a tie score ... that's when bad things happen," Simmons said.
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