Now that the Big Ten football season has been reinstated it’s ‘Go Time’ for Michigan State’s football team and first-year coach Mel Tucker.
Tucker said on Thursday MSU would hold its first ‘normal’ practice of the 2020 season on Monday and it’s exactly what the Spartans did. For more than two hours the team practiced in helmets, jerseys and shorts to prepare for their Oct. 24 opener against Rutgers.
“It feels great to get back out on the grass with the team,” said Tucker. “The guys were into it. We got a lot out of the practice today. Just a really good sense of urgency, attention to detail; we got a long ways to go, but I feel that we made a good step today.”
On a Zoom call with the media following practice, a few of the players also reiterated how happy everyone was just to get back out on the field, and apparently Tucker’s intensity was off the charts.
“He’s a 10, and probably plus some,” said Antjuan Simmons who laughed when he was asked to rate Tucker’s level of intensity at practice on a scale of 1-10.
“He came out with his whistle wet and he was ready to go,” added the senior linebacker. “When he hit the sidelines it was have your shirts tucked in, no razzle dazzle, none of that extra stuff. Coaches have to run to the ball just like the players do. It’s insane, but practice is fast. Like, really fast.”
Junior quarterback Rocky Lombardi also weighed in on the Spartans’ high-spirited/ high-tempo practice.
“Today was the day,” said Lombardi. “You could feel it in the air when you walked out on to the practice field. It was a different sort of vibe. Even when they told us last week it still didn’t feel real, but when we showed up today (Monday) for practice you could tell in the energy of the coaches, and the energy of the players, it was different.”
The Spartans won’t be able to put the pads on until Sept. 30, but there is still plenty of work for the team to get in the next few practices.