INDIANAPOLIS, IN. (WLNS) – Some major storylines have unfolded over the last 24 hours, mainly revolving around other programs in the Big Ten, the biggest one in the realm of Michigan State was announced on Wednesday afternoon that Michigan State Football will host rival Michigan in primetime on October 21.
This is the first time the Spartans will host the Wolverines in a night football game and the addition now brings MSU’s night game total for the 2023-2024 season to four. This first-of-its-kind game was made possible thanks to The Big Ten Network signing a multi-billion dollar media rights deal with NBC, CBS and FOX.
“There’s not a day that’s gone by that I haven’t heard something about that game. I mean, every day of my life I hear about that game. So, I don’t know how you rein that in,” Mel Tucker said.
There was one suggestion thrown Tucker’s way at Media Day: Do you just take a year off from the rivalry?
Tucker said no way. Games like Michigan and Michigan State are what college football is all about.
“We talked about it before. When you coach in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Green Bay, Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Florida, Colorado, Nebraska, those are big games. That’s why we coach. That’s why we play in those games. To ultimately win those games. And you’re oftentimes judged by how you do in those games,” Tucker said. “So, I think it’s great. I mean, from the day I got here in my initial press conference, I’m not stepping away, I’m not shying away from the challenge of the rivalry. It’s the biggest game of the year for us. And it’s always going to be like that as long as I’m the coach here.”
Another hot topic for the Spartans was the use of the transfer portal. A few months ago, Michigan State lost two key pieces in the 2022-2023 team to the transfer portal in starting quarterback Payton Thorne and standout wide receiver Keon Coleman.
Tucker made sure to mention multiple times throughout the event that this team is the most talented and has the most depth than any other team he has coached during his four years at MSU partly due to the transfer portal. The roster boasts 13 wide receivers now with the addition of Nebraska transfer Alante Brown.
MSU redshirt senior Tre Mosley said, “(Alante brings) explosiveness. Alante has great quickness and explosiveness and he’s a baller. I’m looking forward to seeing him play because he’s a good player and he’s ready for his opportunity.
Another position that boasts a lot of depth is the Spartans’ offensive line. MSU returns five of its starting O-Lineman including Nick Samac and J.D. Duplain and in total has 23 offensive linemen on the roster. Back in January, Duplain decided to make the decision to come back for a final year and when asked about it on Wednesday, he credited a big part of that decision to the overall depth of the team and echoed the same sediment Tucker hammered home of being his most talented group during his time in East Lansing.
“That’s why I came back,” Duplain said. “I knew what we can accomplish. I know how we’ve been working this off-season. We’ve developed guys. Our staff does an excellent job bringing in new guys and developing guys. So, I mean, that’s what we’ve done this off-season and I can’t wait to see it.
Tucker said, “We recruited well, especially the past two classes. Some of those young guys that we recruited in that 2022 class, actually were playing last year. So, it was painful on-the-job training. But, you know, they’re bigger, stronger, faster now, and they have experience, and they look different.”
Along the lines of depth, Tucker gave his first extensive update on Darrius Snow who suffered a season-ending injury against Western Michigan. Tucker said the redshirt junior suffered “significant” and injuries that required “long-term” rehab.
“He has been battling,” Tucker said. “He’s a sharp kid and he’s very determined. He loves football and he’s been battling hard to get back. It’s going to take a while, but hopefully, we’ll get a chance to see him do more in fall camp, and we will assess him at that point.”