Has Mel Tucker forgot the plot or simply lost the script?

You don’t need me to state the obvious, but the Spartans were absolutely and indisputably embarrassed by Washington and Minnesota and the magnitude of the beatdowns suggest the prospects for future victories is looking dimmer and dimmer.

Last Saturday, the Spartans yielded 508 Yards of total Offense to University of Minnesota including 240 Yards Rushing while the Spartans countered with just 38 Rushing Yards, a differential of 202 yards in favor of Minnesota: the Spartans were humiliated 34-7.

One week prior, the Spartans yielded 503 Yards of total Offense to University of Washington including 396 Yards passing, 4 TDS and zero Interceptions and the Spartans were overwhelmed by a score of 39-28, yet the final score was not indicative of the magnitude of the beat down as the Spartans were outscored 29-8 in the 1st Half.

After the loss at Washington, Spartan Beat Writers declared the loss was an anomaly and the Spartans would bounce back, but what were they analyzing?

The loss to Minnesota told us the problems are baseline dysfunction underscored by Spartan coaching ineptitude.

Yes, there have been a few injuries, but Washington and Minnesota easily analyzed the Spartans dysfunction, combined for 1000 yards of Offense and defensively stifled the Spartans on every down and distance. In turn the Spartans coaching staff looked on helplessly.

So, let’s ask this question: has Mel Tucker forgot the plot or simply lost the script?

I would like to preface this by saying I’m certain Mel Tucker is a good man of great character, but he’s being judged as a football coach and not in a popularity contest.

I have been publicly critical of Mel Tucker since he was hired at Michigan State because I didn’t think he had the resume or the wherewithal to win championships at Michigan State, after all he only had one year as a head coach underscored by a 5-7 losing record.

Consequently, I got criticism from readers accusing me of being unfair to Mel Tucker.

But the name of my blog is “Will2Win” and that means I judge the football coaches on their ability to demonstrate a “Will2Win” and make Championship caliber decisions.

Simply stated, I won’t be a cheerleader for bad football and I don’t intend to celebrate coaching unpreparedness or an inability to compete simply in the name of Green & White.

If Spartan coaches want respect, then they need to earn it on the football field.

Will2Win also means I track numbers, statistics and fundamentals (call it what you like) and the stats don’t lie: Michigan State is a poorly coached football team!

In fact, the Hallmark of this season is easily described as:

  • “No identity on Offense” …
  • A plethora of busted defensive assignments…
  • A dysfunctional Pass Defense…
  • An inability to tackle in space…
  • And the overwhelming ineptitude of its Rushing Offense.

But that’s essentially what we saw in Mel Tucker’s first season, isn’t it?

Mel Tucker promises a “fix”:

Let’s underscore this point: the Spartans Pass Defense finished #130 in the country last season, or as Mel Tucker described it “dead ass last”.

Mel Tucker went on to boldly tell his team and inform the media that he would “fix” the Pass Defense with “players and coaches in this room” (the locker room), and Mel Tucker appointed himself Cornerback Coach.

Problem solved right?

After playing WMU and Akron, two of the worst teams in the land, the Pass Defense was ranked #49 when measured against 130 D-1/FBS school, but week by week the Pass Defense has melted down, and now the Pass Defense is ranked #101 and falling to the bottom of 130 D-1/FBS teams again.

Nothing is fixed.

In fact, the Spartans Pass Defense enabled Minnesota (a run first team) to complete 23 of 26 pass attempts (88%) for 268 Yards at 12 Yards per completion including 3 TDS with zero take away Interceptions. Think about that? Minnesota completed 88% of its passes!

Let’s be candid, it’s hard to complete 88% of passes in “pitch & catch” in pregame warmup, and yet Harlon Barnett and Mel Tucker looked on helplessly as Wide Receivers were running free and Minnesota threw the ball around the yard and completed an astounding 88% of its passes.


At the bottom line: Mel Tucker’s post-game press conference didn’t instill confidence.

When Mel Tucker took to the microphone for his post-game press conference after the humiliating loss to Minnesota, he didn’t have answers, he didn’t exude confidence, in fact he stumbled thru the Q&A.

I don’t want this to be personal, but the post-game press conference didn’t instill confidence that Mel Tucker or his staff have the wherewithal to correct course.

There was no bravado, no references to “we wanted to take them into the deep end” …or “we wanted to take them to the woodshed” …or “it’s all about our culture”, rather his eyes were glazed like a deer in the headlights, nervously sipping water and buying time between questions and repeatedly answering, “I need to look at the film”.

He also described it as “death by inches” but really? For a million viewers, it looked like death by “coaching confusion and players out of position”.

In short, Mel Tucker didn’t look or sound like a determined leader with specific plans to correct course!

Moreover, the prospects going forward are bleak, especially the month of October given the fact the Spartans will face Maryland, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Michigan in that order.

Of course, Ohio State and Maryland are #1 and #4 respectively in Big Ten Passing, while Michigan Ohio State and Maryland are ranked #1, #2 and #5 in Big Ten scoring.

Meanwhile, the Spartans conclude November against Illinois, Rutgers, Indiana, and Penn State. Those games looked E-Z prior to the season, but not now. Can anyone point to a game where the Spartans will be favored?

Illinois, Rutgers and Indiana are all 3-1 but given what we have seen the past two weeks, what is the likelihood the Spartans will be favored in any of those games?

It’s not unthinkable the Spartans could finish 2-10 and winless in the Big Ten, meanwhile this season is looking more and more like the 2-5 debacle of 2020.

But what are Mel Tucker “fixes” and where do the Spartans go from here?.

The Spartans are currently ranked #52 in the AP Poll and that’s meteoric drop from #9 just two weeks ago, and yet it will likely get worse.

However, when good coaches are beset with adversity, they find a way to make lemonade out of a batch of lemons.

We also know some coaches don’t know what to do with lemons: what will Mel Tucker do?

Thank you for reading, and I always welcome your comments and opinions.