Michigan State coach Mel Tucker led the Spartans to a 10-2 mark in 2021, including becoming the first coach in Spartans history to win their first two matchups against in-state rival Michigan.
He was rewarded for his efforts last month, officially inking a $95 million contract extension to make him the highest paid coach in the Big Ten, and he’ll be leading his team to the Peach Bowl against the Pittsburgh Panthers on December 30. However, arguably the biggest piece of their team in RB Kenneth Walker III will not be in action as he prepares for the upcoming NFL Draft.
And according to Tucker, the team may be without several more key figures, explaining that Tyler Hunt and Quavaris Crouch are considered “doubtful” to play against Pitt, while Jarrett Horst is “questionable”. Meanwhile, Michael Dowell will not play, as he’s entered the transfer portal.
Tucker: "We have a few guys that have decided not to play."
Says Quavaris Crouch and Jalen Hunt are "doubtful" and that Jarrett Horst is "questionable."
— Nathan Stearns (@NathanStearns11) December 26, 2021
Dowell is in the portal and has decided not to play, Tucker added.
— Chris Solari (@chrissolari) December 26, 2021
But being the classy coach that he is, Tucker had good things to say about the “balanced” nature of their opponent.
“Very good football team, they’re balanced,” he said. “I can see why they’ve had success this year.”
As far as any lingering concerns go with COVID-19, Tucker doesn’t anticipate any complications.
Mel Tucker says that Michigan State has been good on the Covid front and he says he doesn't anticipate any problems health-wise for the Peach Bowl.
— Paul Konyndyk (@Pkonyndyk) December 26, 2021
Of course, Tucker is on the verge of losing RB coach William Peagler, who will be departing to join the Florida Gators, as well as cornerbacks coach Travares Tillman, who will be heading to Georgia Tech. But it will be business as usual for Tucker
“It doesn’t change much at all,” Tucker said. “The guys are still coaching hard. I’m real happy for them.”
The plan is to “take my time with the hires and get folks in here who will be the right fit for our culture.”
– – Quotes via Chris Solari Link – –