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Michigan State coach Mel Tucker previews Peach Bowl and talks Kenneth Walker III

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.

For Tucker, the Bowl game is not only important for his current players, but for future Spartans as well.

“It has a tremendous effect on it,” he said of his school’s recruiting efforts. “We’ve been going all over the country. Everyone’s talking about Michigan State… the high school coaches, players. They’ve taken note and really are excited about what we’re doing.”

As far as preparing his team for the challenge ahead, it’s simply a matter of staying smart.

“We’ll have 12 practices,” he said. “The priority is to prepare for Pitt and make sure we have our game plans in. We have to be smart about how much hitting we do and how much contact. This also gives more opportunities to give reps to younger players.”

Meanwhile, the status of star running back Kenneth Walker III isn’t certain as of now.

“He’s been battling through some things,” Tucker said. “We’ll have to continue to monitor it. He’s not the only one either… it’s a fluid situation.”

Of course, Walker III was snubbed for the Heisman Trophy in what many feel was a stunning lack of respect for his accomplishments this season. But Tucker had a bit of advice for him.

“The awards — the ones you win, the ones you don’t win — they don’t define you as a person or as a player,” he said that he explained to Walker. “Keep that in mind. We appreciate you.”

– – Quotes via Natalie Kerwin Link – –

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