Michigan State football: Can Spartans get back to contending under Mel Tucker?

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Under new leadership for the first time since 2007, Michigan State football will have plenty to prove in 2020 as it prepares for a conference-only schedule.

While Michigan State has suffered through back-to-back seven-win seasons in which they had high expectations coming in, it was still a shocking to see former Spartan coach Mark Dantonio retire when he did.

Dantonio retiring so late meant that Michigan State was limited in their search for their new head coach and they zeroed in on Colorado head coach Mel Tucker early in the process and despite saying no initially, he thought the opportunity was just too good to pass up.

Like Dantonio, Mel Tucker is from the Nick Saban coaching tree and has experience as an NFL defensive coordinator with the Jacksonville Jaguars and in the SEC with Georgia. His first season at Colorado did not go great, as the Buffaloes finished with a 5-7 record, but the Spartans are hoping that with some better talent than he had in Boulder, this will be more of a reload than a rebuild.

The main thing that Spartan fans will be watching is how Tucker plans to fix the offense.

The Spartans ranked 105th in scoring offense and have not had good quarterback play since Connor Cook left after 2015 (sorry to any Brian Lewerke fans out there). For Michigan State to improve and get back to contending in the Big Ten, they will have to get consistent and explosive on offense.

Another interesting aspect to watch for is if the defense can keep the same level of play that they had under Mark Dantonio, because that was one thing that you could count on year in and year out and if the Spartans suffer a drop-off on that side of the ball, things could turn bad quickly for Tucker and the new staff.

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