Michigan State is ahead of schedule in terms of a rebuild in the Mel Tucker era. The Spartans are off to a 3-0 start and have a signature win on the road against the Miami Hurricanes.
There have been a lot of bright spots so far, and Michigan State is showing much-needed improvement on both sides of the football.
Although a great start, no one or team is perfect, and there is room for the Spartans to improve and get better. If MSU continues to improve, the sky is the limit on what this season could ultimately end up being.
Let’s take a look at three changes I would like to see the Spartans make, in order to continue their upward trajectory:
Nick Samac needs to start at center
Michigan State's offensive line has shown great improvements under the direction of Chris Kapilovic. The Spartans feel like they are getting back to dominating in the trenches like fans have gotten used to seeing. While MSU does a good job rotating guys in and out to keep them fresh, the staff needs to start solidifying some positions, starting with the center spot. It is time for Nick Samac to regain the starting role at center, a position he held in the 2020 season and was fairly successful at it. https://twitter.com/bigalfredosauce/status/1440339956950462476?s=20 Matt Allen has continued to struggle, and it shows up on film and in the analytics department. It is time for Samac to relieve Allen. A sixth-year senior, Allen provides great leadership and can contribute to the offensive line in a spell role, or in an emergency situation.
Solidifying the CB position
If there is one position group that has struggled more than the rest, it is the cornerback's position, and it was on full display against Miami. Miami's D'eriq King threw for 388 yards against the Spartans and it came fairly easily. Furthermore, Northwestern's Hunter Johnson threw for 283 yards against the Spartans secondary, and in the two games that followed (against Indiana State and Duke) Johnson has only thrown for a combined 141 yards. There is reason to be concerned in regards to the MSU pass defense. We have seen a mix of Kalon Gervin, Ronald Williams, Chester Kimbrough and Chuck Brantley play the position and it is now time for the staff to really solidify the position. True freshman Chuck Brantley has shown the ability to step up physically and mentally to play the position, it is time for the young gun to get his chance to lead the way. Let the three veterans rotate opposite of Brantley until someone decides to step up.
More discipline and less penalties
The Spartans are currently averaging 7 penalties a game for 62 yards given up by these penalities. Now, those numbers aren't egregious, but they have not been trending in the right direction. Michigan State has progressively gotten worse in the penalty department from game to game. This is more so a change that needs to be made before it becomes a real problem. The Spartans are playing good, team football, and losing discipline leading to more penalties would certainly hinder the upward trajectory of this team.