EAST LANSING — Blowout loss? Contract extension?
Mel Tucker delivered an ultimatum to Michigan State football’s coaching staff. Or, rather, made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.
“Our focus is on this next game and preparing the best that we can,” Tucker said Monday during his weekly news conference. “I also told the staff that it’s really just time to go to the mattresses, basically, for this week and beyond.”
The 13th-ranked Spartans host Penn State on Saturday in the regular-season finale, a chance to go unbeaten at Spartan Stadium this fall and become the fastest coach in MSU history to have a 10-win season. Kickoff between the Spartans (9-2, 6-2) and Nittany Lions (7-4, 4-4) is 3:30 p.m. on ABC.
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Head coach Mel Tucker of the Michigan State Spartans waits walks with his players to the field to play the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on Nov. 20, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio.
A win would bolster MSU’s chance to get a New Year’s Six bowl invitation, with Tucker calling the game “a high-stakes situation, Power 5 football.” And it might be imperative, as the Spartans – who got blown out by No. 3 Ohio State, 56-7 – are certain to drop in the latest College Football Playoff rankings when they are revealed at 7 p.m.Tuesday on ESPN.
“It wasn’t good enough. And so you win as a team, you lose as a team,” Tucker said of Saturday’s loss in Columbus, Ohio. “There was no coach, no player – myself included – that was good enough.”
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On his own contract situation, an offer of $95 million over 10 years to remain at MSU reported Wednesday by the Free Press, Tucker declined to comment. He joked with a young fan who asked about the extension at his radio show Thursday, “I haven’t signed anything yet, but the night’s still young.”
“That’s not my focus, and that’s not the focus of my team,” Tucker said Monday. “I’m not thinking about anything right now, I’m not focusing on anything other than our upcoming opponents. That’s the only thing I’m thinking about.”
Contact Chris Solari: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @chrissolari. Read more on the Michigan State Spartans and sign up for our Spartans newsletter.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Mel Tucker’s message to Michigan State football entering PSU