The offseason is finally over for Michigan State football as they enter the final days of preparation for the season opener on Friday against Northwestern.
The press conference did not lead to any revelations to who will be starting at a number of positions when MSU takes the field for the first time, but there was one common theme; anticipation.
“We're looking forward to it,” Michigan State Head Coach Mel Tucker said. “We prepared for the last eight months for these opportunities and so we have a few more days to go. The hay is not in the barn but I feel good about preparation to this point.”
The team is excited to showcase the work they have put in this offseason and finally play after a long offseason filled with roster overhaul and competition for starting positions.
“We’re all excited,” wide receiver Jalen Nailor said. “We’re looking forward to getting out there and showing the world what we've been putting in through our practice and through this fall camp through the offseason. We’re just really excited for the show.”
Transfer running back Kenneth Walker III shared the same excitement as Nailor while he shared the podium, saying that he has been itching to put on the uniform and compete since he arrived in East Lansing.
“Oh, it's been great,” Walker said. “When I got here, everybody was real welcoming and took me in as a brother and the closer we get the more excited I get for the game.”
Michigan State is sticking with its approach of sharing as little information about the depth chart as possible and letting the world find out who will be playing when they take the field on Friday. With the world probing for answers, Tucker and MSU are content with withholding the information and preaching the same message of performing and maintaining confidence.
“Well, it's just a game that we got to play our best,” defensive end and team captain Drew Beesley said. “The team that makes the least amount of mistakes will win the game at the end of the day. That's what we've been preaching all practice, you know, do your job and just play fast and know what to do. We'll be successful.”
Playing with confidence and being in a better spot than last year was repeated throughout the press conference between Tucker and the players. The players said they have turned their focus to Northwestern but still need to ensure they know their assignments to avoid beating themselves.
Michael Dowell, the presumptive starting nickelback, preached about preparation while still showing excitement for the upcoming game and having fans back in the stands.
“Having the fans and having a fan base such as Michigan State, that’s something that I know I'm not going to take for granted," Dowell said. "So, there's definitely a level of excitement to know that you're gonna go out there, and we're gonna have 60,000 people out here in the stadium, or wherever we go in the Big Ten and there's gonna be a fan base, a good fan base.”
Tucker and the players did not seem to care that the season was beginning with a road game within the conference, and said they were ready to play against whoever, wherever.
“I don't think there's any difference at all, no matter what we play, we take it week by week,” Beesley said. “Our goal is to go 1-0 every week, we prepare for any opponent regardless if they’re Big Ten or out of conference. We treat them all the same when we prep for them.”
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