Michigan State University football had its bye-week last weekend for a much-needed break after three straight losses against Washington, Maryland and Iowa.
Despite the losses and a few injuries over the last four weeks, the team was able to use the bye-week to get energized for Saturday's upcoming game against Rutgers, head coach Harlon Barnett said on Monday.
“It really did come at a great time for us,” Barnett said.
Some of the main focal points for the team leading up to the resuming play this weekend has been working on reducing turnovers, taking advantage of opportunities on defense and cutting down on penalties.
One example Barnett pointed out was an exercise in which players who showed up on the penalty report had to read the definition of the penalty they received in front of the team.
“I had to cut down on the penalties and beating ourselves, because that's what we've been doing the last couple of games,” he said.
He also referred to missed opportunities for interceptions during the team’s 26-16 loss against Iowa.
“Those types of things would have contributed to us winning the ball game,” Barnett said.
And according to Barnett, the time off for the team has paid off, as he said they now look revitalized, rather than succumbing to a checkout factor.
Unfortunately, redshirt senior linebacker Jacoby Windmon's injury was not one a weekend off could resolve. Barnett confirmed that Windmon was out for the remainder of the season which will be a huge loss for the Michigan State defense, but Barnett also confirmed that redshirt junior linebacker Darius Snow would be back on the field following a season ending injury last year.
Barnett also gave an update on the quarterback search. While he did not comment for certain on what direction the organization is going to go Barnett said: “We know what we’re going to do and we feel good about it.”
On top of training throughout the week, Barnett said he also took some time to reflect on his quick-starting season thus far. He said that he’s been able to evaluate the situation and learn from it, something he’s also trying to get the players to do.
Barnett said that he has been trying to get the players to view the last seven weeks of the season as a “clean slate," while stressing the importance of maintaining focus both on the field and off the field in academics.
“Going to class, being on time to class, going to tutors, all that stuff ends up showing up on the field,” he said.
Overall, Barnett said that the team’s mindset is in a good place, adding that they’re focused on getting a win and accomplishing the task at hand.
“When that happens, then we catch momentum, more confidence and then we start playing even better.”
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