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Michigan State Football: Offensive line coach/run game coordinator Chris Kapilovic promoted to assistant head coach

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NCAA Football: Northwestern at Michigan State Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan State Spartans offensive line coach/run game coordinator Chris Kapilovic has been promoted by head coach Mel Tucker. In addition to his duties working with the offensive line, he will now add assistant head coach to his title.

Kapilovic joined Tucker’s staff at Michigan State in February 2020 after spending the 2019 season as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator for Tucker at Colorado.

Here is a statement from Tucker on Kapilovic’s promotion, via press release:

“I’m excited to announce the promotion of offensive line coach and run game coordinator Chris Kapilovic to assistant head coach,” said Tucker. “I believe Kap is among the best offensive line coaches in the country, college or pro. He not only puts a premium on technique and fundamentals, but also is an excellent motivator who is extremely passionate about the game of football. He understands the culture and goals of this program and is determined to get the best out of each and every player, every single day. He is a relentless and effective recruiter, and I feel very fortunate to have him as a true leader on our staff.”

While the Spartans struggled overall to run the football this season, and were quite frankly awful in that regard — averaging just 91.4 yards per game (122nd nationally) and 2.7 yards per carry (124th nationally) — the team flashed some potential under Kapilovic. The offensive line helped the Spartans rush for a season-high 195 yards in MSU’s victory over eventual Big Ten West Champion and (at the time) No. 8 Northwestern on Nov. 28.

In terms of pass protection, Michigan State ranked a respectable 69th in the country in 2020, allowing roughly 2.29 sacks per game. The Spartans only gave up 16 sacks all season, but the team also only played seven games in total on the year.

As Tucker starts re-building the program in his vision with his types of players, Kapilovic also played a huge role in landing four offensive linemen in the Spartans’ 2021 recruiting class: offensive guard Geno VanDemark, offensive tackle Ethan Boyd, offensive guard Kevin Wigenton and junior college offensive tackle transfer Brandon Baldwin.

Kapilovic has nearly 30 years of coaching experience. Prior to teaming up with Tucker at Colorado, he was offensive coordinator, assistant head coach and run game coordinator at North Carolina from 2016 through 2018. He originally joined the Tar Heels in 2012 as the offensive line coach/run game coordinator before working his way up to co-offensive coordinator (while retaining offensive line duties) in 2014 and 2015 (then taking over the full-time offensive coordinator and assistant head coach roles, along with the offensive line, in 2016).

Kapilovic has also coached at Southern Mississippi (2008 through 2011), his alma mater, Missouri State (2006 and 2007), Alabama State (2001 through 2005) and Kansas (working as a graduate assistant in 1999 and 2000). He has coached multiple NFL players and first-round draft picks.

In other coaching news, as had been expected, safeties coach Mike Tressel has now officially been announced as the new defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bearcats under head coach Luke Fickell. Tucker should be announcing a new safeties/defensive backs coach for Michigan State soon. We will keep you posted on all updates.