The Michigan State football program’s 2022 season is officially underway. After the players and coaches reported on Wednesday, the Spartans held the team’s first practice of fall camp on Thursday.
The practice session lated 90 minutes, with players wearing helmets, jerseys and shorts.
Head coach Mel Tucker addressed the media after the practice to discuss what he saw from his team.
“We got practice No. 1 in – I feel real good about it,” Tucker said. “Coach (Jason) Novak and his staff did a great job preparing our guys for camp. A lot of work was put in with strength and conditioning this summer, lifting and running, and I feel like we’re in a good spot physically to start up camp. We were very focused and organized today. The best is ahead, we’re just gonna keep choppin’.”
Tucker says the players were excited for the opening practice, and while he liked what he saw from his team to open camp, he knows there is still a long way to go. Tucker will be closely watching his squad’s progress from the first practice to the second practice.
“There’s always a buzz for day one because guys are excited to get going,” Tucker said. “We only get 25 practices before the first game. They’re excited, there’s a level of intensity for day one. For me, the biggest improvement is from practice one to practice two. The first practice is not always what I want it to be — it’s never what I want it to be, that first practice — so there’s things that we need to fix. But the guys are ready to go.”
Tucker also said he’s “excited to see the new guys.” He was referring to the players who weren’t here for the spring, such as Colorado running back Jarek Broussard (who Tucker has previously coached), other transfers and the freshmen who arrived this summer.
Coming off of an 11-2 season in 2021, fans and pundits alike are interested in seeing how Michigan State follows that up in 2022. For Tucker, he already has a good idea of where his team stands entering the season.
“There’s not a whole lot of mystery (about the team) on my end of it,” Tucker said. “I know that we have positions where guys need to prove what they can do, but I know that going in. And we have some known commodities. We know a lot more about our football team than people on the outside know because we’re with them every day.
“It’s a ‘prove it every day’ proposition for us. It’s not about talking about what we’re gonna do, we just need to actually do it and focus on the process day-in-and-day-out and kind of block out the noise from the outside.”
Tucker says “there’s no relief in the process” of getting better. He teaches his team to “raise the level of intensity every day” and “attack the standard every day.” He doesn’t want his guys getting comfortable or complacent. He also wants his players to hold each other accountable — something he says quarterback Payton Thorne has gotten better at recently.
FALL CAMP IS HERE. pic.twitter.com/jm9UaNi9Pb— Michigan State Football (@MSU_Football) August 4, 2022
Michigan State will hold its second camp practice on Friday morning. The Spartans will open the season on Friday, Sept. 2 versus Western Michigan at 7 p.m. in Spartan Stadium.