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Mel Tucker Addresses Michigan-Michigan State Rivalry

Mel Tucker on the sidelines with a headset on for Colorado.

BOULDER, COLORADO - NOVEMBER 23: Head coach Mel Tucker of the Colorado Buffaloes watches as his team plays the Washington Huskies in the fourth quarter at Folsom Field on November 23, 2019 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, former Colorado head coach Mel Tucker took over as the new head coach at Michigan State. The job opened up after Mark Dantonio surprisingly announced his retirement just one day before National Signing Day.

Michigan State made a bold play for several coaches, including Cincinnati's Luke Fickell. However, once Fickell turned down the opportunity, the Spartans went after Tucker with an offer he couldn't refuse.

His new deal pays him double what his salary was at Colorado and the pool of money to hire assistant coaches is equally substantial. Multiple reports suggested he won't be keeping the majority of Dantonio's staff.

However, there is one thing he's keeping from the old regime - the emphasis on Michigan State's rivalry with Michigan. Mark Dantonio went 8-5 against the Wolverines, and Tucker knows he needs to keep that same energy.

Here's what Tucker said about the rivalry, via Chris Solari of the Detroit Free Press:

"It's different. The Michigan game is not just another game. That's something we embrace. I don't believe in down-playing expectations. That's useless. Michigan State-Michigan is different."

Michigan has gotten the better of Michigan State recently, but Tucker plans to change that.

He already took one step in the right direction. Former Mark Dantonio assistant coach Ron Burton planned to leave Michigan State for Indiana, but Tucker convinced him to stay with the Spartans.