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Mel Tucker preparing for Western Michigan: 'We have to play our fannies off'

 Payton Thorne MSU Michigan State
Posted at 3:39 PM, Aug 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-29 18:45:11-04

Mel Tucker met with the media ahead of the Spartans' season opener against Western Michigan and talks about expectations, goals, and confidence in starting quarterback Payton Thorne.

The opener will be played under the lights at Spartan Stadium, an environment that Michigan State plans to protect. The Spartans haven’t lost a game in quite some time. They went undefeated at home last season and Tucker said that is important to them and that the goal is to defend the "Woodshed."

"Whatever we have seen on them on film, they're going to be better than that. They're going to be way better than that. They're going to be more intense than that, stronger than that, faster than that," said Tucker. "We're going to have to play our fannies off."

As with any team, some uncertainty does lie ahead in the start of a new season with some new players and coaches. However, one thing that is stable for Mel Tucker: the confidence he has in his starting quarterback Payton Thorne.

"You can't win if you don't have a good quarterback," said Tucker. "Your quarterback has to be the number one competitor, bar none. And there can't be any discrepancy about that. He is that. There is nobody that is going to out compete him."

Tucker said Thorne has grown and developed as a player and leader and that he really has influence over his teammates. While he prepares for Western Michigan, he is also preparing for an interesting match-up against someone he knows very well. WMU's first-year offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach is Jeff Thorne, Payton's father.

Tucker said he and Payton had a lengthy conversation about taking on his dad and explained that preparation is 85% anticipation so he believes by anticipating the environment and what to expect Friday night, his quarterback will be well prepared.