The only real problem with Michigan State football right now is the same as the only real problem in America: everyone’s just so divided.
This issue was only exacerbated by Mark Dantonio’s surprising decision to retire this week, leaving a vacancy at the head coaching position. Michigan State is more divided than ever, with lawsuits and innuendo and outrage everywhere. What we need now is a head coach to heal a fractured East Lansing and unite Michigan State football.
Responsible and reasonable adults agree with me that only one man can do this, and his name is Mike Tressel.
In spite of all its perceived problems and its massive defeat at the hands of Michigan last year, the Michigan State establishment remains perfectly capable of leading. They can only do this effectively by compromising with the opposition as much as possible, and you’ll find no candidate more compromising than Tressel.
This is a man with a track record of getting things done within the established framework of the current administration, but who has also reached across the aisle to coach at Ohio State. This is a man who can bridge the divide not only between those in the Michigan State fanbase, but can even gain broad support on both sides of the MSU/Michigan rivalry. His credentials are impeccable, and he’s a gifted coachspeaker.
Some people want to take the program in a new direction, but I disagree. While it’s true that things have stagnated the last two years, I believe that we can achieve the most by not fundamentally changing any of the existing structures.
I’ve heard chatter from a small number of very loud radicals advocating for Luke Fickell. To be perfectly honest, I like a lot of what he stands for. He fielded a team that was defensively sound while being versatile and effective on offense, and he believes that can be done and wants to see it through.
But there’s a few problems with Fickell. For one, he looks less like a head coach than Tressel. Can you imagine that guy as head coach? Secondly, as much as I like what he advocates, it just doesn’t seem realistic to implement on a program level right now. Michigan State’s not ready for that big a change, and all the big donors will leave if we shake things up too much. I’d rather hire a bonafide pragmatist.
The biggest problem with Fickell, though, is that his supporters, who are all white males with last names that are difficult to spell, are very rude on Twitter. These “Fickell Ricks,” as I like to call them, are just so toxic that I’d rather name the stadium after Harbaugh than give them what they want. Ugh. Fickell Ricks are so exhausting. And do you see Luke Fickell on Twitter finding all these people and quote tweeting them with individual reprimands? You certainly don’t.
Tressel provides the best way forward. Instead of a revolution, all this program needs is a slight tweak to existing policies, such as: continue to hire your buddies to assistant positions, BUT you need to fire AT LEAST one if you go 3-9.
That’s the kind of unifying compromise a fractured Spartan nation needs to move forward.