Spartans happy to practice in front of fans at Spring Game
Michigan State held their annual spring practice in front of 6,000 fans
EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - It’s been a football filled Saturday here in mid-Michigan.
The Michigan State Spartans wrapped up their spring game earlier this afternoon and it’s the first spring game since the 2019 season.
The gates didn’t open until 12:30 p.m. but some fans were here hours before in the parking lots anxiously waiting in their cars to come in.
“Yes, we are diehards so it’s very nice to be able to be out here and enjoy it,” Jim Farrell said, an MSU season ticket holder since 1994.
It was a rainy, spring day but regardless of the weather, being at Spartan Stadium feels like home.
“Let’s call this liquid sunshine because you’re not going to rain on my parade, not for my Spartans. I love them,” lifelong Spartan fan and Sparty Trooper said. “I’m going to be out here rooting them on as often as I can. I wanna be out here with them and just try to get this crowd into it.”
A crowd of 6,000 fans made up of alumni, students, former players, coaches, families, and even dogs that haven’t been at an MSU sporting event in over a year.
“We were depressed last year because we couldn’t be at any of the games. Now that things are semi-opened up, it’s great. The best part is spending time with her here,” former 1973-74 MSU football manager Jerry Goresch said about his granddaughter. “This is memories for her.”
“It’s really great because I get to experience places away from my hometown,” Goresch’s grandaughter Cadence Kelch said. “I get to come and see games and see how they play now from being quarantined for so long.”
Fans were more than ready for this. This years set up was different with COVID-19 protocols as far as where people could sit, where they could use restrooms, and go get food.
“All of the staff at the gates were very professional, they were awesome. They asked if we had been having any symptoms of COVID,” Sparty Trooper said. “The police, the ticket agents, everybody was maintaining a six-foot safe distance and the process was quick. We were in and through the gates within a matter of minutes.”
To many, it still felt like a normal game day.
“It feels like we can go wherever we want and be ourselves here and have fun even with COVID-19 around,” Kelch said.
“It feels very good,” Farrell said. “The weather even makes it feel like football because we’ve packed up for rainy games often.”
This day has only made fans more excited for what’s to come this fall and it was clear there was extra motivation for the Spartans during their spring practice.
“That was something we were all looking forward to, getting back to normal. Our fans are so important to us. They’re so passionate about the green and white and spartan football,” said head coach Mel Tucker. “I was actually excited to see the fans out there, it was a great experience for us.”
“They gave us an extra boost,” said Defensive End Drew Beesley. “We missed the ‘go green, go white’ chants.”
One of the bigger questions for the Spartans was who would be under center in the fall: returning redshirt sophomore Payton Thorne, transfer Anthony Russo, or another name?
“You can see we have really good competition at that position, you can see where I feel good about it, we’re going to have great production from the quarterback position this season,” said Tucker.
“I feel good about the spring I had, and I think we all had a good spring,” said Thorne. “I think that’s going to continue into the summer and fall.”
“The biggest thing for me is being able to master the offense by the time the fall camp comes,” said Russo.
Tucker says he’s glad his team finally was able to finish their “Spring 15″ with a bang.
He says those extra practices will help his team.
“Our culture is being cemented this spring on the field and off the field as we grow together as a team. I felt like we got a lot done this spring.”
The Spartans have a few weeks off before they return to campus for summer practices and training camp.
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