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MSU acting head football coach says team remains unified following Mel Tucker suspension

Harlon Barnett, in a suit and green tie, stands in front of the Spartans logo for a press conference.
Arjun Thakkar
Acting head coach Harlon Barnett spoke about the team’s priorities ahead of a tough matchup this weekend against Washington.

Michigan State University’s acting head football coach is calling for the team to come together following head coach Mel Tucker’s suspension over allegations of sexual harassment.

Harlon Barnett held a press conference Tuesday, his first since the suspension. He spoke about the team’s priorities ahead of a tough matchup this weekend against Washington.

Barnett coached defensive backs before being tapped to lead the team. He said he’s been speaking with players, adding that they’re focused on playing well.

“They all said, we talked about 'Hey, we’re on a mission, and we’re gonna complete this mission. And so let’s do what we gotta do. Let’s lead. Let’s support the coaches, and let’s go from here,'" he said.

Former head coach Mark Dantonio has been brought in to serve as associate head coach and will be wearing a headset during the weekend game.

Barnett acknowledged what the players have faced and that they have gone through a series of tough incidents at MSU. He commended the players for showing resiliency and remaining committed to the team.

"It’s almost like they’re immune to it sometimes, but you can’t let them just walk away and act like nothing happened," Barnett said. "You have to talk to them and dig it out of them, and they’ll talk to you. But they’re very resilient, and I pray for them all the time.”

Kickoff for the Spartans matchup against the Huskies is at 5 p.m. Saturday at Spartan Stadium.

It'll also be the first MSU sporting event where alcohol is being served.

Arjun Thakkar is WKAR's politics and civics reporter.
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