Michigan State is trying to improve its special teams unit heading into 2018 while also learning how to deal with a new kickoff rule in college football.

The new kickoff rule which was approved earlier this year will award a touchback for a fair-catch taken inside the 25-yard line. Every team will certainly have to learn how to adjust to the rule change, but MSU head coach Mark Dantonio says the Spartans have a couple ideas of how to handle it moving forward.

Chris Solari with The Detroit Free Press shared Dantonio’s comments:

“That will be an interesting thing to watch throughout the season, how other people do it and what we do as well,” MSU coach Mark Dantonio said last Monday. “Our intent is if it’s hung up there, you’re probably looking at fair-catching it around the goal line or that type of thing. It sort of remains to be seen to me. If you’re kicking it to the 5, what do you do? So we’re prepared to return it.”

There will likely be hiccups and mistakes made as the team puts these strategies into practice. However, it is good to see the Spartans thinking ahead with how to handle the new rule.

Michigan State also has a few position battles ongoing in the special teams unit. While the Spartans are returning kicker Matt Coghlin and punter Jake Hartbarger, the decision for who will take on the kickoff duties remains to be seen.

Dantonio mentioned Cole Hahn, Tyler Hunt, and Coghlin as guys competing for the spot. He pointed out that it “remains to be seen” who will win that job, but he did say the coaching staff is trying to “put the pressure on them” to prepare them for kicking in big moments.