When Mel Tucker accepted the job to be the next head coach at Michigan State, he was looking forward to getting to work. He was going to use the spring to get to know his players and staff and promote the program’s goals under a new regime.

All of that was halted abruptly, though, with the public health concerns regarding the coronavirus. Now, all college athletics have been stopped, derailing spring practice for all football programs. And while that can really disrupt the process for a new head coach, football is not the most important thing to him right now.

“I’m more concerned about are they safe, are they making smart decisions, do they have enough to eat? The football part of it is secondary,” Tucker said on Thursday, according to MLive.com “But what I do know is that our players, our coaches, our administration, our fans are relentless, resilient, and we’re going to come out of this stronger on the other side. When the time is right, I look forward to getting back on the field with the players and the coaches and Spartan nation supporting us 100 percent.”

Yes, Tucker is looking forward to when student-athletes are back on campus and getting a chance to get back to work. Right now, though, just ensuring the mental, physical and emotional well-being of his players is his top priority.

But a football coach never rests, so Tucker and his staff is working tirelessly, hosting virtual meeting, dissecting film and doing anything else to get prepared for the 2020 season.

“Communication is the key, over-communicating. For our coaches and our staff, we’re using the Zoom application for everything from defensive staff meetings, full staff meetings, offensive meetings, special teams meetings,” Tucker said. “We’re relentlessly recruiting electronically with texts, emails, receiving calls, making sure that our prospects understand that they’re a priority for us and that we care about their health and well-being also.”

Michigan State is scheduled to open the 2020 season at home against Northwestern on Saturday, Sept. 5.