New MSU OC Jay Johnson explains why he joined Mel Tucker's staff, what he plans to bring to Spartans offense
New Michigan State offensive coordinator Jay Johnson understands the challenge that lies ahead. After the Spartans to produce on that side of the football in consecutive season, fans are hungry to see MSU’s offense move the chains regularly and get into the end zone often.
Johnson agreed to follow Tucker to Michigan State after serving as the offensive coordinator at Colorado under the head coach for one season. A native of Minnesota, Johnson said he’s always considered himself a “B1G guy” and loved what MSU had to offer.
It was a “no-brainer” to join Tucker’s staff, Johnson said.
And now that Johnson is back in the B1G — he was also the offensive coordinator at Minnesota in 2016 for one season — he knows that Michigan State has some serious things to correct offensively. And he explained how he plans to solve it.
“The run game is important to me,” Johnson said, according to Chris Solari of the Detroit Free Press.
Johnson also suggested he wants the Spartan offense to be “very multiple” to provide balance in both the ground game and the passing attack. The biggest focus to be successful, however, will be execution more than anything.
“At the end of the day, it’s gotta be a high level of execution.”
Michigan State’s offense has been on of the B1G’s worst over the last two seasons, and plenty of those issues have been because of a sluggish rushing attack. Each of the last two years, the Spartans have ranked 13th in the B1G in rushing offense, averaging less than 130 yards per contest.
It’s no surprise, then, that MSU has ranked 12th and 13th in the B1G in scoring in 2019 and 2018, respectively.
A lot of those issues could be resolved with stronger offensive line play, which has been another serious area of concern in East Lansing. And winning in the trenches is something Johnson will also be focusing on this year.
Johnson said Michigan State’s offensive line needs “strength” but also athleticism to “be able to move and do some of the other things we’re gonna ask them to do.”
Fixing the issues up front would be a huge step in correcting the problems with MSU’s offense.