‘Makes your program soft:’ Michigan State coach Mel Tucker takes shot at those who whine about referees

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Mel Tucker on Monday reserved judgement on referee calls he had questions about in Michigan State’s first loss of the season Saturday at Purdue.

He didn’t hold back about his feelings about those who lodge their complaints publicly.

“I don’t like to talk about bad calls,” Tucker said during his weekly news conference. “That’s not part of our culture. We don’t like to make excuses about anything. I think that makes your program soft. I think it gives your coaches and your players a way out, so I don’t even like to talk about it that much.

“But we do turn them in, because we need clarification. And if I disagree with something, I’ll tell them and then we move on, because that’s not gonna change the outcome, actually. It happens every week. It’s a human performance business, and there’s a lot of judgment calls as well.”

Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker looks on during the second quarter of the game against Michigan.

The not-so-subtle jab came about 25 minutes after Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was asked by a reporter in Ann Arbor if the Big Ten office called him to discuss the overturned strip-stack-fumble recovery touchdown by Aidan Hutchinson in the first half of Michigan State’s eventual 37-33 victory against the Wolverines on Oct. 31. Spartans quarterback Payton Thorne’s shin was ruled down by replay officials on the sack by Michigan’s David Ojabo.

Harbaugh: “Yeah, as we all expected, all saw, mistakes were made.”

Reporter: “You heard from them?”

Harbaugh: “That was the response, they made a mistake.”

Reporter: “On that call?”

Harbaugh: “Yeah. And others.”

Reporter: “So they said they said they made mistakes on other calls?”

Harbaugh: “Yes.”

Reporter: “Just being clear.”

Harbaugh: “Can’t be any more clear than that.”

Reporter: “Well there were a lot…

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