East Lansing — Mel Tucker has retained two Michigan State coaches as part of his defensive staff and on Monday he was busy getting to work on the offensive side of the ball.
First, Tucker hired former Colorado offensive line coach Chris Kapilovic to be Michigan State’s offensive line coach and run-game coordinator, and later in the day reports said Buffaloes offensive coordinator Jay Johnson was coming to Michigan State to serve in the same capacity for the Spartans.
"Chris is very passionate about the game of football and is a master motivator," Tucker said in a statement regarding the hiring of Kapilovic. "He's a great teacher who puts a premium on technique and fundamentals. He's hard-nosed and will have his offensive line ready to play. He's an outstanding football coach."
Kapilovic told BuffStampede, the 247sports.com site that covers Colorado, that he was making the move, admitting it was a difficult decision.
“The experience here for me and my family has been awesome,” Kapilovic told BuffStampede.com. “We love living here, love the community. I loved coaching at CU. I love my players more than anything. That group has done everything I asked of them, and more. So, that is the part that rips your heart out. I love the passion of our fans here. The support we had this year was unbelievable.”
Kapilovic spent one season at Colorado after coaching the offensive line at North Carolina for seven seasons. Before that, he coached the offensive line for three seasons at Southern Mississippi. According to BuffStampede.com, Kapilovic helped the Buffaloes rank second in the Pac-12 in fewest sacks allowed in 2019, after ranking 11th in the category in the conference in 2018.
Johnson was also Colorado's quarterbacks coach last season in addition serving as offensive coordinator. Johnson was an offensive analyst at Georgia in 2017-18 when Tucker was the Bulldogs' defensive coordinator. Johnson was also the offensive coordinator at Minnesota in 2016.
As of Monday night, Michigan State had not made an official announcement regarding Johnson.
Michigan State announced last week that Ron Burton and Mike Tressel will remain on staff. Burton will coach the defensive line while Tressel’s role is still being determined. Tressel was defensive coordinator and linebackers coach the last two seasons after sharing coordinator duties with Harlon Barnett for two seasons. Before that, Tressel coached only linebackers.
With the hiring of Kapilovic and Johnson, Tucker still has six on-field vacancies to fill.