MSU preparing to feel the sweltering heat in road test at No. 24 Miami

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

East Lansing — It was late in preseason camp at Michigan State, and it was hot.

Sure, it’s always hot in Michigan in late August, but on this day, the Spartans decided to crank the heat up even more, bringing the team inside at the Duffy Daugherty football building and turning up the temperature.

As coach Mel Tucker recalled this week, he was “sweating bullets.”

It wasn’t just to make camp tougher, though. If fact, it was mostly looking forward to this week, three games into the regular season as Michigan State prepares to head to No. 24 Miami on Saturday for a noon kickoff in temperatures that are expected to hover around 90 degrees with high humidity.

Miami starting quarterback D'Eriq King.

From the toasty conditions at practice to diet and nutrition, the Spartans have been focusing plenty on this trip that will push them to the limit physically.

“When you turn up the heat, the humidity, you definitely feel it,” safety Michael Dowell said. “All week I’ve been wearing long sleeves and different stuff like that, because down there it’s a lot hotter and we have to be ready for that.

"We’ve been preparing for this Miami trip, doing a lot of little things, even if we didn’t recognize it. We’ve been practicing (indoors) during fall camp, using cold towels, different things like that. So, we’ve been prepping for it, and they’re doing a great job preparing us for that heat. But at the end of the day, football is still football.”

More: Analysis: Payton Thorne deftly pilots Michigan State offense, but tests will get tougher

That’s true, and the Spartans (2-0) intend to be ready for whatever comes their way against the Hurricanes (1-1). From quarterback D’Eriq King to the talented defensive line and even the elements, Michigan State knows it’s going to take a full team effort to come away with a victory.

And considering the conditions will be challenging, everyone will need to be ready.

“I think the depth is always important,” safety Xavier Henderson said. “Because you never know. You’ve got to be prepared, and I tell everybody, ‘You might as well work like you're a starter, so when you're in it's not a surprise.

“So our backup dudes are gonna need to be ready to go if they need to.”

By Wednesday afternoon, most of the preparation for the trip had been done, but Tucker made it clear the Spartans would continue to tackle the conditions right through the final play on Saturday.

“We’ve done a lot to prepare for the heat,” Tucker said. “And not just this week, but it's been over the course of several weeks. So, we'll follow that plan and continue with that this week and take it all the way into the game. From pregame, during the game, halftime and throughout the second half. We’ll execute our plan the best we can.”

Twitter: @mattcharboneau

Michigan State at Miami

Kickoff: Noon Saturday, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida

TV/radio: ABC/WJR 760

Records: Michigan State 2-0, Miami 1-1

Line: Hurricanes by 6.5