Michigan State will have to face an unfamiliar situation this spring and upcoming fall as they will be without an established running back on their roster. Mark Dantonio will have some decisions to make as he will be forced to choose between a slew of running backs.
Nick Hill is the veteran of the bunch as he was forced to sit behind Edwin Baker in 2010, a combination of Baker and Le’Veon Bell in 2011 and finally Bell in 2012. He has learned behind a couple 1,000 yard rushers and talented backs.
There’s no doubt that 2013 will be a transition season for the Spartans without their star player in Bell. Michigan State ran the ball more often than not in 2012, with Bell rushing for over 1,700 yards and leading the offense in touches. Offensive coordinator Dan Roushar led a lackluster offense last season and Spartan fans had mixed feelings when he departed from the program.
The Spartans also had one of their worst seasons under Dantonio’s reign in 2012, finishing with a mediocre 6-7 record and 3-5 record in Big Ten play, finishing near the bottom of the conference and needing a win in the season finale to reach a bowl game.
Could all of that change next season with a new offensive coordinator and no need to run the ball every down? Without such a talented running back to take all of the carries, the Spartans will be forced to look for other offensive options.
Although Andrew Maxwell had a rough season in 2012, it will be more likely that he has success in 2013 because he will have more opportunities to throw the ball. Hill may be a solid starter if that scenario presented itself, but he’s no Le’Veon Bell — at least, not yet.