Michigan State Spartans Spring Game Shows Need for Solid Running Back

By Connor Muldowney
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

If there’s one thing that Mark Dantonio wants to address by the start of the 2013 football season this fall, it’s the question mark at running back. There are many candidates to take over the job left by all-Big Ten back Le’Veon Bell last season.

Rumors were circulating that Riley Bullough would be taking over as the No. 1 running back, but time will tell on that update. This may not sound like a big deal, but Bullough, a redshirt freshman, was strictly a defensive player last season, but he’s made the switch over to the offensive side of the ball.

Michigan State has had a strong running game for years, starting with Javon Ringer in the Dantonio era and ending with Bell last season. Although, it may just so happen that the run game will be solid this season, the Spartans are currently running back-less.

In Michigan State’s spring game, there were 91 net yards gained on the ground, nearly 60 yards fewer than the Spartans averaged on the ground last season.

How hard is it to replace a guy who ran for over 1,700 yards last season? Well, when it takes 10 guys, running backs or not, to gain a net total of 91 yards on the ground, you know it’s not going to be easy.

As of right now, I would say that Riley Bullough and Nick Tompkins are the leaders to take over the spot. Tomkins rushed the ball four times and gained 43 yards. In limited time, he showcased his breakaway speed and elusiveness, something the Spartans need.

Jeremy Langford and Nick Hill are also in the race for the starting spot. We can’t forget incoming freshman Gerald Holmes, but as for right now, no one has earned it.

It’s hard to watch a game with a net of 91 yards on the ground, albeit that’s including loss of yards with sacks, but that just shows there is no clear cut No. 1.

Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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