March 9, 2013

Pre-Spring Roundtable: Who's your RB?

EAST LANSING - In the first of a series of spring practice roundtables,'s Paul Konyndyk, Matt Dorsey and Jim Comparoni tackle some key questions surrounding Michigan State football pertaining to spring drills:

Today's questions:

1. Which running back will make the most noise this spring?

2. Will that running back lead Michigan State in rushing in 2013?

PAUL KONYNDYK, Q-1: Junior-to-be tailback Nick Hill has not lived up to his billing as a potential home-run threat during his first two seasons in the active playing group at tailback. But he hasn't had many at-bats.

As a redshirt freshman in 2011, Hill was buried on the depth chart behind Edwin Baker, Le'Veon Bell, and Larry Caper. He started the 2012 season third on the depth chart at running back behind Bell and Caper.   

Hill has 51 carries for 163 yards (3.2 avg.), and a touchdown in 28 career games as a Spartan. Those numbers are unimpressive. But neither Jeremy Langford nor Nick Tompkins have done anything at tailback that would make them a serious contender to fill Bell's shoes.

Langford is one of the best athletes in the program. And the Spartans clearly want to find a role for the former Westland John Glenn standout, who has spent time at running back, defensive back, and wide receiver during his first three years in the Michigan State program.

When I spoke with then position coach Brad Salem on signing day in February, he was hopeful that the full year Langford had spent in the running backs meeting room in 2012 would put him in position to make a splash this spring. But Salem was also hopeful that Hill would pounce on his first real opportunity to compete for substantial playing time in the backfield.

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