Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio told the Big Ten Network Tuesday night that unlike last season, this year the Spartans are seeking to feature one, or maybe two, running backs on offense. The leader for that role at this point is sophomore LJ Scott, who had 20 carries for 105 yards and one touchdown in the 28-13 win against Furman to open the season on Sept. 2.
“We want to get a guy greased up a little bit and get him in the flow of the game, and sometimes it’s difficult with three backs,” Dantonio said to hosts Dave Revsine and Robert Smith. “I do think we have three, maybe even four very good tailbacks that can sort of carry the load for us. That’s a positive that we have, but with that being said I do think we do want to go in the direction of having a guy that’s sort of the lead guy a little bit.”
Scott led the Spartans last season with 699 yards and 11 touchdowns rushing on 146 attempts but Gerald Holmes (110 attempts/540 yards/8 TDs) and Madre London (119/500/3) had plenty of opportunities as well.
London had five carries for 14 yards against Furman, while Holmes didn’t have a rushing attempt and played mostly on special teams.
“All of those guys have had their moments so it’s tough for me to say, ‘Hey, this guy’s the guy that’s going to get the bulk of those (carries).’ They need to all be ready, they’ve got to have great practices,” said Dantonio. “A lot of it hinges on the health of those players at that specific time as well because we’ll play the guy that can sort of pull the load. It’s a good problem to have, but I would agree with Dave. We’ll probably go in that direction a little bit more, two featured backs rather than three. It just depends on how the game’s flowing as well.”