Michigan State football needs a running back to step up

Embed from Getty Images For the Michigan State Spartans, a program that has long prided itself on running the ball they have struggled to do that recently. Last season in rushing offense the Spartans were right around 124.8 yards a game finding consistency was a significant reason. Connor Heyward’s 157 yards in the win over Maryland was the only 100-yard rushing game of the season. That’s the only time a Mark Dantonio coached team at Michigan State has managed just one 100-yard game from one of its backs.

Brad Salem was the running backs coach when Le’Veon Bell was rushing for 1,793. Salem spent the last six seasons as Michigan State’s quarterbacks coach. Salem is now returning to leading the running backs as part of the staff shuffling that also saw Salem become the Spartans’ offensive coordinator.

Last season senior LJ Scott missed all but five games with an injury, forcing Connor Heyward, in his first season starting at running back, and freshman La’Darius Jefferson, a high school quarterback, to try to move the ball on the ground.

Heyward showed enough, leading the Spartans with 529 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns while averaging 4.5 yards a carry. This season Elijah Collins, now a redshirt freshman, joins the mix at tailback.

Connor Heyward is sure he can become the go to ball carrier in Salem’s new offense, one that has yet to be revealed to the fans and media. However it shakes out with starter and depth chart, the Spartans need more productions for the teams ball control offense.

There is no telling this early in fall camp what the Michigan State depth chart looks like, or if it rotates to give every back a shot with the first team. The Michigan State Spartans also need better production, more consistency and better health from the offensive line.

In a week or two we should have a better feel from what the Spartans depth chart will look like heading into the 2019-20 College Football season.

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