Here is how we see it.
After five games the Spartans have played four running backs that have combined for 702 yards rushing and fullback Todd Anderson.
Led by sophomore Le'Veon Bell with 267 yards and six touchdowns, the Spartans offense has seen its struggles during the first five games running the ball.
Keep in mind injuries and youth have taken their toll on the Spartans offensive line in the early going and the running attack has taken a hit.
Here is a quick look at the four key backs used by the Spartans.
Le'Veon Bell: The future is Bell and with each passing game the sophomore gains more confidence from the coaching staff in his abilities to run the football. While he may not have the speed of Edwin Baker, Larry Caper, or Nick Hill, he does have size and power to be an every down back in the Big Ten and knows how to put the ball in the end zone with six scores already this season. Look for increased carries as the season continues for the Ohio native.
Edwin Baker: Hopes of a 2,000 rushing season are a memory. However, Baker is still a major concern for defenses each time he touches the ball. This past spring Baker tested well for Pro-Day and there is some talk he could be a back the NFL gives a solid grade to following the season. There is still time for Baker to reach his last season totals if the Spartans can do a better job of pounding the rock.
Larry Caper: Back from injury Caper has learned the hard lessons of college football and being on a team with depth at a position. Nevertheless, Caper has a major role in the Spartans offensive attack as he's solid in catching the ball out of the backfield while still able to run at a 4-yard clip.
Nick Hill: The redshirt freshman is doing a solid job on special teams and putting his time in at running back. Hill is showing he's a solid back and understands his role on this team. Like Bell, Hill is the youth of the Spartans with three more seasons ahead of him.
Todd Anderson: The fullbacks role in never one of being in the limelight. Anderson is doing a solid job of being the main blocker for the Spartans main backs and has also pulled down a couple of passes in the process.
While the overall stat sheet shows the Spartans with a 3.4 yard per carry average, the real average of the Spartans four running backs is 4.3 yards per carry, just under a yard from last season. Blame this on the youth and injuries along the offensive line more than anything else.
Keys: Keep running hard as the offensive line will continue to get better and be ready to post bigger numbers.
Spartan Digest Grade: A