Tuesday, Mark Dantonio may not have given fans the news they wanted to hear while still being encouraging.
"Well, I think you have to have the ability to run behind your pads, create explosive plays, and hold onto the football," said Dantonio. "Ball security is so big. We only had one practice in pads, but we went 40-50 plays live, so they have an opportunity to show out. But then as you get to scrimmages, I think things get a little bit more clearer for you, and then certainly the spring game, and fall camp as well.
"The competition will get a little more fierce as summer rolls around."
From Dantonio's comments the spring looks to be a two-back race with a veteran and rookie pushing for the top spot.
"I thought Nick Hill did some good things on Friday," said Dantonio. "Then I also thought our defense was very good. Nick Tompkins is active, he's getting opportunities; right now, he's getting touches.
"I think the biggest thing is with Nick Hill, he's working at No.1, he's confident. With Nick Tompkins, he's a young player getting his first opportunities really there, with significant carries I think with the 1's and 2's.
"They have a ways to go. They're young players. Like I said, we went one practice, and ball security is going to be huge. They put the ball on the ground too much the other day."