Bullough looks to stick at running back

Redshirt freshman tops depth chart, but still getting his feet at running back at Michigan State.

When Michigan State freshman Riley Bullough was moved to running back during the spring game, it was a bit of an experiment.

As it turned out, Bullough has stuck and enters the fall as the No. 1 running back on the depth chart, which he said was a shock.

"I was definitely surprised," Bullough said. "I didn't even know they named me number one, whatever that means since we hadn't even started camp. It means a lot, it means Coach Dantonio thinks highly of me, but going into camp now is a different story. Now, we are all competing."

Head coach Mark Dantonio listed off a lot of attributes Bullough brings to the running attack, but also mentioned that others, such as Nick Hill and the trio of freshmen, are looking good as well.

"(Riley is) a hard driver, that's what he is.," Dantonio said. "He's a football player. Made a great catch on the first day of practice, has great hands, pass protects, runs with authority, trains for it, works towards it, watches film for it.

"He's just going to drive forward and make himself whatever it is."

Dantonio also said that Bullough is a player who is focused in on what he has to do.

"He's just a football player in the mold of his brother,," Dantonio said, "and probably in the mold of his dad that is just going to find a way and try to be very, very exact in the way he goes about his business in attacking."

Offensive coordinator and running backs coach Dave Warner said the experience at linebacker helps Bullough as a running back.

"Playing linebacker for a year, I think that helps him in the run game understand how linebackers fit," Warner said. "You know, how sometimes they may overpursue. I think that has helped him a little bit. With him, he has been so focused on trying to learn his craft right now and making the move to tailback. That's sort of been his focus."

Evan as Bullough is learning more about the running back position, Riley's brother, MSU linebacker Max Bullough, said at Big Ten Media Days that when Riley is on the field, the offense has a different feel to it. Riley Bullough said he hopes that is true.

"I like to think I bring energy to the team, to the offense, especially," he said. "That's something that I'm trying to carry over now into fall camp. People said they noticed the offense had energy when I got in there."

As for a possible move back to defense in the future, Bullough said it isn't out of the question, but his attention is on the offense right now.

"I hope I stay on offense," Bullough said. "That means I am doing a good job at tailback, but if something happens, injuries or something, I could see myself moving back to defense. Right now, I'm just focusing on tailback."

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