Langford 'comfortable' at running back

After bouncing around through his first three years at Michigan State, junior running back Jeremy Langford has found a home at running back it seems.

After bouncing from position to position early in his Michigan State career, Jeremy Langford appears to have found a home at running back.

The 6-foot, 206-pound junior had 31 yards on eight carries in Saturday's scrimmage, which came against the first-team defense.

"I gained yards," Langford said. "I got positive yards and against that defense, any yards are good yards. So I took it, I ran hard and had to break tackles."

Head coach Mark Dantonio said Langford is having a good camp, and also said he is breaking tackles.

"Jeremy, I think, has had a good summer camp thus far," Dantonio said. "He's always been extremely, quick, fast, explosive. What has impressed me is, he is running behind his pads and breaking tackles. That's the positive thing."

Co-offensive coordinator Jim Bollman said that it is more than just what Langford did in the scrimmage, but what he has shown through the early fall practices.

"He has been running very well," Bollman said. "He has been running very hard. He has been doing the kind of things that we needed a guy in his position to do to be a contributor. Thus far, he has been doing very well."

Langford said he feels like he brings the home-run threat in the backfield that the Spartans need, a sentiment echoed by sophomore quarterback Connor Cook.

"He is just an explosive player," Cook said. "Anytime he touches the ball, he can go the distance. Whether he catches a swing pass out in the flat or just handoff right up the middle."

While the explosiveness is there, Langford said he had to learn that sometimes you have to take the 4-yard gain and not expect a long play every time.

"I think in the spring, I ran differently and that didn't work and I had to change it up," he said. "I just think just being more patient. When you see it, you hit it then break tackles and I know eventually, I will break a long one. I'm not really worried about the long ones right now, just eating away at the defense."

He said previous Spartans running backs helped him see that it's more than just the big play that makes you a good player.

"I got the game better at running back," Langford said. "I know what you gotta do from watching Le'Veon (Bell) on film or watching Edwin (Baker), watching the older guys when they were here.

"Le'Veon, he broke a lot of tackles. (The line) never blocked like he wanted to, but he broke tackles and set up blocks real well."

Even with all he has learned, perhaps the biggest thing for Langford is finally having a position.

Langford came into Michigan State as a running back, but played cornerback as a redshirt freshman and wide receiver last year as a sophomore before shifting back against in the spring. Langford said he initially thought moving around hurt him, but now he sees it differently.

"I thought it hurt me, but everything happens for a reason," he said. "I feel like it helped me at the end because now I know what the receivers do. Now, I know how the receivers block and now I know what the defense is going to do.

"I think it helped me out in the long run."

Langford said being focused on running back has given him a degree of comfort again.

"Now, I'm just more focused on running back," he said. "I feel more comfortable at running back. I feel like the game is slowing down for me a little bit. Now, I'm just more comfortable back there."

And it shows, as Cook noted how much fun Langford is having so far this fall.

"You can just tell how comfortable he is going in," Cook said. "He is going to be a redshirt junior, and he is just comfortable out there. He is having fun making plays and just enjoying life."

See what offensive coordinator/running backs coach Dave Warner said about Langford on Friday before the weekend's scrimmage.


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