Hard-working O-line key to MSU's success

MSU improving on the ground spurred by winning in the trenches. What have been the keys to their success in the eyes of players and coaches?

In 2012, Michigan State's offense was built around star running back Le'Veon Bell.

But with Bell in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Spartans have put together a more consistent running game through seven games.

Junior running back Jeremy Langford said a big part of the reason has been the play of the offensive line.

"It's been great," said Langford, who has two straight 100-yard rushing games. "The O-line has been doing a great job – a fantastic job."

Through the first seven games a season ago, the Spartans had 1,008 yards rushing with 3.8 yards per carry and 144 yards per game.

This season, MSU has rushed for 1,303 yards with averages of 4.51 per carry and 186.4 per game.

Offensive line coach Mark Staten said the success up front has been built on hard work.

"They just continue to work hard and they continue to take coaching and apply it," he said. "We still aren't where we want to be or where we need to be as an offensive line, but we're going to keep working hard.

"I just think there's a lot of pride in that group and it's selfless pride.

Senior offensive tackle Fou Fonoti also said hard work has been key to this season and that everything has come together for the line.

"You see guys wanting to take those extra reps after practice, watching film after meetings, watching film before," he said. "You can just see that dedication level is definitely sky rocketing."

It doesn't hurt that the Spartans also added Jim Bollman to the staff in the offseason and have a healthy, veteran group in the trenches.

Junior center Travis Jackson said a lot of the credit goes to Bollman and Staten, as well as upperclassmen leaders.

"They've just done a great job with us and you just gotta look at the experience across the board," Jackson said. "Blake Treadwell is having his best season and as a senior leader, that makes us all better.

"I think we have to give a lot of credit to Blake, Danny (France) and Fou. They are our senior leaders out there and when they're playing well, we play well. We are just kind of following them."

Staten said the leadership of the seniors has been essential this season – and has set the foundation moving forward.

"The experience, we have three seniors who have played a lot of football for us and we will miss them tremendously," he said, "but behind them we've got six guys that have played a whole bunch of football this year so next year, God willing, we can continue that trend."

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