A Q&A With MSU RB Coach Greg Knox

Mississippi State running backs coach Greg Knox talks about his running backs.

Give me an overall summary of the running backs position going into the upcoming season.
"It was a good spring overall. I'm excited about the group because it is a very versatile group. They are all different. We have guys who can run the ball and we have guys who can catch the ball. Because of that, they are good out of the backfield and they are good in the backfield.

"Overall, I like the experience of the group, the athleticism of the group and the talent of the group. Because we are so athletic, I think we can do a lot of things to help the offense. Because we are so experienced, we are a lot smarter. That has enabled us to get better as a group."

Individually, talk about each player and what he brings to your group.
"Starting at the top, LaDarius Perkins is the lone senior coming back. He has experienced a lot of success over the past three years. Going into his senior year, he's a guy who has to show us that he can carry the load. And he did that a little bit last year after (Vick) Ballard left the year before. He stepped up to the plate and had some big games for us. But we are looking for more from him. He's a guy who brings speed and good hands to the table. He can do a lot of things for us.

"Behind him is Josh Robinson. Where Perkins brings speed to the table, Robinson brings power. He's small, compact, strong and powerful. He breaks a lot of tackles due to that. He also can put a foot in the ground and change directions very quickly. He's also got good hands. He's a guy that we can split out and throw the ball to. He's an exciting runner to watch.

"Derrick Milton is another running back. I always compare Derrick to a Jerious Norwood style of runner. He has that type of frame. I'm hoping to get another 10 pounds on him this summer so we can have him around 215 going into fall camp. With his running style, he can make you miss a lot of tackles. Whereas Josh breaks a lot of tackles, Derrick makes you miss a lot of tackles. Derrick can also defeat you with his pad level because he runs with a good pad level.

"We get Nick Griffin off of the injury list. We are looking forward to getting him back to running for us. I thought, going into bowl season, he was back to where we wanted him to be. I felt his running style and mental capacity was where it needed to be. I thought he was feeling good about his injury because he was putting pressure on the leg and making good cuts. Then, we lost him due to an injury to his other leg.

"Another kid that we added (to the running back position) is Brandon Holloway. He is a guy who has become an electric player for us because he possesses extreme speed and quickness. He is a guy who can change a game in a heartbeat because he can hit a homerun at any point of a game (because of his speed and quickness). Once you get him into the secondary, he is difficult to get on the ground. He brings a great deal of variety to the table for us."

You have a true freshman coming in, Ashton Shumpert. What are your thoughts about him?
"We are excited about him. We are looking forward to seeing how quickly he picks things up and gets into the mix. He already has an SEC body. We just have to get him here, help him learn the offense, then get him into the mix."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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