Shumpert Enjoying His Role

Sophomore Ashton Shumpert came to Mississippi State as a much heralded running back prospect. With the emergence of Josh Robinson as the team's featured back, Shumpert has found a home done some big things with and without the ball in his hands. Shumpert reports that he has no problem carrying the ball, being a lead blocker or laying back as a pass protector.

"I feel good about everything I am doing, because it's football," said Shumpert. "Everything about football is fun. I don't have to touch the football to make big plays.

"I feel like I am getting better at everything. I just want to work on my technique. That's the main thing I am working on, my technique."

Some backs are not particularly well rounded when the finish high school. So many of them are ball carriers only that never learn the other facets of the running back position.

Shumpert reports that he learned from an early age how to block and how to be physical even without the football in his hands.

"I sort of came up with all of that," said Shumpert with a smile. "I grew up playing with older people, so I had to be physical.

"I have always had to be physical in order to play, so this is nothing new to me."

Bulldog running backs coach, Greg Knox, pushes his guys to improve in areas of their performance. Shumpert credits Knox for his approach to the personnel group as a whole rather than just the guys at the top of the depth chart.

"No matter who the plays is, Coach Knox is going to coach them the same," said Shumpert. "It doesn't matter if he has a superstar or a just somebody else, he's going to coach them to get better.

"Coach Knox is always teaching us. He wants all of us to continue to get better."

The bell cow of the group appears to be SEC rushing leader Josh Robinson. Shumpert reports that the group sees Robinson's accomplishment as an honor for the entire group.

"We all push each other," said Shumpert. "I feel like when he sees all of us go hard, then he goes harder.

"We all want to help each other get better."

Shumpert says he hopes the Bulldog offense can stay on track this week, but he expects a solid effort from the Arkansas defense.

"I hope we can have another big offensive game like we normally do," said Shumpert. "We are just going to keep running like we always do and keep running our offense.

"We just have to do what we normally do and focus on that.

"We have a great quarterback (Dak Prescott) and some great wide receivers. The spotlight is never just on one person. If people want to key on the running game, we can get passing yards. If they want to key on the passing game, we can get running yards."

One of the reasons Shumpert chose Mississippi State over a host of other offers was because he believed the Bulldogs were on a team on the rise.

Two years into his Bulldog career that decision appears to have been on target.

"When I first chose Mississippi State, people were questioning me about why I decided to come here," said Shumpert. "I told them that they would see in about two or three years.

"It's all becoming a reality now. It's all here."

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