Ashton Shumpert Interview

Mississippi State junior running back Ashton Shumpert talks to the media.

You are the number 1 guy now. The young guys are looking up to you. You have been that young guy before. Now it is a different role for you, isn't it?
"When I was the young guy I had Nick Griffin and Josh Robinson. They led me well. So, I know how to lead the freshmen."

Knowing that the carries that Josh got last year are now yours for the taking. Has that felt different as far as preparation is concerned?
"I would say the motivation came when we left Miami (after the Orange Bowl loss). Yeah, it has been pretty high."

How big was the end of the year to you? You has actually taken some carries away from Josh Robinson near the end of the season.
"When I got those carries I was trying to help the team the best way that I could. I was trying to get a better feel of college football."

Coach Mullen likes the fact that you seek contact. He wants you to be the punisher. As a freshman you took some big hits. He wants you to get away from taking those big hits. Have you progressed with that?
"That is a day by day thing. I am a guy who likes contact. But in the open field I have to seek the open hole and run to it."

How different is the running backs now, guys like you, Dontavian Lee and Aeris Williams? All three of you are big, bruising backs. What do you three add to the offense?
"We add a lot to the offense. We are big but we have some moves too. Then, we have guys like Brandon Holloway, guys who have speed too. So, we have Thunder and Lightning, as people say."

Are you, Dontavian and Aeris the Thunder and Brandon the Lightning?
"Brandon can be the Thunder, too. I would say we are all Thunder and Lightning."

What have you been telling the two freshmen running backs?
"I tell them to get in the playbook and learn as much as they can. I tell them to also learn about special teams so they can get on the field."

Coach Mullen talked about what the running backs do when they don't have the ball in their hands. How have you been working on that part of your game?
"At practice the other day I saw one of them loafing when they didn't have the ball. We have to finish when we don't have the ball because that might open something up for the quarterback."

What one thing do you think is standing out about this group of running backs?
"I would say that we are real close. The freshmen are trying to find some leadership. And I'm trying to bring us all together and be a family."

How are you trying to lead the other running backs?
"It is whatever we are doing whether it is getting rest at night or get into your playbook. I try to help with everything."

How did Josh Robinson help prepare you for this year?
"Josh helped me a lot. He is one of a kind. I have never seen anyone run the ball like him. He was lower to the ground than me. He made me work on my pad level."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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