Steve Robertson - Genespage.com

Mississippi State senior running back Brandon Holloway believes that his personnel group has some real game breakers.

Mississippi State will enter the 2016 football season with plenty of options at running back. With seniors Brandon Holloway and Ashton Shumpert leading the way, Coach Greg Knox's personnel group features a diverse group of ball carriers. Holloway believes the Dogs' versatility makes them very difficult to defend.

Brandon Holloway arrived at Mississippi State as an accomplished track star on the high school level along with a strong Friday Night resume as a member of the Alsono High football team. Coach Dan Mullen would certainly know how to use the speed merchant from the Sunshine state, but Holloway's role would change over the course of his Bulldog career. 

"I had discussions with Coach Mullen when I was coming in about playing running back and receiver," Holloway explained. "Back then, we both kind of agreed that I wouldn't be a running back in the SEC.

"It's funny how things worked out, because I ended up at running back after all. I'm here now."

Ironically, after the move to running back, Holloway became more of a threat as a receiver out of the backfield. During his junior campaign, Holloway had nearly as many receiving yard (396) as he did rushing yards (413). It is clear that Dan Mullen likes the match-up between Holloway and linebackers fighting to contain the Tampa, Florida native.

"I am really just trying to be that last check down for the quarterback," Holloway explained. "The quarterback has a lot of things to read, so if he is ever in a panic I want to be able to use my versatility to get open and provide him with a window to throw the ball to."

With spring football now in the books, Holloway is looking to sharpen the saw a bit as the Bulldogs prepare to navigate the rough terrain of the Southeastern Conference this fall.

"This summer, I really plan to work on my one-on-ones in the open field," Holloway shared. "That's probably the biggest thing I want to improve on. When I watched film, I saw some situations where I should have been able to make certain people miss. I want to be sure that I can make some different moves on people to get into open space. When I think about my game, that is probably the biggest thing that I need to improve on."

Being able to shake defenders in the open field is an art form. Holloway's ability to free himself is a pretty unique characteristic compared to his stablemates in the Bulldog backfield. Each running back appears to being a little something different to the Mississippi State rushing attack.

"I think one of the best things about our team right now is that we have so many different backs that are doing well," Holloway said. "I am not sure how it's all going to work this fall to be honest. Everybody wants to get reps, but it's going to be up to our coaches and what they feel comfortable with.

"It's a good situation. Shump is a bruiser, Aeris (Williams) is a bruiser, Nick (Gibson) is a brusier, but they all have something more than that. Aeris can be a bruiser, but he has good speed too. I don't think people really notice that.

"We have a lot of big backs like D. Lee (Dontavian Lee) and then we have smaller backs like me. I think we're all very different in how we do things and I believe that helps our team."

Coach Mullen is known as an innovative play caller and he plans to run his offense no matter who is in the game. At times, Holloway has been lined up on the field as the lone back on 3rd and short only to slip out into the flat and secure a Bulldog first down via the pass. In other situations, he's lowered his head and tried to extend the drive. 

The willingness to use backs of all shapes and sizes is an attempt to keep the defense guessing according to Holloway.

"I think that's really about the confidence that Coach Mullen has in all of us individually," Holloway said. "I believe that is what we prove during spring ball and during the summer. We all know our keys and we all know what we need to get done.

"If it's 3rd and one, everyone of us is hungry to get that one yard to move the chains."

Holloway has been a part of some memorable Mississippi State teams during his time in Starkville. While the shifty Holloway is not offering any predictions about win totals this fall, he expects the Bulldog to be right back in the thick of things in the SEC West.

"I just want our team to be successful," Holloway said. "It's the last year for a lot of us. When it's your senior year, you want to be able to say your senior class did well. You want to lead the team to wins. As a senior, you want to be able to do some big things and be a positive impact."

"I think the biggest thing when you look back is how did you impact the team? I just want to have a positive impact on this team and on this University."


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