While there is just one football, there is no shortage of people preparing to carry it. Seniors Brandon Holloway and Ashton Shumpert are being pushed by a quartet of talented underclassmen.
"Everybody is competing great," Nick Gibson shared. "Everybody is good at different things. Everybody has their differences and everybody has a good role."
Holloway is the top returning rusher from a season ago. Gibson has been impressed with the senior's ability to impact the game in a variety of ways.
"I would say his speed, his quickness and his vision." Gibson said when asked about Holloway's greatest attributes. "He is very versatile for our offense and for our team."
Gibson hopes to bring the same level of versatility to the Mississippi State offense once his number is called this fall and beyond.
"I think me and Brandon are kind of the same," Gibson said. "I think I have him a little bit in size, but I think we're kind of the same kind of running back."
Part of a two running back signing class, Gibson has had time to build a solid rapport with Murphy who has gone through the the recruiting process and transition to college back with him. The pair have learned to lean on each other.
"Alec Muprhy is like a brother to me," Gibson said. "Even though we're competing for the same job, if I don't know a play or he doesn't know a play, I have his back and he has mine. We even hang together off of the field. Even through we compete on the field, we have a good relationship off of the field.
Gibson and Murphy are looking to get their first official carries in a Mississippi State uniform this season. Knox and veterans Holloway and Ashton Shumpert all report that the younger backs are still in the leaning phase of their development. While Gibson agrees with that assessment, he believes the opportunity to redshirt last fall allowed him the chance to polish his game.
"I just try to get 1% better everyday," Gibson said. "I want to learn something new everyday. I feel like slowly, but surely I am progressing and learning the plays and the system. I feel like my protections are good. I feel like I am getting there.
"It's processing fast now. I know for a fact that I have learned all of the plays, so now once I see it, I know it. It's an instant reaction now. Last year, it was like do I go to this side or that side and what guy do I have to pick up."
Knox has put Bulldog backs into the NFL with regularity. Gibson reports that the veteran coach has been a great mentor for him as he has acclimated to the college game.
"Coach Knox has been a great mentor," Gibson said. "Don't get me wrong, he will get on to me in a heart beat.I feel like him getting on to me has helped me to look at my books more, learn my plays and just help me become a better person."