MSU Running Backs Update

Mississippi State running backs coach Rockey Felker talks about how his tailbacks and fullbacks have done during fall training camp.

Who is the starter at halfback as of today?
"I think in this league you have to have at least three first-team type players, guys that you have confidence in. And we do have some depth at running back, which is a good position to be in.

"Of course, Anthony Dixon is a special player, a player who can make a lot of things happen. He finished last season off by showing what he is capable of doing.

"Christian Ducre had a really good spring and a good pre-season practice. He has been very consistent. So, we've been very pleased with him.

"Those two guys give up two really good big backs.

"Arnil Stallworth and Justin Williams are two other guys. Justin Williams is the guy who gave us some big runs late in the game against Alabama last season. And Arnil Stallworth has really played well, particularly the last week.

"Those are our four veteran halfbacks."

How are the two freshmen doing?
"Robert Elliott and Marcus Green are also working at halfback. They have a bright future. They are great young men who are hard workers. They aren't going to do anything but get better and better."

What are some specific things you've liked about the two freshmen?
"Both have great attitudes. They are different kind of backs. Marcus is a physical guy, a 225 to 230-pound back, who can get you the tough yardage. He's also got good speed. But he hasn't played a lot of running back. He played a lot of quarterback in high school, so he hasn't taken a lot of handoffs in high school. He's having to learn how to be a fundamental running back. And it's already tough on a young running back because he's not only got to learn to run with the football, but he's got to learn how to catch it, and how to block.

"While Marcus is the more physical back, Robert has great speed and is elusive. He's capable of going a long way with it when he touches it. But Marcus has speed, too."

What one player has been the biggest surprise to you among the halfbacks?
"Since last spring, it's been Ducre because he's a guy who hadn't proven to us what he was capable of doing. But he had a great spring. Then, he continued with that during the pre-season practice."

Talk about your fullbacks.
"Jeremy Jones has been a pleasant surprise for us at fullback. He's an athletic guy who is physical and has good hands. He's a good blocker who just needs to be a more consistent blocker. He's been slowed a little bit because he had an injury right at the start of practice. But he's coming on and he would be the guy who would start if we started today.

"We've also been pleased with Brandon Hart. He's doing a really job at being a leader and he's blocking well. He's also a physical guy who catches the ball well.

"Then you can throw in Eric Hoskins who has been a very consistent guy. We've also working with Taurus Young at fullback, a walk-on veteran who has gotten a lot of snaps in practice.

"We've also got a young guy named Ethan Stockett. He's impressed me with how good of a blocker he is and how well he catches the ball out of the backfield. That is something that we want our fullbacks to do. He needs to get in better shape because he's not in the kind of condition that we need our fullbacks to be in. But he's got a bright future and I really think he's going to be a really good fullback on down the line, probably a year from now."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website, the source for Mississippi State sports on the sports network. You can contact him by email at

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