Greg Knox: MSU Running Backs

Mississippi State running backs coach Greg Knox talks about the running backs position overall, about his players individually and the running back newcomers.

Overall, what are your thoughts about the running back position?
"Overall, I like our depth. With our three seniors, if we get everybody back healthy I like our depth as far as being a strong point on the offensive side of the ball."

Which guys are rehabbing and where are they in their rehab?
"Arnil Stallworth was injured, Christian Ducre was injured. Robert Elliott was injured. I think all of those guys are somewhere between 80 to 90%"

Individually, what do you like about each player? We'll start with senior Anthony Dixon, then go from there.
"What I like about Anthony is he comes to work every day. He doesn't mind the hard work. He's prepared. He cares a lot about the game. He has the dedication and commitment that it takes to play the game. He's a very intelligent runner. He runs the ball with a passion. I just have to get him to realize that every play is not going to be a touchdown. Sometimes you have to take what you can get and line back up and run the next play.

"(Senior) Christian Ducre was impressive the short time we had him in practice. I really like his hands out of the backfield. He catches the ball very well. He's a very smart, intelligent back, picks up things in meetings very quickly. He can go from the meeting to the practice field and execute it exactly like you draw it on the board.

"(Senior) Arnil Stallworth is very similar to Ducre. While Ducre may have a little more size, Arnil may have a little more quickness in the open field. As far as the knowledge and being able to catch the ball out of the backfield, those are his strong points.

"(Sophomore) Robert Elliott showed tremendous work ethic. He seems like he has good speed. He showed signs of great quickness. We just didn't get a lot of time to work with him during the spring. He's still working on his hands and we want him to catch a lot of balls this summer. And he needs to continue learning the offense.

"(Redshirt freshman) Sylvester Hemphill is a fullback type guy who is a very physical blocker. He's a tough-nose runner who ran the ball well this past spring. I think he opened the eyes of his teammates. I think he gained a lot of respect not only from his teammates but the coaches as well. I think he's going to be a good player who has the opportunity to help us win some ballgames.

"(Junior) Patrick Hanrahan is another guy who gained a lot of respect from his teammates and the coaches by his tough running this past spring. He catches the ball well. He just has to work on his pad level and his ball security.

"(Junior) Thomas Hardin is another big, fullback type guy. He's still developing, still learning our offense but he runs very hard."

Who are your incoming freshmen?
"Montrell Conner is a big back who is very comparable to Anthony Dixon. We want to get him here, get him involved and see his skills to see if he is going to be a big, power back or will he be able to make you miss in open space. What type hands will he have coming out of the backfield? I'm really looking forward to working with him in fall camp.

"LaDarius Perkins is a smaller, quicker, faster guy who is very explosive with the ball in his hands. It's the same thing with him, we want to get him here to see what he can do and how quickly he picks up things. Then, we will adapt the offense to his skills.

"William Shumpert is another fullback type guy. We just want to get him here to see what he can do.

"We just want to get the young guys here and see their strong points. Then, we'll try to work and build on those strong points and see how quickly they pick up the offense."

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

Gene's Page Top Stories