Pieces Of The Puzzle - Running Backs

Spartan running back coach Brad Salem may be new on the Spartans staff, but he knows he's got a lot of talent ready for his use come next season.

As Spartan fans now known, Mark Dantonio loves to have a power running game. Last season saw the Spartans adjust to the loss of one of the programs greatest backs in Javon Ringer, now the Spartans have two veteran backs and two backs that surprised many during the spring.

Entering the spring everyone knew what was expected out of Larry Caper. The sophomore running back led the team in rushing in 2009. The only problem, he only gained 468 yards with a 3.9 yard per carry average. While many could question Caper's capable output, we have to remember he was a true freshman and at times the Spartans struggled along the offensive line.

Just like Caper, Edwin Baker was also a true freshman last season and showed he might be the guy who gets the nod as the starting running back with his outstanding performance last season.

While Caper may have gained more yards, it was Baker who was right on Caper's heels and did so in four fewer games. What makes Baker a guy to watch come August is his 5 yards per carry average he posted last season.

While the two sophomores will battle it out for the starting job, each knows they've got some young guns on their heels as two early entrance freshmen, Le'Veon Bell and Nick Hill came in and showed signs of pushing for early playing time.

Both Bell and Hill earned some respect from their new teammates and that showed in the Green & White draft.

With four horses in the running back stable, look for the Spartans to target another big time running back in the Class of 2011 to keep steady completion and the stable filled.

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