Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit
By STEVE KORNACKI  |  Last updated 10/12/13
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State tailback Jeremy Langford has a great smile. We know this because the TV cameras focused on him after each of his four touchdowns, and he got a good share of backslaps and high-fives from teammates and coaches on the sideline. Langford, who rushed for 109 yards in a 42-28 win over Indiana on Saturday, leads the Spartans with 420 yards on the ground. Hes the starter. But I believe freshman Delton Williams will get the most carries when the competition stiffens beginning in three weeks with Michigan, Nebraska and Northwestern. MSU coach Mark Dantonio didnt recently toss the red shirt into the hamper for Williams, who had 92 yards on only 12 carries, to play him sparingly. Williams, who had a 37-yard run that displayed his ability to read blocks and run with authority, has been compared to LeVeon Bell by Dantonio. Nick Hill, listed as Langfords backup, didnt get a single carry in a blowout win against one of the Big Tens weakest defenses. Langford is fast, Williams is powerful and Hill is quick; however, power is whats required to move the chains in the Big Ten, and thats why Williams is the best bet. We pulled the red shirt off last week knowing that there are still a lot of football games in front of us," MSU co-offensive coordinator Dave Warner said, "and we knew we would need that big back. As for who will get the most carries, Dantonio said, Well ride the hot guy. The Spartans still dont have near the rushing presence they possessed with Bell running for 1,793 yards in 2012, but have tune-up games with Purdue and Illinois before getting into the teeth of their schedule. This is the perfect schedule for an offense with a new starting quarterback (Connor Cook) that 's seeking to establish its credibility. Notre Dame is the only ranked team MSU will play before November. So while all the smiles were good to see Saturday, Indiana entered the game ranked 12th in the Big Ten in both rushing and total defense. Neither the running nor the passing game established itself in a 17-13 loss to the Fighting Irish. MSU rushed for 119 yards and barely three yards per carry, while passing for 135 yards and a paltry 3.8 yards per attempt. Despite having games with pushovers Western Michigan, South Florida and Youngstown State, MSU ranked ninth in rushing offense in the conference, 10th in total offense and 11th in scoring offense entering Saturdays play. Theres still plenty to prove, but there's been progress, and thats what pleased Dantonio about this victory. Theyve got to gain confidence as they go, Dantonio said, and that was a big confidence-booster today. Dantonio has been searching for a tailback since spring drills, when he switched middle linebacker Riley Bullough there and he became the penciled-in starter. Thats been erased now, with Bullough moving to backup fullback. Williams has the toughness required. He was playing scout-team middle linebacker before the Notre Dame game until getting switched to offense that week. Dantonio saw something in him that MSU's offense lacked and decided to go with him as a tailback the next week at Iowa. The green jersey is never given, said Williams, referring to leaving the scout team. Its earned, and Ive earned it, moving up from sixth on the depth chart. Williams has a bit of swagger that's likely to become a lot of swagger if he keeps playing and improving. Still, you also get the sense that hes coachable. He said an Indiana defender was chirping and daring him to bring it with his play. Once he began producing, Williams said he looked at that player eye-to-eye and said, Yeah, Im bringing it. He also caught a school-record 59 passes as a high-school senior, teaming up with Spartans quarterback-of-the-future Damion Terry. Williams finished high school with 1,535 yards in rushes and catches, so he can run hard, catch and block. At 6-foot-1, 220 pounds he's the most complete back available. He said he was lacking in pass-blocking proficiency upon arrival, but is learning how to gain leverage in taking on pass-rushers. We have a banger in Delton, Dantonio said. Williams nodded, saying, I like to bang. You have to hit me because if you dont, Im bringing it to you. And I just cant wait for winter conditions. Sounds like a Big Ten back to me. Langford, a redshirt sophomore, was ranked the No. 5 player in the state by the Detroit Free Press at Westland John Glenn, where he rushed for 1,932 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior. Hes not exactly chopped liver. Asked about competing with Williams, Langford (6-foot, 206 pounds) said, Ive been motivated all season. I want to win. Weve got to win and get to the Rose Bowl. It might take two backs to get the job done, but somehow the Spartans must move the ball on the ground when the going gets tougher. Thats how Big Ten teams get to Pasadena. var __chd__ = 'aid':11079,'chaid':'www_objectify_ca';(function() var c = document.createElement('script'); c.type = 'textjavascript'; c.async = true;c.src = ( 'https:' == document.location.protocol ? 'https:z': 'http:p') '.chango.comstaticc.js'; var s = document.getElementsByTagName('script')0;s.parentNode.insertBefore(c, s);)();
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