April 17, 2013 1:45:53 AM
STARKVILLE -- The depth chart got so thin at running back last week that Mississippi State University assistant coach Greg Knox had improvise.
In a roundabout way without even knowing he was doing it, the Bulldogs running backs coach created what he called Tuesday "a spark" in his position group by inviting Brandon Holloway back to his old position.
With the two running backs on MSU's spring depth chart out with unknown injuries, senior LaDarius Perkins and sophomore Josh Robinson, Knox and Mullen knew they needed more bodies to perform with the first and second-string offense. Holloway, who is considered one of the fastest members of the team, was more than happy to fill in what now might be a permanent switch.
"Holloway comes in and makes a few explosive plays and gets everybody kind of nervous over there," Mullen said. "At the running back position, when you look at how slim that is right now, when I look at spring I want to see are the guys we're counting on making the plays we need to make? That is a critical aspect of it."
It is unknown if Perkins will be active at all this week for contact including the Maroon-White game on Saturday but Robinson was back Tuesday to full participation with the first-string unit.
With the stars not participating last week, Mullen watched Holloway lead the team in yards on the ground with 83 yards on 17 carries Friday in a scrimmage at Davis Wade Stadium and looked natural at the position he dominated while at Alonso High School in Tampa, Fla. As a three-star prospect without a specific position coming out of high school, Holloway ran for 904 yards and 10 touchdowns on 134 carries his senior season two years ago, while also catching 19 passes for 304 yards and seven touchdowns.
"I'm getting accustomed to wide receiver at Mississippi State but the switch back to running back right now is natural to me (because) I've been doing that my whole life," Holloway said. "The key is I'm trying to be versatile in any position they put me in and that way I'm always on the field helping this team. That's my goal -- to never leave the field."
Knox said Tuesday after a spring practice that the 5-foot-7 tailback may possess the skills that could lead him to be more than a stopgap option through the remainder of the spring.
"He can put his foot in the ground and make a cut as quick as you imagine," Knox said. "Anybody that possesses that home run speed is somebody you have to find ways to get the ball to no matter the position."