A BBC Original
A BBC ORIGINAL
Across the pond, the BBC is a television network akin to America's CNN.
However, in East Lansing, the BBC is all about Baker, Bell & Caper, the explosive trio of talented tailbacks that accounted for 1,950 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2010.
So forgive me if it's still kind of hard to believe that just 2 seasons ago, MSU had five different tailbacks who each played significant time, with none rushing for more than 468 yards. But, I guess when you try to replace a running back like All-American Javon Ringer, it's not always so easy.
But now, with the BBC heading up MSU's ground game, Ringer seems like a distant memory (In a good way). Not just because the BBC more than made up for Ringer's yards in 2010, but also because these guys are primed to be even better in 2011 - and they know it.
Just after Spring Ball began, Edwin Baker declared that his goals for '11 were 2,000 yards and 21 touchdowns.
"I see that goal every day I wake up," he said. "It's right there on my wall. I tap it before I walk out of the room and before I do anything...Just knowing that it's there and I see it, and I tell myself it's there every day. It's just done for motivation. "
While Baker went out on a limb in making that declaration, I won't go as far as to say that he'll reach 2,000 yards this season - not because I don't think he's capable - because of the fact that he won't be the only back getting his hands on the ball.
After all, behind Baker, is fellow junior Larry Caper, who no doubt wants to get his hands on the ball a lot more this season. For Caper, its been an interesting ride. Heading into the 2010 campaign, Caper was primed to be the lead back until a hairline fracture in his right hand suffered in fall practice sidelined him for the first two games of the season and dropped him down to the 3rd string back with the emergence of freshman Le'Veon Bell. Ultimately, Caper saw the field very little, ending up with just 38 carries and 144 rushing yards.
And back in the Spring Caper made sure his motivation was clear.
"I'm here just to play football, I mean I want to be the best football player in college football," Caper said. "Not just the best running back, but the best football player period. The whole mentality of football is a man's game, so I want to bring that physicality to the game"
Speaking of physicality, that's the name of sophomore Le'Veon Bell's game. Last August the folks at the football office kept telling me to watch out for Bell because "he's a player". And I suppose we all fell into the trap of thinking: 1. He's a freshman. 2. C'mon, he was a 2-star prospect.
But those in the know were right. Bell bolted out of the gates, rushing for 549 yards and 8 touchdowns thru the first 6 games. Then - due to nagging shoulder injuries - in the second half of the season he ran for just 56 total yards with zero scores. And no doubt, his motivation is to put together a solid full season in '11.
Last week Bell told me that he's bigger, faster, and much stronger than a season ago and has been working hard on becoming a viable option out of the backfield in the passing game. He's also added a few pounds and has been working on his pre-snap reads. All mature attributes that coaches love to hear about from a guy entering his second Spartan campaign.
The major question however, is surrounding the amount of touches for each Back. Will there be enough?
"There's not enough carries for 3 backs to carry the load," Baker says. "There's enough for two. But we have the mindset as a group to know that we're all going to eat, all going to have fun, and we're all going to help the team be as successful as we can."
Each member of the BBC have high expectations - and rightfully so - because they are extremely motivated and exponentially talented. While depth makes it hard for each guy to see the playing time they want, the competition makes this group that much better.
With the BBC originating live from East Lansing again this fall there will be no talk of a team still trying to replace Javon Ringer. No longer will fans wish Javon was still in the MSU backfield. Instead, we'll all be able to look back and truly appreciate what he did for this program and how far the ground game has come since his time at Michigan State.
DON'T FORGET ABOUT...
Nick Hill - The redshirt freshman has one year under his belt and is looking to make an impact any way he can. His 5'7" frame makes him a slippery guy to tackle. He's very comparable to Edwin Baker, but seems to be a guy who can make more men miss. Hill's a big play back who will most likely have his biggest impact in '11 on special teams. More specifically, the kick-return game.
"There's three guys in front of me... But I just want to get on the field. If that on Special Teams, running back, it doesn't matter to me...I just want to get on the field and contribute to the team."
"Every time he gets the ball, he makes something happen." - Mark Dantonio
Edwin Baker (5-9, 210, Jr.)
Larry Caper (5-11, 223, Jr.)
Le'Veon Bell (6-2, 237, So.)
Nick Hill (5-7, 180, R-Fr.)
Jeremy Langford (5-11, 205, R-Fr.)