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Ashton Shumpert Separating Himself in Mississippi State Fall Camp

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One of the running backs is getting out ahead of the pack.

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

We can't learn a whole lot about the football team once Dan Mullen takes the players to South Farm for practice. With camp now closed from observation all we can do is make educated guesses from what the coaches tell the media (even though we often over-analyze and read way too much into their comments).

But on Tuesday evening in post-practice interviews running backs coach Greg Knox revealed that Ashton Shumpert is out ahead of the other running backs so far in fall camp.

He cited Shumpert's experience and familiarity with the offense as being the reason for that. Shumpert is able to play fast and react unlike the younger backs who are still thinking as much as reacting.

It's not a surprise to hear Shump has taken the lead in that four-man competition. After all, he has two years of game experience and became the best back on the team down the stretch last season while Josh Robinson saw his carries decrease.

I still wouldn't read too much into it just yet, however. Like Knox said there's a lot fall camp left, and in my opinion there's still a good chance this will be a by-committee position all season. You can bet all four players will carry the rock regardless who emerges as the leader.

But it's good to see one of those guys finally step up and take over as the alpha dog. Especially after hearing all spring the competition was neck-and-neck.

If Shumpert maintains his lead throughout camp and the start of the season, I see Dontavian Lee as that short-yardage back on third downs and near the goal line. He's the best power runner out of the bunch, at least from what we learned in the spring game.

With Holloway entering games as the change-of-pace back, that only leaves Aeris Williams to find a role for. You might see him carry most of the load when Shumpert needs a breather here and there or even for entire series.

Of course this is all purely speculation. One certainty is that Mullen will give Dak his share of carries in meaningful games, so two running backs may not even see the field. We really won't know how the coaches plan to distribute the carries until LSU rolls into Davis Wade September 12.