Michigan State Spartans Star RB Jeremy Langford Not Content with Incredible 2013 Success, He wants More!
SPARTAN NATION: Last year at this time everybody was saying, ‘Who’s gonna be the running back?’ All of the sudden you come out of nowhere are one of the best in the country. What was it that happened between the end of spring last year and the first couple weeks of fall camp?
LANGFORD: First of all, I gotta thank God that I was blessed to stay healthy throughout camp. And then my parents, they stayed positive when I talk to them on the phone. This is an opportunity that everyone doesn’t have, playing college football. I just kept working, just kept grinding, and did what Coach D wanted me to do.
SPARTAN NATION: They say the best backs are better in the 4th quarter. You were as well. Why is that?
LANGFORD: When you’re up on a team and you wanna hold the ball, run the ball, let the clock go down. If you can give it to the running back to get the 4 yards, get the first downs back to back, let the clock run out without putting the defense back on the field. That’s a good running back. He did his job.
SPARTAN NATION: Ken Mannie’s goal is to kill you. For a running back, do you have to kind of embrace that more? Because in the 4th quarter when everyone’s tired, you gotta be able to take it up to another gear.
LANGFORD: Yeah, we all embrace it. That’s what Coach Mannie’s been doing since I got here my freshman year. The 4th quarter program is his program. He controls that. Playing running back, that’s exactly what you gotta do in the 4th quarter.
SPARTAN NATION: A lot of guys hate him when they first get here. And then when they’ve been here a few years they realize he really does love them. How has your relationship with him changed from when you got here to where it is today?
LANGFORD: It’s changed a lot. I was thinking the same thing when I first got here. When I was a freshman I thought he didn’t like me. But now as a senior and a man now, I realize that it’s tough love. He cares, but at the same time he wants us to stay on the map and have a good program and keep good players here.
SPARTAN NATION: But isn’t it unique? You and him have now developed a good relationship.
LANGFORD: Yeah, we talk and he always tells me ‘You gotta get better. You gotta continue now so you own the 4th quarter. Get some earlier runs.’ He’s always pushing me in the weight room and I love it.
SPARTAN NATION: Last year when everybody had probably written you off, he kept saying he believed in you. He kept saying, “Don’t count my man Langford out.” What does that mean to you?
LANGFORD: That’s means a lot. I never knew that before. It means a lot to me. That’s the relationship I have with Coach Mannie. He’s still pushing me to this day, even though the season I had. He just tells me to not become complacent and keep working. He always tells me I can do better.
SPARTAN NATION: How are you a better running back today than you were one year ago?
LANGFORD: The game has slowed down a lot to me. I know the whole offense and I know what the defense is doing. My stamina has gotten better. The game has been really slowing down to me. I know you gotta get the 4 yards. Like I was talking about in the camp last year, you gotta get the 4 yards, hit a homerun and play.
SPARTAN NATION: I gotta ask you about Connor Kruse and Kodi Kieler.
LANGFORD: Well, I came in with Connor Kruse. We were on the scout team together. The defense hated him because he played…regardless of the day, regardless of how it went..he played hard. And Kodi Keiler is the same way. They play hard regardless of who they’re going against. If they’re going against Shilique or they’re going against a scout team…they go hard regardless. They work hard.
SPARTAN NATION: How different are things for you this year? You established yourself last year, so now everybody’s gonna be looking for you to take it to a higher level. Where are you at?
LANGFORD: It’s my Senior year and I’m excited about the role I’m in this year. I know I gotta help the team out regardless and don’t become complacent. Stay hungry, stay humble and just keep working. There’s always something I can do as a player to help our team win and go further.