You figured it had to be his mindset this spring.

Even so, you perhaps wanted to hear him speak the words himself.

"I want to get the starting spot. I'm trying to start -- help this team win games," Nebraska running back Greg Bell said Tuesday following the fifth practice of spring drills.

A heralded transfer from Arizona Western Community College, Bell doesn't seem to lack for confidence. Why should he? He was ranked by Rivals.com as the nation's No. 1 junior-college running back in the class of 2018 and glides around the field in a manner that makes football look very natural to him, according to Husker running backs coach Ryan Held.

That said, the 6-foot, 200-pound Bell, a native of Chula Vista, California, won't be handed a starting job. Nebraska returns four scholarship running backs, including two seniors -- Devine Ozigbo and Mikale Wilbon -- who played extensively last season as the Huskers finished 4-8 and 119th nationally with an average of 107.5 rushing yards per game.

Bell, though, must prove he can pass block at a high level. In fact, he identified pass blocking as an area where he needs to improve.

However, "It's good enough to be a starting running back," he said, "but I just want to get it a little tightened up."

In what regard?

"Just coming up more physical and breaking the linebacker's will," he said.

Bell showed he can break a junior-college defense's will with his breakaway speed. You've perhaps heard: He was nicknamed the "The Eel" at Arizona Western because of his ability to get through small spaces and take it the distance.

He said it's a matter of "getting skinny and moving my body different ways" to avoid solid tackles.

Keep in mind, Nebraska's running backs last season combined for only nine runs of 20-plus yards, with a long of 35. Meanwhile, Bell rushed for 1,217 yards at 11 touchdowns for a team that was 9-1 after finishing 11-1 in 2016.

He said he's never been part of a team that had a losing record.

He has two seasons of eligibility at Nebraska, so, yes, he feels urgency. He seems to fit well in a spread offense that asks its running backs to catch a lot of passes.

"Greg could've lined up at receiver for us and probably been our best one," said Arizona Western head coach Tom Minnick, who anticipates Bell playing a sizable role for Nebraska right away.

"My approach is coming in and working hard -- putting my head down and just working hard," Bell said. "Just listening and paying attention.

"I think everybody wants to work hard and get some wins -- 4-8 is not acceptable."

If Bell didn’t understand the media attention that prominent Nebraska players get, he understands now. Shortly after Tuesday's practice, he was surrounded by a large group of reporters, answering questions in rapid-fire succession.

“It’s way different than juco,” he said of the attention.

Same goes for Nebraska's up-tempo practices, designed to prepare players for Scott Frost's rapid-fire style of play.

“I’ve never been in a fast-tempo offense so it was pretty hard to adjust,” Bell said. “You don’t stop running. You’re moving constantly.”

“We’re just trying to get the job done and bring Nebraska back to the top.”

Reach the writer at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com. On Twitter @HuskerExtraSip.